Wouldn’t it be lovely if “wedding spending” was about spending time with loved ones and the fact that you intend to spend the rest of your life with someone special?
The fact is, however, that – for most people - wedding spending is about how much all this joy is going to cost, now and in the future.
Whether you are part of a young couple or you’ve been here before, there are many good reasons why you might not want to sink your money into a big wedding. To ensure a happy wedding day and a happy life together, start things off right by working out a budget and sticking to it together.
Here are some great, tried-and-tested wedding budget tips to help you do just that.
- Avoid Bloating your Guest List
Simply put, everyone you add to your guest list adds to the expense of your wedding experience.
Many couples start with the idea of keeping their guest list short, but bloat tends to happen quickly. You add someone who obligates you to add another person. This addition obligates you to add yet another person. And his or her spouse, of course. And kids. And so on.
Most people stop before they invite their postie or meter readers. If you want to reduce costs, though, you need to stop way before that.
To help make this easier for you, remember that inviting fewer people can make your event more intimate and thus more memorable. I recently heard a wedding ironically described as “a gathering of 300 of our closest friends.” Pick a number of guests that would allow you to say that sentence with a straight face. See how close to that figure you can get.
You may risk upsetting some people who want to share the day with you. That is a shame, it’s true, but many couples risk starting their marriages with massive debt if they don’t restrict their guest list and that’s a shame too. Sometimes, you have to be frugal to be kind to yourself. Sometimes it’s the wise thing to do.
If you’re finding it difficult to invite fewer people, make a full guest list and then reduce it by 5 to 10 people a day. You don’t have to show the world whose names you cross off. Keeping making the list smaller, and live with it for a while to see if you can live with it on the day.
- Ask for help, not gifts
Wedding gifts can help you start your life as a married couple, but if you are interested in saving money on your wedding, it’s a good idea to ask for people’s time and abilities in lieu of gifts.
Got a friend who is a caterer? A DJ? A driver? If they are willing to spare the time and use their skills, these individuals could spare your purse or wallet and help your wedding day go more smoothly.
- Find a cheap venue
People are likely to shed a tear as you get married, but hiring a function room or a building for your ceremony and reception can be equally eye-watering.
You can save a lot of money by having the ceremony at home, at the home of a parent, or even at a friend’s.
Weather permitting, you can also have a ceremony outdoors in a public park. The reception too. On the plus side, beautiful photo opportunities will be plentiful. On the negative side, you’ll need a backup plan though in case the weather decides to call off play with rain or very cold weather. In this case, a rented tent or yurt might be a good option.
- Do your own catering
You’re going to be busy during your wedding, so it’s a massive ask to take on your own catering. If you are getting married on a budget, however, you’ll have fewer guests and preparations, which will be that much easier to manage.
Understand, however, that you’re going to need help, even if you go it alone. Even with a very small wedding, you’ll have things on your mind other than crudités and snacks. With help from family and friends, providing your own catering is perfectly do-able.
- Use a family-owned restaurant for your catering
Asking for help from a family-owned restaurant is another way to minimize your wedding expenses. This kind of catering can give your wedding food a personal touch and make your day extra special.
They are likely to be pleased that you thought of them. Providing your wedding catering will be good for their business, not least of all because of the goodwill and word of mouth. If they accept, they will not only give you personal attention, but they are also likely to be flexible regarding your budget.
- Cut the flowers (but not completely)
You can really save a lot of money by embracing the idea that less is more when it comes to flowers.
Your favourite flowers, tastefully arranged, is not only a budgetary choice but a style choice. Your bridesmaids may carry a single rose each, for example, rather than an entire bouquet. If you’re a romantic, you won’t underestimate the power of a single rose.
- Keep wedding favours simple
Like taking care of your own wedding catering, it’s not generally recommended to make your own wedding favours. Even if you are an artist or chef, making your own wedding favours can be a huge time sink. For amateurs, the results of your best intentions can be less than inspiring (read: shocking).
Rather, since you’re having fewer guests, assign a small budget to hiring an artisan to help you express gratitude to your guests. The key thing to remember is that your wedding favour is probably best when it is small, useful, and easy for your guests to take home.
As in many areas, working to a budget can enhance your creativity and make your wedding day special in its own way. A thoughtful, intimate wedding can be just the thing to start your married life on the right foot. And in the black.