It’s important to take your time to plan. That way, you can do as much research as you need and have plenty of time to make all the decisions you need. This allows allows you to take advantage of any seasonal sales (silver and gold décor during Christmas sales etc.) and stock up on anything you need during the year.
In terms of the actual date, try and schedule your wedding in off-peak times of the year – the difference in price is extensive. You can save a lot of money off high-season rates with almost everything – including the catering, flowers and venue hire. Also, this means you have more choice for dates and don’t have to rush in and out of a venue if there’s another wedding planned for the same day.
Try and schedule the wedding for a day other than Saturday, the most popular day to marry. Enquire about Friday evening and Sunday weddings at your venue and see if there’s a considerable difference in price.
If your friends offer to help with something, let them! But keep in mind that you do want someone who knows what they’re doing. You can take them up on offers in exchange for a wedding gift. Your friends and bridal party can also help with little things such as invites or stationary – get the person with the nicest handwriting to do the lettering. Turn the wedding prep into a small party for some more fun and so it doesn’t feel like work!
If you know someone who is a budding photographer or DJ, give them their first big break. Of course, ask for samples of their work and do a test-run to make sure you’re happy with their work – but this can be an excellent way to save costs and also be mutually helpful.
If your venue has a professional sound system, you can even plug in someone’s phone or laptop with a pre-designed playlist on iTunes or Spotify. Make sure you know how everything works beforehand though, and have someone there to oversee the music and mix things up if needed.
Take it a step further and initiate an officiant by having your vows administered by a close friend or family member. It’s easy and quite inexpensive for someone to get ordained online or at some churches, but make sure you check the laws related to this first. It’s an excellent way to save money on hiring someone to officiate the wedding and it’ll also feel more special and personal since your friend/family member will know you better than the priest.
Food and drinks are one of the most expensive aspects of a wedding. You want your guests to have a good time, and that includes good food, but at what cost?
A great money-saving idea is to have your reception during the day. It’s considerably cheaper to serve lunch or brunch than it is dinner. Why not get rid of the traditional sit-down dinner altogether. Cocktail or potluck style receptions are a great way to save money and are also less formal and more intimate and fun!
In regards to alcohol, don't leave wine or champagne bottles on tables, get your servers to pour the drinks instead. This ensures that guests drink less leading to less alcohol consumption overall. Consider serving signature cocktails to limit the options that guests have (some venues/bars charge per bottle opened). Another option is to just serve general wine, beer and champagne.
Also, think about replacing or ditching the wedding cake – it’s quite a popular decision these days to have cheaper and more innovative replacements such as cupcakes, donuts, milk and cookies, lamingtons, brownies, lemon square, cake pops and other desserts. Bonus points for homemade ones! Alternatively, if you really can't do without a cake then get a smaller, decorated one for display and sheet cake for serving.
It’s simple math that the more guests you have at a wedding, the more you’re going to need to spend on food, favours, invites etc. and the more the wedding will cost in total. Keep your guest list short and sweet to save money. Also keep your wedding party as small as possible so there’s less to worry about there.
Only invite people to the wedding who are in your life currently. If you haven’t seen someone in decades (old acquaintances, childhood friends, distant relatives), or you’re not close to them anymore then don’t feel obliged to invite them. Try and stick to only inviting people who you and your fiancé both know.
Dividing your guests into groups can help with this as well. Making cuts this way is easier and is also less likely to offend people – e.g. children, acquaintances and co-workers. You can remove entire categories this way and make the process a whole lot easier.
Engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties can be extremely time-consuming and expensive. Not only do they require a lot of planning and take time away from planning the wedding day itself, but engagement parties in particular can be quite costly. If you’re having a short engagement, consider skipping the engagement party altogether and use the money for the wedding instead. Or consider having less formal and more intimate gatherings with a smaller group of friends and family.
Also keep in mind that guests, especially your wedding party, need to carve out a considerable amount of time to attend all these events (particularly if they have to travel far and buy presents for each occasion).
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