The average wedding cost in the United States is over $35,000. Even after accounting for the recent economic downturn, that’s a lot of money. Fortunately, there are ways to plan an affordable wedding without skimping on all the details. Whether you have savings set aside for your nuptials or you’re hoping to fund it with a personal loan or credit card, these tips can help you meet your budget without sacrificing your dream wedding. Stay on top of your expenses, and make sure to keep track of your spending. Make a detailed budget with costs associated with every item on your wedding wish list. Stay within your means and resist the urge to overspend.
Set a realistic budget and stick to it. If you have a savings account, make sure it’s being utilized. Keep track of your bills and make sure you’re receiving the best rate possible. If you have a credit card with a high-interest rate, consider transferring the balance to a card with a lower rate or a low-interest card if you have excellent credit. From negotiating costs with vendors to determining whether it’s best to have a small ceremony and big reception or vice versa—there are ways to save money without compromising anything about your special day. Whether you plan on eloping or throwing a lavish event, here are some tips and tricks that will help you achieve your dream wedding on a budget.
As you compile a list of potential vendors, keep an open mind about negotiating costs. Many vendors will be willing to transfer the savings to you in one way or another to secure your business. It all depends on your negotiation skills. When selecting a venue, don’t be afraid to negotiate the cost. For example, if you’re planning a smaller, more intimate affair, you might be able to negotiate a lower price. Or, if you’re planning a larger event, but the venue only books smaller events, the venue owner might be willing to let you have the space at a discounted rate. In addition to the venue, negotiate with caterers, photographers, and other service providers. You can often find ways to reduce their prices by going off-peak or by booking their services in exchange for some future benefit, like promoting their business on social media. Be sure to outline your expectations as part of the agreement so that you don’t end up in breach of contract.
If you already have a large guest list and are worried about the costs associated with your big day, consider planning a smaller wedding and having a bigger reception. While this doesn’t necessarily reduce the costs of your special day, it does increase the likelihood of your guests attending the reception. For example, if you have 100 guests at your wedding but only 10 at the reception, chances are some of your guests will skip the reception to save money. A small wedding followed by a large reception can help you avoid this potential pitfall. Planning a smaller wedding and having a bigger reception can also help you avoid the pressure of selecting a venue that charges per guest.
The first step to planning a wedding is to select a date. If you’ve found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you’ll want to get married as soon as possible. However, while many couples like to rush off and find a date before they have even begun to plan their dream wedding, this isn’t necessarily the best approach. When you’re first getting started, it’s best to hold the date and then find a venue that works for you. Doing so will allow you to plan better for your budget. Many venues will give you a better deal on a date you hold than the one you select at random.
If you’re having trouble finding a venue that fits within your budget, consider hiring a wedding planning service. These companies will typically help you locate a venue, select a date, and organize the rest of your wedding. There are several advantages to using a wedding planning service. For one, a top wedding planning service will be able to help you find a cheaper venue. They will also be able to help you organize your wedding and avoid costly mistakes that might otherwise trip you up. You should be able to find a list of wedding planning services on the internet. If you’re having trouble finding one, consider visiting wedding forums to see if anyone will be able to recommend one.
Once you’ve found a venue, caterer, photographer, and any other service you’re considering, don’t pay until you’re sure you like everything. This advice applies to venues, caterers, and photographers in particular because you’ll have almost no ability to get your money back if you have a bad experience and want to walk away. Whether you’ve been to a venue once or the caterer has sent over a menu for you to sample, you should feel confident in your selections before you sign anything. Similarly, if a photographer has sent you a menu of prices, don’t pay until you’re sure you like their work. You want to be able to walk away from any vendor that isn’t offering you what you want or need.
If a vendor is asking for too much, change vendors. If you have a bad experience with any vendor, it’s best to walk away from them and find a better vendor. In many cases, there are many vendors in your area that can help you with the same services. If a vendor refuses to negotiate their price or if you feel they’re not offering you the best service for the price you’re paying, walk away. If you don’t feel comfortable walking away from a vendor or service, you should at least speak with someone else and see if they have any advice. You might be able to get a different perspective that will be able to help you walk away from the vendor or service you don’t like.
It’s tempting to assume that the best way to save money on your big day is to pretend it’s not happening. But that won’t help you reach your goal of a cheap wedding. Instead, take a realistic approach to your wedding budget and start working on ways to save now. The key to keeping costs down is to start from a place of knowledge. You know how much money you can afford to spend on the big day and what type of wedding you want. That’ll help you keep your focus on purpose behind your wedding, which is why you’re getting married in the first place. If you want to save for an extravagant wedding, you can always start on the money side of things by setting a realistic spending limit. Once you’ve got a good handle on your finances, you can start working on more creative ways to save. Maybe you could save money by hosting your reception at home instead of the venue of your choice. Or, if you’re getting married in a large city, you could go with a single officiant instead of a traditional wedding party. The important thing is to have a plan in place before you start saving.