Author: Erin Voisin
Planning weddings on a budget is a topic I can speak to from recent personal experience. I myself attended about nine weddings in the last year, and am writing this, as a newlywed that recently planned my own wedding. After going to all these weddings, I found myself constantly saying “Why did they spend money on that?” I think Pinterest has created a false illusion of what a wedding should look like, so I see a lot of money getting spent on programs, menus, flowers, crazy decorations, extravagant desserts, etc. Isn’t anybody looking for inexpensive wedding ideas?
You often hear that a wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event, so don’t worry about the cost. Well, when you are just married and having to pay joint bills, save for a home, buy a home, have kids and handle all the expenses that come with that, you start to wonder whether that “once-in-a-lifetime-wedding” money could have been put to better use. We have to remember that it is just one day of the rest of our lives. Absolutely make it something you want, but make it something you will remember and can afford. If you have to take out a loan, really consider whether it is worth it.
For wedding ideas on a budget, start with this list of ten things to consider.
1. Begin with a plan
When I started wedding planning, like any financial planner would do, I developed a plan. I started with my budget, and from there worked down from all the big items needed to the smaller items. So, once the venue was set, I focused on the main vendors needed (ie.,DJ, photographer, caterer, etc.), and then the staple items such as the wedding dress and groom outfit. If you’re an EP Wealth Advisors client, we can help you establish an overall budget consistent with your financial situation and goals.
2. Set your priorities
After that was said and done, I looked at what I had left in the budget, prioritized my wants and went down the list. I was told by so many people—and truthfully felt the same after going to so many weddings—most people remember the food, the music and dancing, and their wedding pictures.
3. Budget for a buffet
A sit-down meal with table service is never inexpensive. Buffets are generally cheaper, just as good, and don’t take away the “nice” factor
4. Comparison shop
Vendors want your business. Don’t be afraid to shop around and negotiate!
5. Reuse and recycle
Look at all the websites that resell wedding items. Many websites out there have dresses only worn once, great decorations that no one can use anymore, candle holders, picture frames, etc. that are much cheaper than some stores or online sites.
6. Leverage relationships
Ask your friends and family about wedding-services providers they may know; maybe there is a makeup/hair person, baker or caterer within your family-and-friend network who may give you a deal.
7. Produce your own video
Have friends and family pull out those phones and video the moments you want to remember. Then use all the fancy apps out there to make your own “wedding video.”
8. Split some expenses
Ask your vendor if a wedding is happening the night before or after at your venue— sometimes certain decorations can be split amongst the couples getting married.
9. Delete the expendables
Don’t spend money on the items that people are just going to toss away five minutes after looking at them. This includes fancy envelopes for invitations, programs and menus.
10. Time it right
Schedule your honeymoon during the beginning of the off-season at the location. Weather will generally still be good and prices will be lower.
Above all, as you’re working your way through the wedding-planning process, think of what any extra money you save could be used for. Whether it’s paying off debt, saving for a new home, buying a car, funding savings, or other goals, planning a wedding on a budget can really pay off. For more information, visit our financial planning page or check out these personal finance tips.
Disclosure: All expressions of opinion are solely that of the author and are subject to change without notice. Hiring and/or working with a financial planner and/or developing a financial plan does not guarantee success. Furthermore, it does not ensure that a client or prospective client will experience a higher level of performance or results.