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7 ways to save money on your wedding (and 6 things to avoid)

What we'll cover

  • Smart ways to save for your wedding

  • Common overspending pitfalls to avoid

  • How to keep wedding spending in check

Headed down the aisle soon? Anyone who has ever planned a wedding knows the price tag of this happy event can be steep. 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 ways to minimize the damage. Start with these do’s and don’ts.

Do …

Make your budget first

Before you begin booking a venue or major vendors, it’s important to figure out how much you want to spend in total. From there, build a comprehensive budget together with your spouse-to-be. With a clear framework, it will be easier to save for your wedding goals.

Do your research

When it comes to wedding planning, the internet is your friend. Check out reviews for everything from DJs to dresses. Personal recommendations are great, too. Ask your married friends and family where they scored the best deals and comparison shop to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

Get wedding insurance

Even on the best day of your life, it’s still a good idea to prepare for the worst. You’re putting a lot of time and money into this day, so protecting it is worth the investment of a few hundred dollars. And if a natural disaster, illness or injury derails your big day, you’ll be glad you put a safeguard in place.

Match the flowers to the season

Just like with produce, choosing in-season florals will land you with blooms that are both at their peak beauty and best price. If your favorite isn’t available, work with a florist to find a similar alternative.

Consider low-cost printing options

Engraving is hard to beat when it comes to an elegant-looking invitation, but it comes with a price point to match. In today’s digital world, there are other economical options like digital printing or even fully electronic invitations. Or, if you’re looking for something similar to engraving but at a cheaper price point, thermography is a great substitute. Engraved invitations will set you back an average of $2,200, compared to $1,200 for thermography. Weigh your options to find the best fit for your budget .

Serve a signature cocktail

An open bar doesn’t come cheap. If you want to keep your guests in fine spirits without breaking the bank, a signature cocktail is a fun and festive way to keep costs down. Skipping multiple liquor options can dramatically lower costs. Round it out with beer and wine for a varied, yet more affordable, drink menu.

Halve your cake order

A wedding cake is in a whole other league than your typical sheet cake, and the price tag can leave you reeling. But a tiered cake isn’t your only option. Instead, consider a small cake paired with a more economical collection of dessert options for guests.

If you want to keep your guests in fine spirits without breaking the bank, a signature cocktail is a fun and festive way to keep costs down.

Don’t …

Blow off your budget

You and your betrothed took the time to carefully map out what you’re able to spend and where you’d like to spend it, so take it seriously. A firm budget will help you stay on track with your spending. Remember it’s all about balance, so you can totally save in one category to splurge in another.

Buy a wedding dress online

No one can deny the convenience of online shopping, but this is one time you want to try before you buy. Wedding dress sizes are typically different from off-the-rack clothing and details like lace or beading might not translate on the screen. Shopping in person ensures you know what you’re getting when you make this super-important purchase.

Underpay on invitation postage

The last thing you want to deal with is wedding invitations being returned to you. Not only is it a hassle, but you’ll end up paying double. Make sure you’re paying enough upfront for your invitations to reach your guests in a timely fashion. If you’re unsure, stop by your local post office to confirm how much postage you’ll need.

Allow every guest a plus one

By limiting wedding dates to those in committed relationships, you’ll cut costs and reduce the odds that you have a bunch of strangers in your wedding photos years down the road.

Overdo the dinner courses

Resist the urge to serve a large, fancy feast. A simple menu is best to feed a crowd with varying palates. Your wedding is all about you and your spouse, not the food. Seasonal classics will make both your guests and your wallet happy.

Assume a home wedding is cheaper

A wedding in your own backyard may sound idyllic, but costs can add up quickly. Because you have to bring absolute everything in — catering, chairs, tents and more — your bill can end up much larger than it would be at a venue.

Be a savvy wedding saver

Planning a wedding is an exciting adventure. Before you get carried away, keep in mind the costs. With a smart savings strategy in place, your big day will be both a dream come true and under budget.

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