With the average cost of a wedding at an all-time high, brides- and grooms-to-be are likely looking for easy ways to trim the budget without sacrificing any of the important stuff — like fun, food and guests’ comfort.
Going into debt because of a wedding isn't exactly the most romantic way to start a marriage, so read on for suggestions to help you save money on your wedding ceremony.
Don’t wait a year to get married and it will be easier to simplify the wedding. A recent trend is that couples are saving money by planning a more last-minute wedding, rather than the traditional 11-month runup. The shorter time horizon will force you to streamline and keep you, by necessity, from getting sucked into the vortex of elaborate weddings.
Where you have the wedding often drives the cost. Rather than a dedicated wedding reception hall or country club, check out less expensive facilities, from city-run spaces like zoos and civic gardens to restaurants or more offbeat locations that have some meaning for you, from a beach to your parents’ yard. One caveat: If the space is not equipped to cater a party, calculate extra costs for bringing in tables, toilets, or even a kitchen.
Eliminate a choice of entrée to save on your food bill. Serve a couple of grilled shrimp with a couple of beef medallions. This cuts down on the cost, since the chef doesn’t need to buy enough of all the entrées to allow for people to change their minds. Or serve an inexpensive dish like chicken and pasta and let the chef shine by creating great sauces.
Alcohol is one of the biggest expenses of a wedding and can burn a hole in your budget fast. Since most reception sites charge for every bottle opened, even if it was for just one drink, consider offering a limited bar. Choose a signature cocktail (or a series of signature cocktails) that use one type of liquor. Then, ask to stock a few other bottles based on the wedding party’s preferences (i.e., if your dad drinks only scotch). Another option is to serve just beer, wine, and enough champagne for toasts.
You can have a wonderfully decorated, yet smaller cake on display that’s used for cutting, and then have a sheet cake in the kitchen for serving.
Choosing seasonal and local flowers for your reception not only brings the season into your event but it also cuts costs, because your florist won’t have to import any exotic or out-of-season blooms.
Or using one kind of flowers in your bouquets and arrangements. It’s a budget-friendly move because your florist will need to place only one bulk order. This brings a chic monochromatic look to your event.
Photographers usually offer packages based on the hours they’ll work. To buy a less expensive (shorter) package, do your at-home, getting-ready pictures as candids. Cut the cake early so you can release the on-the-clock shooters, and let your guests supplement your album with candids.
Or consider hiring a photography-school student. Make sure you check out his or her portfolio, with examples of portraits. This can cut the bill in half, it’s not worth the savings if photos aren’t in focus.
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