I remember once hearing that the wedding industry makes an estimate of $53.4 billion per year, and my lungs practically collapsed. When we hear the word wedding, we are blinded by the fantasies we have walking into our dream venue in our breathtaking white gown. But do we ever think of how much money we spend? Let’s be honest, as newlyweds, we probably don’t make the most money yet and certainly need to think about the future–house, kids, insurance. We thought of some great alternatives to help build the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank.
1. The Venue
Castles, manors, mansions, towers.. The most extravagant venues fit for royalty. Surely, we would love to walk into a beautiful room with marble and gold at every inch, but has anyone paid any attention to how beautiful outdoor weddings can be? Picture yourself on an open landscape with tables and chairs set up with just enough space in the center for a dance floor. You are surrounded by nothing but greenery and your loved ones gathered to celebrate your night. You won’t have to worry about bumping into another wedding’s guests, or worse–the other bride. Renting an open spot of land, a barn, or even a backyard for the night is certainly a cheaper alternative that can be decorated to your idea of perfection.
2. The Time of Year
Have you ever heard of the term wedding season? Yes, it IS a real thing, especially for venues. Planning a wedding for June 24th will certainly be more expensive than planning a wedding for January 24th. Wedding season is normally considered to start in June and end by November. While summer and fall weather are more ideal to get married in, winter and spring price points are less harsh. We get it–you don’t want to be outside shivering during photos, but think about how lovely the snow would appear in the background. To keep warm, you and your bridesmaids can match in a stylish set of fur capes (which would make a great gift, by the way). Spring weather can be rainy, but there’s also the chance that your wedding day might land the week after the flowers have blossomed. If anything, the rain can be quite romantic. I mean, don’t we all love The Notebook?
3. The Date
Saturday is by far the most popular day of the week to have a wedding, and we totally understand why. It’s the middle of the weekend, people are more willing to stay out later, and most don’t have to work on Sunday morning. Because it’s so convenient, booking your wedding for a Saturday evening will cost you more than any other day of the week. Instead, opt for a Friday or Sunday. I have a close friend who even booked her wedding for the night before the 4th of July, which landed on a Wednesday. She paid much less than she would have on a Saturday, and she didn’t have to worry about her guests working the next morning!
4. The Time
Believe it or not, having a wedding start at 7 o’clock and ending at midnight is more expensive than having it start at 12 p.m. and ending at 5 o’clock. Yes, the same day and all. My sister-in-law is getting married this summer and chose to book her wedding during an earlier slot, resulting in a lower price. Not only is she paying less, but the entire venue is her’s until the event is over. Look at it this way, the earlier it ends, the more time you have to go home with your closest loved ones and have an after party!
5. The Centerpieces
Flowers play a HUGE role in the amount of money spent for a wedding. We have heard from several brides that their florists charged them $850 per centerpiece. For twelve tables, the total money spent on JUST centerpieces comes out to $10,200–without tax. After some thought, we realized that feathers make an excellent alternative while giving a more vintage, yet modern touch. Feathers are far cheaper than flowers and can be turned into a DIY project, so you have total control over what you want!
P.S. These would match perfectly with a Gatsby themed wedding.
6. Flowers in General
Were you able to see that these are all artificial flowers? I doubt it. While mentioning the centerpieces above, we couldn’t help but realize that flowers are generally too expensive! Every bride and bridesmaid walks down the aisle with a beautiful assortment in their hand, but once the reception begins, the petals have begun to wither away. Why not run to your nearest craft store, buy your favorite “flowers,” and make bouquets on your own? It won’t save you much time, but it will definitely save you money.
Side note: If the feathers aren’t of your liking, this can just as well be done with the centerpieces!
7. The Guest List
You and your fiancé are sitting at a table with a word document in front of you titled “guests.” You have already listed 200 people and started going through Facebook friends to see who you missed. Trust us, we know the struggle. However, you should NEVER feel obligated to invite people you haven’t seen in years! Of course, this comes with exceptions. It’s not cousin Jessica’s fault for living down in Florida, so she definitely deserves the invitation. But let’s not forget about the 2o people from high school you jotted down. How long has it been since you’ve seen them? Would you even be invited to their wedding? It’s tough to cross people off a list for such an important milestone, but having 300 people attend at $150 per plate sets you back $45k. That doesn’t even include invitations..
8. The Invitations
Now that we’ve cut down the guest list, it’s time to actually send out the invitations. You’ve fallen in love with a sample you ordered weeks ago from Etsy. It comes with the directions, registry slip, and it ties shut with a silk ribbon priced at $5.95. Is that necessary? Sure, it is pleasant to open a thoughtfully made invitation, but where is it going to end up after the wedding? That’s right, in the garbage. Maybe your mom and grandmother have it framed somewhere in the house, but the other 198 who received invitations have no use for them. There goes over 1 thousand dollars down the drain. Instead, purchase thicker paper from your nearby supply store and use a free online template! There are nicer ones you can purchase for a minimal price, as well.
9. The Honeymoon
Don’t worry; it’s not what you think! We are not asking you to give up the destination of your honeymoon and settle for something less. You only get to do this once, and once you have kids, it becomes increasingly harder to travel far. Most registries have now installed a new feature where your guests can “donate” to your honeymoon fund! In fact, I have a friend who did so, and guests showed up to her bridal shower with envelopes written, “Here’s to your honeymoon!” Boom, an entire trip to Italy paid off. Just. Like. That.
10. Avoid the W Word
DO NOT- I REPEAT – DO NOT WALK INTO ANY VENUE/VENDORS AND MENTION WEDDING! You wouldn’t believe how much businesses mark up their prices for weddings. Bands that play at other events for only 2 thousand dollars may charge you up to 10 thousand dollars. The same goes for your florists and venue! If you want to run with it, maybe even try to hide your ring a little 😉
These are only a few of the many budgeting tips we’ve got stored under our sleeves. Don’t worry, there’s more to come!