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How to Plan a Wedding on a Tight Budget

Traditionally, the soon-to-be married couple foots the bill for their wedding. But that doesn’t mean it has to cost a fortune.

Consider cutting down your guest list. A large crowd will increase venue and food costs.

Enlist talented friends and family members to help with the DIY projects at your wedding. Dollar stores offer a variety of crafting materials for cheap.

Look for deals

Keeping an eye out for deals can help you stay under budget. From wedding venue rentals to invitations, you might be able to find some deals on items you want for your big day. You can also save money by using a credit card that offers rewards or cashback. Make sure to set aside a separate account for your wedding expenses so you can track additions and subtractions.

Recruiting talented friends and family members can also be a great way to cut costs. For instance, you may have an aunt who is a designer and can create your wedding invitations for you. Or your friend can bake a batch of delicious cupcakes for the big day. If there are any financial stakeholders in your relationship, sit down with them and discuss how much they can contribute. This will help you avoid any surprises down the line.

Keep in mind that certain things will always be more expensive than others. For example, if you’re planning a wedding in New York City or another popular destination, you can expect to pay more for everything from flowers to talent. You might also have to pay more for transportation or accommodations if you’re getting married far from home.

Other things that can add up include service fees, gratuities, and taxes. These are often hidden and can be difficult to predict. To minimize these surprise costs, it’s a good idea to choose a local venue that doesn’t charge these additional fees or at least has transparent pricing.

Finally, food and drinks are a significant expense. To cut down on this cost, consider serving a buffet or family-style meal instead of a plated dinner. Or, opt for a daytime wedding instead of an evening one to save on beverage costs.

Look for discounts

If you’re a bride or groom on a tight budget, consider shopping at discount stores to find your wedding attire. You’ll save on dresses and suits, and you may even find some unique items that will add to the overall look of your big day. For example, a few yards of pretty ivy draped over a trestle or chair adds an elegant touch that is far more affordable than flowers.

When planning a wedding, it’s important to prioritize your spending and focus on the things that are most important to you. Create a list of non-negotiables and set aside funds to pay for those things first. Then, work out a plan to cut costs on the things that are less important or you can live without.

During the planning process, ask vendors for discounts. This includes hotels, venues and other service providers. Many vendors offer discounted rates during slow times or for smaller weddings. Some also offer discounts if you book multiple services through them, such as the venue and photography.

Another way to reduce your budget is to minimize the number of guests. This will help you save money on food, drinks and favors. It’s also more economical to invite only close friends and family members rather than everyone you know.

Lastly, don’t forget about hidden fees. From corkage fees and cake cutting to transportation and power for a DJ and photo booth, these can add up quickly. Be sure to ask your vendors about these charges so you’re not surprised by them on the day of. Also, try to put as much of your wedding expenses on one credit card that offers rewards or cash back so you can track your spending more easily.

Ask for referrals

Whether you’re planning on hiring a professional planner or not, it’s always smart to ask for recommendations from friends and family. Getting a referral will not only help you save money but also ensure that you’re working with someone who is experienced and has a strong track record.

Ask each planner you’re considering how many weddings they have planned and the average budget for their clients. This is a great way to gauge their experience and how they typically work with budgets. Often, planners have set minimums for their services, but they may be willing to make exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

Be sure to also ask how each planner prefers to communicate with their clients. It’s a big part of what they do and can make a huge difference in your overall experience. You’ll be communicating with your planner A LOT, so it’s important that you find a communication style that works for you.

One of the biggest mistakes couples can make when trying to plan a wedding on a tight budget is not being clear about their expectations. Often, brides and grooms come to their planner with preconceived ideas about what they expect their wedding to cost. These numbers are often planted by their best friend that just got married or articles they’ve read about what a “real” wedding costs.

Remember to compare apples to apples when comparing venue and food service costs. An all-inclusive venue may have a lower sticker price but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re saving any money. And, don’t forget to factor in the cost of any rentals that you may need, like ceremony and reception seating, tables, and more.

When it comes to accessories, consider investing in a quality jewelry box or organizer. This can store your wedding band, necklace, earrings and more, keeping them safe and organized. Look for deals on jewelry storage options, such as velvet-lined boxes or hanging organizers, which can often be found at a discount at home goods stores or online retailers. By keeping your accessories neat and protected, you’ll be able to enjoy them for years to come without worrying about damage or loss.

Make your own invitations

Wedding invitations are a common line item for many couples, but you can save money by making your own. Use a free online template to design your own and print it at home on cardstock, or ask a talented friend (or one of your bridesmaids) to help you. This is a great way to add a personal touch to your wedding without spending a fortune on something that will be forgotten long after the big day.

Wedding cakes are another expensive line item but they don’t have to be! Opt for a smaller cake with simple and chic designs. Alternatively, why not choose a dessert bar or serve a few different kinds of food as your main course? This will not only save you a bundle but also ensure that your guests have a variety to choose from.

Another line item that can add up quickly is entertainment for your reception. However, running your own wedding playlist is a very doable project that can save you a lot of money.

One of the easiest ways to save on your wedding is by keeping your guest list small. A large number of attendees will add up to a hefty bill for everything from food to rentals. However, if you can’t bring yourself to cut any of your loved ones from your big day, opting for an off-peak date is another way to save on everything from venue rentals to food and beverages.

Having a budget in place is important but it is equally as important to prioritize your priorities as a couple. Spend time discussing what each of you value most on your wedding day and rank them accordingly. Then set your budget with those numbers in mind. This will help keep you on track and give you the freedom to make some of those extra special additions that will really add to your big day!

Plan ahead

Many couples forget about the little extras that can add up quickly, including corkage fees, cake cutting fees, transportation, tips, and more. Make sure to budget for these additional costs to avoid going over your budget.

Another way to save money on your wedding is by choosing a less expensive venue or food service provider. Many local restaurants offer cheaper food options and can help you stay within your budget. Consider also using DIY elements rather than hiring professionals to create your wedding decor. For example, you can easily find creative ways to display flowers without spending a fortune. Try a flower crown, flower pots, and even repurposing your ceremony flowers into centerpieces at your reception.

One of the easiest ways to reduce your wedding budget is to invite fewer guests. This can significantly cut your wedding costs, especially if you are paying per guest. This allows you to focus on the people who are closest to you and eliminates the need for extravagant tablescapes or extra service staff.

When it comes to the wedding food, choose a vegetarian option over a meat-based entree to save on cost. Vegetable dishes are generally much less expensive than meat, and you can still impress your guests with a delicious menu!

Skip the open bar and opt for signature cocktails. This will reduce alcohol costs and give your guests something to look forward to during cocktail hour. You can also save money on dessert by opting for a buffet or choosing a less elaborate cake with buttercream frosting instead of fondant.