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10 Tips to Plan Your Wedding on a Budget

Planning your wedding is supposed to be a magical, yet stressful time for everyone, bride and groom included. Having a tight budget can make this already stressful time even worse, as you worry about finding the money to afford your dream wedding venues, decorations, all your wedding accessories, and more. Thankfully, we have a few tips that can help you plan your wedding on a budget.

  1. Go Paperless for Invitations

Wedding invitations are one of the most important features of wedding planning. For some, the invitations are also the more exciting and intricate processes of the initial stages of your dream wedding. Besides being an extension of you and your partner’s relationship, personalities, and hopes, wedding invitations are a physical reminder that the wedding is truly happening.

Wedding invitations can be expensive, regardless of how large or small your guest list is, or how intricate or simple they are. On average, the cost of wedding invitations and response cards for 150 guests is approximately $245 dollars. This may come as a surprise for some, as wedding invitations usually don’t come to mind when thinking about the more expensive aspects of planning a wedding.

To cut this relatively large expense, you should look into going paperless with your invitations. There are a large variety of websites and services that are dedicated to providing families and couples with elegant wedding invites without spending a fortune.

Related: 9 Major Mistakes to Avoid in Wedding Invitations

  1. Set up a Well-Defined Budget

While this tip is obvious, you still need to remember to create an expansive budget that leaves no room for you, or your family, to be hit with an unexpected cost later on during your planning. Your wedding budget should be one of the first steps you complete, as it should serve as your reference for deciding all major checkpoints during the planning.

Leave no stone unturned when creating your budget, make sure to establish who is paying for what and that each party is aware of their costs. Clearly define your budget for the wedding venues and decoration costs, the guest list size along with invitations, menus, programs, thank-you cards, etc.; the reception cost including the rental spot, the DJ, and menus for both drinks and food; and your budget for your wedding gown, wedding dresses, wedding accessories and even decorations.

Always try to be more specific with your budget, so you know exactly where your money is going and why; you are less likely to be hit with a huge expense that you missed during the creation of your budget.

  1. Borrow What you Can

If you are really strapped for cash, you can always ask around your family and friends to see if you can borrow any of their wedding decorations or accessories for your own wedding. Your best bet would be to borrow decorations for your venue, such as ribbon and chairs, that can be easily replaced if something were to happen.

Borrowing wedding accessories doesn’t have to be confined to your friends or family members however, you can always look into a rental service that will allow you to rent decorations, dresses, tuxedos, and even you wedding gown.

If you are able to borrow wedding decorations from family members or friends, make sure to pay them for their service, which will be must cheaper than buying your own decorations for the venue.

  1. Skip Popular Venues

With the average cost of venue rental being between $12,343 – $14,006, it makes sense to try and cut down your venue cost. Usually, the venue rental cost includes the location fee, tables, chairs, and linen rentals, and food and drinks.

When you are on a budget, paying $12,000 for the wedding venues alone leaves very little room in your budget for other wedding necessities, like the reception location, your dress, etc. To decrease this expense, you should skip the more popular venues, such as destination location weddings, where the prices are usually higher because of its demand.

Instead, find a local venue like a church to hold your wedding. If you don’t want to hold your wedding in a church, you can also use an outdoor wedding, especially during the summer and early fall/spring seasons, when the temperature is milder.

Related: The 15 Best Venues for Outdoor Weddings in the USA

  1. Skip Saturday or Holiday Weddings

This next wedding tip follows the same principle of the previous example, you should skip having your wedding on a Saturday or on a holiday because most venues are in higher demand during these days. When a venue is full and has a high demand for open spots, the cost of that location’s rental will be much higher than other days.

Since many weddings occur on a Saturday, because Saturdays are usually more convenient for travel and free time, the venue demand is much higher on Saturdays than other times during the week.

  1. Buy your own Alcohol and Keep the Menu Simple

Choosing to have an open bar, or even having alcohol at your wedding, is an important decision to make when planning your reception. If you do decide you want a bar during your reception, you will find that the bartending fee, along with the fee to stock the alcohol needed for your drink menu can be extremely expensive.

To reduce this cost, you should keep your drink menu short and simple, with well-known cocktails that require few ingredients to make. You can buy and provide your own alcohol also, to lower your alcohol budget.

  1. Control your Flower Budget

The cost of your bouquet, flower decorations, and corsages are also an often-overlooked expense for many couples. Make sure to stay in control of your floral expenses in your wedding budget by using flowers that are in-bloom and can be locally grown or found. Through using in-season plants and flowers, you won’t have to pay for any extra fee to import your flowers from an outside location.

Related: The Basics of Wedding Planning- 10 Tips to Get You Started

  1. Keep your Decorations Simple

Wedding decorations are often one of the larger expenses when wedding planning. If you are on a tight budget, you should keep your decorations simple, such as traditional colors like white, simple table centerpieces, and minimal decorations in your altar. Simple decorations will also help wedding dresses be the focal point of the ceremony.

  1. Skip Multi-tier Wedding Cakes

Many people dream of having a tall and elegant multi-tier cake that is not only delicious, but an amazing centerpiece for your entire wedding. Unsurprisingly, wedding cakes can run on the expensive side when you factor in tiers, decorations, assembling the cake, and delivering it to your venue. Generally, the cheapest wedding cakes will be a vanilla or chocolate, single-tiered, and paired with a simple sheet cake for the guests to eat at your reception.

If you are on a strict budget but still want an elegant multi-tiered cake, you should talk to your baker about crafting a single-tiered cake topped off with a couple of fake tiers made of plastic and Styrofoam. The fake pieces will be decorated like your actual cake and not be obviously fake. Fresh flowers are considered to be the cheapest decorations for a wedding cake. Of course, you will also need a sheet cake to serve to your guests since you will only have a smaller, single-tiered cake.

  1. Use Friends or Family as Your Photographer and Edit the Videos/Pictures Yourself

The last tip for having a wedding on a budget is rather simple. Since wedding photographers can charge a pretty hefty service fee, you should consult with members of your family or friends to see if anyone would feel comfortable doing your wedding photos. If you do find someone in the family to be your wedding photographer, you should also edit the videos/pictures yourself. You can be creative by making a music video or slideshow of your wedding video photos by pairing it with your favorite songs. Here is how to create a slideshow on a Mac to help you save the most money.

Related: Best Honeymoon Destinations and Ideas on a Budget

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