Weddings are (hopefully) a once-in-a-lifetime experience and you want to do everything you can to make the day a memorable one. When the economy was racing along, spending on weddings got out of control.
The good news is that it is possible to have a wonderful day without breaking the bank.
Here are some suggestions to help you keep costs down:
1. Go Back to Basics
When you get down to it, all you really need for your wedding is your beloved and yourself, a couple of rings, someone to officiate at the ceremony, and two witnesses. Anything else is really just window dressing. Do you really need to have a full formal wedding with a large wedding party? Make a list of the things that you “must” have and be flexible about the parts of the day that would be “nice to have.”
2. Think Out of Season Dates
The prime wedding season runs from Easter to September. If you are prepared to be flexible about the date, you can make your wedding budget go further if you decide to get married in the fall or winter. (The slowest time for weddings is January, by the way, and holding the ceremony then is one way to get your New Year off to a great start.)
3. Keep the Guest List Small
If you haven’t seen or heard from someone in five years or more, then don’t think that you are obligated to invite them to your wedding. The same rule applies to your boss, your co-workers, and the bowling team. You get the idea here. Invite only your nearest and dearest to share your wedding day with you; it will help to keep costs down.
4. Rethink the Formal Reception Idea
While your dream wedding may include a reception at a hotel for a few hundred guests and a multi-course sit-down dinner, that may not be in your budget. No problem; you just need to be a bit creative. When you are looking at possible wedding reception locations, ask to see a range of options for the meal. A buffet may be less expensive than a sit-down dinner, or you may choose to have an evening wedding with a cocktail reception afterward.
You may want to re-think the idea of an open bar all evening, too. One option is to have an open bar before dinner and serve a wine of your choosing with the meal. You could choose to serve beer and wine only if the alcohol will be on your tab to keep costs reasonable.
A wedding reception doesn’t necessarily have to take place in the evening. You can also choose to have the ceremony earlier in the day with a brunch or luncheon following. Menu prices will be lower with this option.
5. Avoid the Words “Wedding Cake”
Here’s a way to save on the cost of the cake for your wedding. If you plan to serve the cake at the reception, buy a sheet cake instead of a formal “wedding cake.” Those two words tend to drive up the price. If you want a cake “for show” and will be serving a different dessert at the reception, then order a small one or ask about the cost of having one or more layers being “fake.”
There are many ways that you can save money but still have a lovely wedding. With a little creativity, you can have a wonderful celebration and keep some green in your pocket.