I’m in the middle of wedding planning right now, and it has opened my eyes to just how incredibly expensive this whole thing can be!
I’m a frugal person at heart so the idea of spending a ton of money on one day seems a little silly to me. But it’s hard not to get caught up in all of it, and I’m finding that the costs are adding up quickly.
So, how do you have a wedding you love without spending more than you can afford? I’ve been thinking about this as I plan my own wedding. I’m fortunate that my parents have been very generous, and here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.
Yeah, I know. Big surprise that the financial planner is encouraging you to plan ahead. But there are two reasons why it’s helpful to make a plan before making any final decisions.
First, it’s amazing how quickly even the little costs add up. There are so many different pieces to a wedding that you can make a lot of seemingly reasonable choices and still end up with a big total bill. By planning ahead, you can see that happen before you’ve actually committed to anything and make decisions accordingly.
Second, it’s easier to get good deals when you’re on top of things early. Venues get booked, DJs aren’t available, and prices go up. The longer you wait, the less likely it is you’ll get your first choice and the more likely it is you’ll have to pay extra.
The Knot has a fantastic wedding budget calculator that can help you allocate funds across all wedding expense categories.
Your wedding doesn’t have to be like every other wedding. It can not only be cheaper to do things your way, but it can make for a fun and unique experience.
A friend of mine had a fall wedding and served pies instead of a wedding cake. This option was delicious and at least half as expensive; with pie at $2 per slice and wedding cake at $4 or more. Another one enlisted the help of her friends to make their own floral arrangements. I’m making small ornaments for wedding favors, out of paper (not expensive) and supplies I already had on hand.
Music, in particular a live band, is another expense that can be reduced, involve friends who have musical talents or crowd source a playlist from all your guests. There are an infinite number of ways you can get creative, save money, and make the wedding yours in the process.
Consider Your Guests’ Budgets Too
Your friends and family want to come celebrate with you, but for many of them it’s a big financial commitment. Doing what you can to make it easier for them will be much appreciated.
I have a friend who had a camping option, as one of the accommodations for her wedding. Not only was the price right, but it was a memorable experience. Suggesting accommodation options to guests with a range of prices is always appreciated.
For our wedding, we’re trying to make sure that people know how to enjoy themselves during the weekend without having to spend a ton of extra money, so we’re giving them a map of our favorite hiking trails in the area. Little things like that won’t make all the costs go away, but every little bit helps.
Be True to You
In the end, there’s no right way to do a wedding. You don’t have to be as fancy and extravagant as all the wedding magazines. But you don’t have to cut costs to the bone either.
What is important is finding a balance between making it meaningful for you and your fiancé and sticking to a budget you can afford. I’m trying to strike the right balance myself!
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