Planning a wedding on a budget is not an easy task. Here are 10 great ideas you could try to cut down the cost of your wedding without diminishing your experience or that of your guests. These ideas are according to the experience of Trent Hamm‘s wedding.
Wedding on a Budget – 10 Great Ideas For Budget Wedding
1. Avoid guest list bloat
Although you might be tempted to throw everyone you know on your guest list, that isn’t always a great idea. With each addition you make, you’re adding additional costs while also making your wedding less intimate.
To save as much as you can, try inviting fewer people and making the event more intimate. Start by whittling your list down by 20%, then another 20%. Then see if you’re happy with it.
2. Ask for wedding help instead of wedding gifts
We were lucky that several of our friends and family had musical talent, so they were able to provide musical accompaniment for our ceremony.
We also have a close friend who’s an extremely skilled amateur photographer, and he was willing to photograph our ceremony as our wedding gift. Then, after the ceremony, he provided high-quality digital images of everything.
3. Hold the ceremony at home, or outdoors
Renting a building or function hall for your ceremony and reception can be very expensive. Instead, consider using your own home (or the home of a parent) for your ceremony, or perhaps a public park with a beautiful view.
In each case, you can also have your reception outdoors, creating a picturesque, memorable ceremony while eliminating the cost of renting a venue.
4. Do the catering yourself
If this isn’t your forte, look around your community for a family-owned restaurant and ask the owners directly to cater your wedding. Family-owned restaurants are always the first place to check – they will almost always go the extra mile to make your wedding special and are generally more understanding of your particular budget needs.
5. Go minimal with the flowers
Instead of spending boatloads of money on flowers that will die shortly after the reception, keep it simple but elegant — for instance, a single rose for each bridesmaid and a very small bouquet for the bride. If you know someone with a rose bush, you can actually make your own bouquets the day before the ceremony by cutting the roses yourself and trimming away the thorns.
6. Make your own invitations
With a quality home printer and some time, you can make very classy invitations on your own. Trent Hamm wrote, My wife and I picked up a simple blank invitation kit on sale at Staples and made our own invitations to our wedding. No pictures or anything – just a very classic font and simple text. It looked stylish and didn’t cost us much at all.
7. Borrow stereo equipment or use yours from home
Rather than hiring a DJ, just use your own home stereo equipment or equipment you borrow from a friend. Put speakers around the dance floor area – there’s no need to spread them around the entire reception room. Create a playlist on your iPod that features a few hours’ worths of your favorite songs – or see if you have a friend who might want to make a playlist for you. Choosing your own songs is a great way to personalize your entire
8. Stock the bar yourself
Alcohol is a big expense when it comes to a lot of weddings, and it’s also a big variable you can play around with to cut costs. Instead of opting for a full open bar, for instance, you can save money offering just beer and wine, or a free cocktail hour followed by a cash bar.
If you do rent a function hall, ask if they’ll let you supply your own alcohol instead of using the venue’s, which can be a big money-saver. Look for a discount liquor store in your area, and stock up on the basics: red and white wine and a few types of beer at the very least. If you want to offer a full bar, pick up the standard liquors like vodka, gin, rum, and whiskey, plus a few mixers and soft drinks like sodas and juice.
9. Price shop for decorations – and consider buying used
Michael’s, Paper Warehouse, and Hobby Lobby all have sales throughout the year. If you know what you’re looking for ahead of time, you can simply wait until it goes on sale and “pounce” when the time is right.
Meanwhile, you can also consider buying used centerpieces and decorations. Recent brides often sell their decorations on sites like craigslist.org, and you can save a bundle of money — and effort — going that route.
10. Buy dresses off the rack – and on sale
If you want to save on bridesmaid dresses, try to avoid ordering custom dresses altogether. Instead, head to a few stores with dresses on sale and see if you can all find something “off the rack.”
This works best if your colors are chosen ahead of time and if the store you’re shopping at carries plenty of sizes. To minimize spats within your wedding party, you can also shop ahead of time and only have them try on dresses you already approve of.
Another cheap wedding idea: Instead of buying new dresses, have every bridesmaid wear a particular color dress they already own.
Good luck (and congratulations)!