Wedding Planning on a Budget
Lets face it - weddings are expensive. Here are a few ways to make sure you stay within your budget.
Set Your Budget
When it comes down to it, your loved ones are there to celebrate you, not how much food you feed them or how beautiful your venue is. Your guests are not going to know what you don't have, but to start, take a realistic look at your finances, know who's contributing (if anyone), and set a budget you can stick to. Figure out what you absolutely need at your wedding and where you want to spend your money- for example if you think having an open bar is a must, go easy on the specialty decor and keep things simple. Beware of the temptation to pick up those 'cute wedding things' you see - they add up over time and have less impact than the important things - good food, free booze and great music.
Marry in the Off Season
There are far less weddings in the months of January through April which may be down time for most venues and vendors. A lot of these people and places will have some sort of deal or are willing to work with you in the off season. Ask them!!
Be Upfront With Vendors
Tell them what you can and can't spend. If their services are way out of your range you may have to find a different vendor or receive fewer services but still get the vendor of your choice.
Cut Your Guest List
To make things simple, we've mastered this wedding planning task in just 3 simple steps.
Step 1: Make a master guest list of every single person you would love to have at your wedding - don't forget to ask the parents for their lists, too.
Step 2: Color code! Take three different colored highlighters and highlight all the people that absolutely 100% need to be there one color, people that you want to come but can take the risk of not inviting them another color, and those who you don't really care for but are still somewhere in your circle of friends and family the last color.
Step 3: Once you have your budget set and know how much you want to spend on bar tabs and food bills, add those in the second color, and then the third color until you hit your perfect number based off your budget.
Trends we're seeing are that the typical 15-20% unable to attend rate has increased to closer to 30%.
Choose the Right Venue
Look for all inclusive venues that can host the ceremony & reception in the same place. Bonus points if they offer in house catering, planning and decor (like SKY Armory). Selecting a venue that fits your style will alleviate the need for transforming a room with decor. Keep transportation needs in mind as well. You probably want your venue to be close enough to where guests are staying that you won't need to rent a party bus or limo for the night.
Simplicity is Best
When it comes to decor, think about focal points that have impact. Candlelight is romantic and beautiful - the more flowers the more cost.. Think about adding in a lot of greenery - it's less expensive and totally on trend right now.
Shop Sample Sales for Dresses
Broaden your wedding dress horizons and shop a sample sale. Designers and boutiques offer up to a whopping 70% discount for some of these dresses. But be warned, the show rooms may get a bit over crowded with other brides thinking the same thing and you have to think fast since you're buying straight from the shelf. If you find a dress you love, act on it!
If you have a tight budget and alcohol is just an added perk, set a price for a descending bar tab. When you're getting close the venue or caterer will ask if you want to add more to it or make it a cash bar. Either way, let your guests know they may want to have some cash on hand.
Most couples already have their housing needs by the time they are married. Instead of a wedding registry filled with kitchen tools that you probably already have, or will never use, have your guests put that money towards your honeymoon.