Planning a wedding is EXHAUSTING! There is so much excitement. Between getting engaged and trying on wedding dresses, people don’t normally share the not-so-fun side of things. The biggest thing people don’t openly disclose are the expenses. You can rack up a hefty bill with only a few items. The worst part is, you can do this without even realizing what's happening! The good news is, there are some corners you can cut to help cut down on the bigger costs. Many websites now offer tools to help with this. I used WeddingWire.com to help keep my wedding budget on target.
First, you really need to figure out what is most important to you. I would sit down with your spouse-to-be and go over anything that is an absolute must for you. Something that mattered most to me, was that I could afford to have a large wedding. That meant cutting down on certain things, like picking the cheapest menu and buying my flowers from the farmers market. We had cheeseburgers and hot dogs - it was the 4th of July weekend so it was actually perfect. My sister picked up our flowers that morning. The flowers were already arranged into bouquets. My bridesmaids just had to wrap the bottoms of the arrangements. They were absolutely perfect and I saved a TON of money.
I even decided to use the same flowers for our centerpieces. This stretched their use ever further!
Choosing the right venue is another great way to cut costs. Finding a venue that doesn’t charge a fee if you use their catering service is one way to swing it. I also had a friend hold her wedding in a friend's back yard. Everything was gorgeous. She arranged for a bus to drive everyone from a parking lot to and from the house. It was a great way to cut down on one of the major costs of finding a venue.
Once you're finished picking parts of the wedding that are most important to you, you must document them. You just have to put them into your budget calculator on the website of your choosing. The main ones are weddingwire.com and theknot.com. It will let you know how much you have left to spend on your other items. If necessary, you can always estimate some costs. You can also rearrange your budget as you receive bills and cost confirmations. It really helped me save money on some things because I knew I couldn’t go over a certain amount. This knowledge caused me to look for the cheaper (but still nice) option, so I could spend money on other things!
Having friends in the wedding biz is also always a plus. You always want to make sure you that you aren't taking advantage of their talents. Things can get sticky when it's your big day and a friend who is supposed to help you, doesn’t live up to your expectations. Or worse, they could totally bail. At one wedding that I was working, the photographer was a friend of the bride. The photographer went totally MIA for about 2 hours. The bride wouldn’t walk into her reception because she really wanted that moment to be photographed (as she should). This made dinner two hours late, which led to some not-so-happy guests. Now, your day is definitely not about anyone else being happy, but hangry family and friends are never fun.
My advice is to cut the corners where you know you can. DIY is huge right now! Pinterest is amazing for inspiration and easy ways to craft your perfect wedding for way less. Enlist friends to help with ideas and have fun!
- Keeley S.