Photo by Marnie Recker Photography
How to have an amazing, yet affordable day:
1. Get real
The first key is understanding how much you have to work with and then setting your expectations accordingly.
2. Rank your priorities
Decide what aspects of your wedding are most important to you. One of the best ways to keep your budget on track is to focus on what you and your partner want, not what you think you want or what others expect.
3. Trim your guest list
Small, intimate weddings ensure that you spend your special day with the people that matter most to you.
4. Recruit family and friends
Cost-free outsourcing! Gather your family and friends, play to their strengths and have fun. If they offer, using talented friends will make for a more personal celebration and build-up to the special day.
Do some research, compare costs and venue offerings. Planning your wedding ceremony and reception at the same location will save on transport costs and dealing with two different vendors and contracts. You will also be able to use the same decor from the ceremony at the reception. By choosing an attractive venue and surroundings, all you have to do is to set the tables with linens, flowers and centre-pieces, as the location will already speak for itself.
6. Embrace the off-season
Weddings that don’t fall during peak months will certainly help to keep costs down.
7. Hire an expert
Although a wedding planner costs money, you will save in the end. Wedding planners have years of experience working within budgets, they will do the legwork of tracking down venue options and vendors and they may even find money-saving discounts as a result of established relationships with a wide range of suppliers.
8. Get crafty
Some couples throw a “pitch-in party” where you ask your family and friends to help you create invitations, decorations, centerpieces and other inexpensive touches. Have fun, get creative and let your friends know how thankful you are for their help!
9. Create your own wedding website
Save on paper, printing and postage by sharing your important wedding details online. Most online businesses only charge a small fee, if any, to use webpage templates.
10. Bargain and borrow
For half the price and twice the charm, you can find everything from wooden signs to fabric and trim to antique mason jars online or at your local flea market. Consider borrowing decor or buying second hand, rather than renting at a high cost.
11. Buy in-season
Use seasonal and local produce when possible, whether it be flowers, food or gifts.
12. Simple food
Generally, a large part of your wedding budget will go to food, so make sure it’s delicious! Go for simple, but well prepared and presented food. Just because it sounds fancy on a menu, does not mean it will be delicious. Rather choose a caterer that you that can trust and decide on a simple menu together. Reduce service costs by offering self-serve food stations, self-serve wine on the tables and a family-style dining concept.
13. Manage the bar
Bar costs can significantly add to a wedding budget, so skip the open bar. Instead, offer guests beer and wine along with a signature cocktail. Provide non-alcoholic drinks on each table, such as sparkling water or a homemade lemonade, which will keep your guests hydrated throughout the reception.
14. Homemade favours
Homemade gifts and goodies are an ideal way to thank your guests for coming. They are low cost, low fuss, yet highly satisfying!
The fewer plans, the better. Simply slow down and enjoy your time together as a newly married couple. You don’t have to travel far or make any extravagant plans for the honeymoon to be memorable.
Now, even on a budget – you can still have that dream wedding! In the end, don’t lose sight of what you are truly celebrating. Your guests won’t remember every small detail, but they will remember how happy you two were and the fabulous time they had celebrating your marriage.