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Weddings… beautiful, exciting, fun, expensive. The average wedding in America costs around $33,391. I don’t know about everyone else, but I don’t have that money floating around, and neither do my parents. With student loans, medical bills, car payments, mortgages or rent, utilities, and all, saving for a wedding is much harder than it used to be. I didn’t think too much about the cost of wedding planning until I got engaged, but once I got engaged and started looking at wedding stuff, I realized I was severely unprepared. Along the way with my planning, I have found some cost-cutting measures for brides like me looking to save a little. Here are my top 10 ways to cut down on wedding costs:
1. Get married "off season."
Wedding season is in high gear from June through September, making costs skyrocket. Consider getting married outside of this time period and save on costs from flowers to venues.
2. There's no need for flowers as tables centerpieces.
Flowers are expensive! There are many other options, mirrors, candles, mason jars, succulents, or any number of interests. I saw a themed table wedding on Pinterest where each table centerpiece was themed after hobby or passion of the Bride and Groom. It sounds like it wouldn’t work with themes ranging from Star Wars to Harry Potter to classical music, but it came together really well. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box here!
3. Use paper plates and plastic utensils.
If you are having a fancy wedding, this probably won’t work, but I am having a casual, rustic wedding with a BBQ buffet so plastic works for us. There are many nice options that don’t look like the paper plates that you would buy at Walmart, and there are now silver, gold, and rose gold utensil options as well.
4. Eliminate the flavors.
Most people don’t need a koozie or matchbook with your name and wedding date, and won’t miss the favors. On this one I did stray, my fiancé and I are making care packages for patients in the cancer center and heart centers at our local hospitals. Using donated books, wholesale lip balms, waters, and homemade crossword/Sudoku books, this is still far cheaper than favors for everyone.
5. Do a dessert bar.
Yes, the big tiered cakes are gorgeous, but they also come with a hefty price tag and many people won’t even eat the cake, leaving you with more cake than anticipated. A bar with options such as cupcakes, pies, brownies, cheesecake bites, cake pops, and petit fours is more cost efficient, and the variety will appeal to more guests than one single flavor of cake.
As I mentioned above, I am doing a buffet. These are cheaper as a whole than a sit down meal; plus, there are options for everyone with a buffet!
7. FREE! (Or at least close...)
Check free sites such as Craigslist, local free Facebook pages, and freecycle.org, or repurpose items you already own for a custom wedding. Fairy lights in a wine bottle, or a tapered candle in a painted and glittered wine candle make for cheap décor, and most of us have a bottle or two of wine around to drink and decorate. The marketplace on Facebook is also a nirvana of wedding items no longer needed. And you can also sell your stuff after your wedding, getting more bang for your buck!
8. Paper products you can skimp on.
Instead of individual menus or programs, you can have one big sign with the full ceremony program or menu at the entrance of the venue(s). Cheaper and better for the planet than a bunch of programs and menus that will be thrown out, this can also be ornate and serve as an eye-catching element of your big day.
9. Go fake! With the flowers, that is.
We used gorgeous arrangements from Etsy that looked real and were the perfect colors for our big day. Fake doesn’t always have to look cheap, but real flowers are extremely expensive.
10. Prioritize what you want.
I have emails with offers for personalized paper napkins, M&M’s, and cups with our faces on them in my email still. We knew we didn’t need those as much as we were caught in the hype, and wanting everything, so learn when to skip out on things you don’t need.
Following these tips, along with the probably hundreds more online, is a great way to have an amazing, beautiful wedding on a budget that works for you!