There are many more brides- and grooms-to-be now than there were a month ago.That’s because, according to Money Crashers, the majority of engagements occur around Christmas. This means that, starting in January, there’s a whole new wave of wedding planning going on.
Anyone who has ever planned a wedding, though, knows that this happy event can cost a fortune. And, elopement aside, there aren’t any real ways to hold a nuptial celebration without putting some kind of dent in your wallet. But there are definitely ways to minimize the damage.
We asked Amanda Black, an editor at the bridal site The Knot, to share ways of planning the big day while still being smart about the cost. Here are her dos and don’ts.
- Make a budget before you book anything. Figure out what you want to spend in total.
- Use the Web to research. Reading reviews is a great way to compare prices and find vendors who are reliable.
- Get wedding insurance. It’s pretty easy to recoup: You can spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a wedding but insurance will only set you back a few hundred. When you come across something like Hurricane Sandy – so many brides had to postpone their weddings because of it.
- Match the flowers to the season. They’re less expensive when they’re grown locally and when they’re in season.
- Consider thermography printing for invitations. It has the same look and feel as engraving but it’s much less expensive. An engraved invitation can cost upwards of $10 per invitation, but a thermography invite can cost $1 to $3.
- Serve a signature cocktail. A lot of people don’t realize that having an open bar is very expensive. So serve unlimited beer and wine but then have just two or three signature cocktails. That way you’re cutting down on having tons of liquor options and having to open all those bottles.
- Order half as much cake as you think you should. Instead of buying enough cake for all your, say, 150 guests, tell your caterer you only want enough cake for half those people, especially if you’re serving other desserts. By the time that cake is cut you’re really only serving half of it because your guests are already full.
- Blow off your budget. Don’t start making compromises and saying things like, “Oh, I can spend a little bit more on this or that.”
- Buy the wedding dress online. A dress size won’t be the same at one store as it is at the next. Plus, you won’t know what you’re getting exactly. A dress that looks great on one site won’t necessarily be as beautiful in person. We’ve done some research, and on some sites, you get something completely different than what you see in the picture.
- Underpay invitation postage. That can lead to a lot of hustling at the post office. Your invites may get returned to you, and then you’re crunched for time to get them out to guests in a timely fashion.
- Invite every guest with a plus-one. It’s a nice thing to do, but not everyone needs a plus one – for instance, people who aren’t in committed relationships.
- Overdo the dinner courses. Keep the menu simple. Stay away from expensive dishes, like truffles and salmon steaks. Stick with the specialties of the season.
- Have your wedding at home. A lot of people think having your wedding at home is much cheaper. But you have to bring everything in – the catering, the chairs, the tents… Weddings at home are more costly than weddings at a reception hall.
How would you go about budgeting a wedding? How do you decide which wedding costs are worth splurging on?