For many brides, their wedding day is one of the most important days of their lives. It’s a day that they had imagined as a little girl to be something magical, and while they may have in fact found their prince charming, many times they’ll find that the cost of their “dream” wedding can end up being more of a financial nightmare. A word of advice that my father-in-law told my wife and I when we were getting married was, “Never start out a marriage by putting yourself into debt”; but why is it then that so many newly engaged couples choose spend so much money simply to enjoy one single day?
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When my wife and I got married, we didn’t have much to our name. We were young and were in the process of still building the foundations to our lives. We didn’t have the well paying jobs that we have now and we sure as heck didn’t have money to pay for a wedding. We DID however, have a desire to spend the rest of our lives together as husband and wife, which is a desire I’m sure many of you may also have since you’re here reading this article. While it is understandable why you may want your wedding to be the most beautiful day that you have ever witnessed, it is important to remember that your special day is just the first of hopefully thousands yet to come. That is why I suggest that you try to budget your wedding accordingly so that your future together, isn’t simply filled with debt.
Get Creative and Make it Your Own
One extra expense a wedding will have, will be your wedding designer/planner. Though I am not trying to put anyone out of a job, the fact of the matter is that weddings can also be designed on your own. It is YOUR day, after all. Why not add a little personal touch to it by making it look exactly how you envision it?
Now, I know what you may be thinking, “I don’t have a creative bone in my body”, but honestly, you don’t have to! With the amazing social media site known as Pinterest, millions of people, everyday, find inspiration from the smallest and most creative ideas. From fitness methods, to DIY projects; if you are looking for something new and interesting, you’ll very likely find it on Pinterest. The world of weddings is no exception. In fact, MANY of the “pins” you’ll see on Pinterest are wedding related. You may have even found this article while searching through it’s endless amounts of ideas. This is why I recommend checking it out for yourself if you haven’t already. Whether you’re looking for table centerpieces, guest book ideas, or even your bouquet; I know for a fact that Pinterest has it all.
The next place you will want to check out is arts and craft stores. Though, I’m not familiar with which craft stores are nation wide, one that I do know about that has multiple locations across the United States is a store called Hobby Lobby. At stores like Hobby Lobby, not only will they have thousands of supplies for you to create your own works of art, but they also have many already-made products that look very beautiful to have in a wedding. Now I know what you may be thinking, “Well, won’t that cost me just as much as if I had a wedding designer do it all for me?”. While in some instances where you can find an affordable designer, I could see how this could be a close call; but one thing you can utilize many times when you visit a craft store is the many coupons that they have to offer. I know at least Hobby Lobby has a coupon that seems to always be available that takes 40% off one fully priced item (I say fully priced because they constantly have sales going on and unfortunately you cannot use the coupon on items that are already on sale). If you’re able to find bargains and utilize the store’s coupons to your advantage, I have no doubt in my mind that you could end up saving a bunch of money on your wedding aesthetics.
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Take it Out Back
One of the largest costs when planning your wedding will be the venue you choose to hold it at. Many times, the venue alone will likely cost you over a thousand dollars to rent. Even though the setting brings together the entire ambiance of a wedding, I ask that you sit and try to think outside the box — or in this case, the house.
I understand that having a backyard wedding may seem like an informal way of doing things, but think of all the money that you’d be saving. Luckily for you, it seems like backyard weddings have started to become more of an acceptable way to tie the knot these days with so many couples deciding to simply take the party out back. The thing you have to remember is that you will hopefully be spending the rest of your lives together and with that extra money you saved on a venue, you can then put it towards other things that you may come across later on in life like a down payment on a house or the cost of having children (if you plan on having them).
Sharing is Caring
If you are at all familiar with a potluck dinner, then maybe having it at your wedding could be a great way to save extra money on catering. At a potluck, people bring food to share, and though you may be on an 8 year streak of avoiding Aunt Jenny’s questionable potato salad, there would still be tons of other dishes that your guests could bring with them and enjoy together.
That is one of the beauties of having a potluck dinner; there’s something for everyone. You don’t have to do an in depth background check of your guest list to see who’s allergic to shellfish or who is a vegetarian. By letting people bring their own dishes, then there’ll be more of a selection for your guests to choose from and this can create not only extra flavors to your lively celebration, but it can also create great conversation starters for when your guests want to swap recipes.
But of course, the bigger reason why I put this idea onto this list is because of the money that you could save by not having to hire a caterer. To be honest, my wife and I did a little bit of both for our wedding. We had a professional do our main entree (a pig roast stuffed with chicken), but then we had some guests bring the side dishes to accompany it. So even if you aren’t completely sold on the idea of doing a full out potluck dinner, then maybe just doing something similar to what we did may be a better option for you.
The Budget-savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer by Jessica Bishop
Regarded by many as one of the best wedding planners out there, The Buget-Savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer gives you useful charts and worksheets, as well as tips and tricks to help you plan for your special day.
Ask Your Friends To Entertain
One aspect of weddings we tend to brush off when it comes to things that we can save money on, is the entertainment that we have during the reception and even sometimes during the ceremony. I’m sure most, if not all of us, have at least one friend who is musically inclined. This is where cashing in on that favor you may be holding onto could serve as great use to you on your special day.
Let’s face it; music, much like the venue, plays an important part in a wedding (no pun intended). The music we choose to play becomes the soundtrack to that special night that we celebrated our love. This is why the first dance as husband and wife, the father/daughter dance, and the mother/son dance are always carefully selected. I understand where you may be hesitant to have your friends perform at these important moments, but keep in mind that they too are a part of your lives — much more than some random band or DJ would be. If you genuinely believe that your friends wouldn’t ruin it, then ask them for their help; but if your friends are total fools and you wouldn’t even trust them with holding your drink, then maybe its best to look for a professional to fill the role — and maybe start looking for new friends as well (just kidding).
Keep it Small
Finally (and this is one I hate to put on this list), if you are hesitant about using the suggestions above, or if you are still finding that your wedding may be too expensive; the last suggestion I have for you is to keep the celebration small. Though I know how much you want to enjoy this day with ALL of your friends and family, the truth remains that having big wedding celebrations involves more money to do so. This is why maybe leaving some names off the list may be your best option. My wife and I decided to do this ourselves with our wedding and we found that even though many faces were not in the crowd, the most important ones were — and those we didn’t invite never really had hard feelings about it.
It’s a tough decision to make when picking and choosing who gets to celebrate with you, but if you find money is tight or you’re looking to save money, then some people will just have to celebrate with you later. Look at it this way, at least you don’t have to worry about Aunt Jenny bringing her potato salad now.
I hope this gave you a few ideas on how to save money when planning a wedding. And CONGRATULATIONS to any of you looking to tie the knot soon. I know marriage is a big step for many of us, but it’s one that I believe is worth it in the end. That’s why I feel it is important to be smart about your money: before, during, and after your wedding. One of the biggest reasons marriages fail is because of money. I believe it shouldn’t have to be that way. You owe it to yourself and your loved one to never let money get in the way, and I have found that the best way to do that is to be smart about how you spend it.
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