Wedding Budget

Worried that your dream wedding will become a financial nightmare? Try these 10 wedding budget tips to cut expenses and still have a fabulous wedding. Remember…it’s not how much you spend, but how you spend it! By using some or all of the tips below, you can create a wedding that’s tasteful and elegant, even on a small budget.

1. Wedding Expenses

Set a wedding budget that’s slightly smaller than you can actually afford. There are always a few unexpected last-minute expenses, but if you keep the bulk of your expenses within your predetermined smaller budget, you’ll be able to pay for the unexpected costs that pop up.

2. Choose Your Battles

Decide what’s most important to you, those one or two things you won’t compromise on, whether it is your wedding gown, photographer, invitations or cake. After accounting for this must-have, adjust your wedding budget accordingly and try to keep the remainder of your expenses within it.

3. Say IT Simply

Invitations can easily cost hundreds of dollars. Luckily, it’s become quite popular to make your own wedding invitations and even your programs. This could be one of your biggest wedding budget helpers. The availability of supplies at scrap booking stores, specialty paper shops and mass retailers makes it easy to find the materials you need. Today’s “homemade” wedding invitations and wedding programs look every bit as elegant as those engraved by a printer, but save you lots of money. Also, for less formal weddings, you can have guests call or email their RSVP to you, eliminating the need for RSVP cards and their matching stamped envelopes.

4. Who’s Invited

Sure, you want to invite everyone you know, but it will cost you. One of the most effective ways you can cut your wedding budget is to cut your guest list. Limit your guest list to close friends and family, not people you haven’t seen or talked to since childhood.

5. Creative Shopping

Dollar stores, thrift stores and garage sales can provide a wealth of low-cost wedding and reception decorations…and they look like they cost full price! Strands of lights, faux florals, linens, balloons and more can be found for extraordinarily low prices at these stores. Be sure to look after holidays, as this is when items such as these go on clearance or are donated to thrift stores.

6. To Do-It-Up or Not To Up-do?

Do you really have to get your hair and makeup done at that exclusive salon? It’s definitely not a wedding budget necessity. But if you just can’t get by without it, by all means, go for the elegant up-do. After all, you’re the bride and you’re choosing your battles wisely, right? After all, you can still do your own makeup. It will turn out better anyway, since you know what works for you.

7. For Everything There is a Season…

…but it might be more cost-effective to get married during the off-season. Summer is the most popular wedding season, and prices rise accordingly. Choosing a Christian holiday wedding not only gives you beautiful decorating themes to work with, but possibly offers more affordable options that can substantially lower your entire wedding budget. Most churches are already beautifully decorated during Easter and Christmas with little left for decorating expense!

8. Time is on Your Side

Consider having your wedding in the early afternoon. There’s less demand for that time slot, but most importantly, you can get by with serving just cake and punch or small finger foods at the reception. The occasion will seem more intimate, and your guests won’t necessarily be expecting a meal since the reception doesn’t fall during a mealtime. Best of all, you’ll save money! The cost of food and beverages for the reception is one of the largest percentages of a typical wedding budget.

9. Celebrate on a Shoestring

Sure, anyone can have a beautiful reception in the ball room of an exclusive hotel. But with a little creativity (think strands of lights, dim colored lights, faux ficus trees, candles, etc.,) your church’s fellowship hall or even the local lodge can be transformed into a beautiful reception location. Remember, the lights are usually dimmed, and your guests are there to celebrate with you, not critique the crystal chandeliers (or lack thereof). Choosing a more affordable reception location will leave you with more money in your wedding budget to spend on food, drinks and decorations – or even your new life together.

10. All Dressed Up

If you’re like most brides, you already have a picture of your perfect wedding gown in your head. But if you’re really interested in saving money, keep your options open. You might be surprised by what you can find on sale or discontinued and save lots of money. Plus, cheap wedding dresses can often be uniquely embellished and still cost less than the designer dress.

You could also check out consignment stores and online auctions. The wedding gowns you find there have only been worn once, or in some cases, never. You’ll save a bundle on a beautiful gown that you’ll wear just once, and no one will be the wiser.

Whether you use one or try them all, the wedding budget tips above will help you avoid a mountain of debt as you and groom start your new life together.