Depending on the source, the average American wedding can cost anywhere between $17,000 and $25,000. In today’s economy and culture this can be a near impossible feat for the average person. Sure you can go into debt and maybe you are lucky enough to have friends and family helping with some of the costs, but why spend all that money on one day if there are ways around it? Isn’t there somewhere else you would rather spend it?
Lots of people will preach the DIY mantra, and it is indeed a great way to cut costs. However, it also adds a lot of work and stress to your planning process if you let it. This guide is meant to help cut your costs while helping you pick and choose what extra tasks you place on your to do list.
Invitations and Stationery
You would think anyone with a printer has a way around this with all the design programs out there. You want to make sure the printer you have is capable of producing the look you want before you commit to doing all the stationery. You can always have your invitations made and then make the programs yourself last minute. Place cards for the reception are another thing to do yourself. Grab a friend with good penmanship and get creative. Hand assembling 100 invitations is a lot of work depending on how elaborate you want to get. You can also consider getting templates and card stock from an invitation company and printing the wording yourself to save money. Find a balance that gives you the look and the amount of work you want. Addressing your own envelopes will save you money as well and you may find the mother of the bride or maid of honor who is happy to help with this. If not, buckle down and do it as a couple. It is best to address everything in one sitting to avoid mix ups, mistakes and omissions.
THE Dress and Other Attire
Before you spend half your budget looking for a dress, ask around. There may be an heirloom in your family or a close friend of a similar size may have used a dress you will absolutely love. Be sure to get permission before altering anything. You may have someone skilled at making dresses in the family. Also thrift stores and consignment shops are often a dumping ground for these dresses most often worn only once. You can oftentimes pick up a dress, have it fitted and have some custom touches added for less than half the cost of the dress you would have purchased new. If you absolutely must have a new dress look for sales and stay on that rack. Or find the style numbers of a few you absolutely love and scour the internet and discount stores for the same style at a smaller price. Hit the wedding boards with pictures of the styles you love and ask other brides if they know of similar styles at better prices. You may even find a bride who wore the same dress and is looking to unload it.
Renting tuxes and suits for the groom and groomsmen is a great way to cut costs, just make sure you know all the terms of the rental in advance and have someone assigned to collecting everything and returning it on time. Consider letting the bride’s attendants use swatches to find a dress that suits them in the color’s of the brides choosing. It can save them all a lot of money not having to buy the same dress from the same place. Just because you get your dress at a certain store and they place a veil on you that looks absolutely perfect doesn’t mean you have to buy it there. Shop around for your accessories as they can quickly send your attire bill skyrocketing. Be creative and use silk flowers instead of a veil or buy your attendants purses as a lot online. A little time spent browsing online can give you some fun ideas that differ from the normal choices. Most are a lot cheaper too!
Having someone in the family with a knack for arrangements can be a huge cost cutter. Silk arrangements can be made well in advance of your special day. If you are feeling crafty, you can even do them yourself. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what your venues allow and will have time before the ceremony to put everything in place. If you don’t like the idea of silk bouquets or buttonholes, you can always have those done with fresh flowers or use substitutions. Parasols and fans make great substitutes for the attendant and bridal bouquets and a throwaway bouquet for tossing can be purchased fairly cheap. Bows and other decorations may be a more inexpensive way to decorate your venue. Look into all your options before signing on with a florist. Centerpieces for the reception can also be made in advance and there are so many options besides the traditional flower arrangement. Spend some time looking at options and deciding on something that fits for you and your intended.
For the rest on this topic, stay tuned for our Friday blog, Wedding on a Realistic Budget – Tips for Cutting Costs Without Losing Your Sanity – Continued.