For this blog I wanted to start the most dreaded topic (in my opinion) of wedding planning: THE BUDGET. We all want to have our perfect wedding, but at the same time you don’t want to start off your new life drowning in debt! Planning a wedding that you can afford is the most necessary planning tool, for me anyways.
Being a budget bride is a tricky task, but it also draws out this incredible creative energy that I didn’t even know I had in me! From thrift stores to random internet searching; pulling it all together becomes such fun filled work. Shopping around for the best quality for the best price is a talent! I do NOT want to spend a lot of money, but I want it to LOOK like I spent a lot of money….it’s a fine line to walk.
I have found that determining what’s most important to you and your fiancé is the first priority. For us we decided the majority of the budget will be spent on the photographer. My cousin Catherine and her fiancé decided the entertainment at the reception is the most important thing to them, while my best friend Cali and her fiancé, Silas, have decided the ceremony is #1, (they are tying the knot atop Vail Mountain). Once you both have decided what you feel deserves the majority of the budget, you can work a budget for all the other things in order of importance. Weddingwire.com has a great budget tool where you enter the total amount you want to spend on the big day and it will auto fill in the most common expenses with an adjusted cost. Then you can change each expense to what you actually want to spend. It allows for deposits and payments to be entered and due dates so that you can stay up to date on your budget!
Getting the budget started is extremely helpful when talking with vendors and making your plans concrete, because once you know how much wiggle room you have for each category/expense of the wedding allows you to make financial decisions without hesitation because you KNOW what you CAN spend.
Here are some tricks I’ve come across as to help with wedding costs:
1. Flowers: Ceremony flowers can be doubled up and used as reception flowers! You can even use the bridesmaids bouquets as centerpieces! Especially if you have a large wedding party, you have 8-10 beautiful bouquets that you can just set down in a vase on the tables and ta-DA! If you really want to be a DIY bride, live on the edge and purchase flowers wholesale and make the bouquets and boutonnieres yourself. Hats off to you, if you decide that path. I steered away from it just because timing needs to be meticulous in my opinion. Fresh flowers need to be picked up the day before the wedding and then you would have to prep and arrange them shortly thereafter. With all the events and running around, something that seems quite feasible turns into a daunting task.
2. Wedding favors: Favors aren’t required, but most couples choose to give their guests a small gift as a memento of their wedding. These can be as simple or elaborate as you’d like, depending on your budget. Be creative! I am currently thinking of having a sweets bar, where guests can make a little take home bag of goodies in an inexpensive burlap bag with our wedding date on them. Shopping around online is the key to a bargain here.
3. Rehearsal dinner: Save on your rehearsal dinner site by throwing a backyard barbeque or a picnic in a local park- Both of these cost you less than a dinner in a restaurant. These may be more fun too!
4. Time of day/week: Having a brunch wedding during the week can save you big time $$! Friday and Saturday night weddings are the most common therefore it is going to be more expensive. Even just having the wedding in the AM instead of PM can be a positive effect on pricing with not only the venue but also with your vendors. Take into consideration what time you are allowed to start load in/out and what costs may acquire with it being early vs. late in the evening.
5. Consider the season: you’re likely to get a better price for a venue October thru March because it is off season.
6. Guest list: When budgeting is a concern, keep your guest list to a minimum. A good rule of thumb is to figure your budget based on $100 per head. That cost is for all things included, with that in mind decide who you would like in attendance.
7. The dress: It is possible, if not downright easy, to find a gorgeous gown for far less than the astronomical prices charged by bridal salons. My suggestion is search secondhand stores, online (tradesy.com is a little secret treasure I can share with you all). Bride to bride, I understand the dress is important, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a chunk of the budget, unless you want it to be.
8. The music: Have an iPod or iPhone? Then you have a DJ! Playlist weddings are becoming increasingly popular, because couples can choose exactly the music they want to hear. If having live music is important to you and your fiancé, you can always hire musicians from a local music school or a local band.
Bottom line is that saving money does not have to mean skimping on style. With a little imagination and creativity, you can have a gorgeous wedding. Being a budget bride is just proving you can be thrifty in even the most challenging of circumstances!
Next week: Choosing your wedding party!
“Beauty is a cheap word, but beauty remains priceless”- Dejan Stojanovic