Let's get right to the point, weddings are expensive!! There are several ways to tighten the reins of your budget and still have a fabulous wedding.
1. Cut the guest list. This sounds brutal, but when you break it down it's easy to see how this simple trick may save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Every guest you invite requires an additional meal, invitation or even an additional welcome basket. After 8-10 people, you'll even have to add another table which requires extra linens and centerpieces.
One great way to limit your guest list without leaving out anyone important to you is to simply avoid putting "and guest" on every invitation sent to your unmarried friends. If you have many unmarried friends attending the wedding, think how much you'll save just by not having to pay for all of their dates (who you probably don't even know.) If you have unmarried friends with boyfriends or girlfriends that you know, add their name to invitation instead of simply saying "and guest."
Many couples even go so far as to ask that no kids attend. This may be a little extreme for some couples, but may be the perfect solution for others. If you choose to do this, be clear ahead of time. Don't make exceptions for some people and not for others. You're just asking for a problem if you do. Also beware that if you ask people not to bring their kids, some of those people may not come. They may be unable to find a babysitter or may not be comfortable having someone watch their kids late at night. Other parents may be relieved for a kid-free evening.
2. Rent! It always amazes me how many brides don't even know that this is an option. Many rental facilities offer ceremony chairs, linens, or even centerpieces and other decor. Most of these items can be rented for much cheaper than purchasing them on your own. Not to mention that if you do decide to purchase all of these items, what are you going to do with them after the wedding?
3. Avoid overtime. Create a wedding timeline and add in buffer time in case your event falls behind schedule. Another great way to avoid overtime is to hire a coordinator for your wedding day. This person can help you and your vendors stay on schedule which will help you avoid those costly overtime charges.
4. Limit the liquor. This doesn't mean that you have to have a cash bar, even though this could help you save a pretty penny. If you know you want to have an open bar, make sure your servers know that you would like them to offer refills to your guests but not to run around refilling drinks willy-nilly.
Also be sure that you purchase beer and wine from a place like Total Wine. Did you know that they allow you to return unopened bottles to the store after your event?! If you plan to do this, only ice the necessary bottles. Labels can come off and you don't want every bottle you purchased sitting on ice all night long.
If neither of these suggestions work for you, try serving a signature drink that your guests will love. This way you can control what type of liquor you want to serve. You can choose a simple beverage that uses a cheaper type of liquor so the cost won't add up so quickly. The upside to this, you can come up with a cute name for your drink that ties into your wedding or maybe is a play on your new last name.
5. Choose a venue with natural decor. A huge portion of wedding budgets goes into decorating a venue. Not big on paying for a bunch of decorations you'll never use again? Find a venue that requires minimal decorations. Outdoor sites full of foliage and flowers, create a perfect atmosphere and adding your own decorations can actually take away from the site. Other sites like Revolution Mill Studios are so beautiful that you can get away with simple centerpieces and some beautiful uplighting.
6. Choose a wedding date that is not during peak season. Avoid holidays or the typical wedding season. May-October is typically the most popular time to get married. By avoiding these months you may save yourself a small fortune. Also consider getting married on a Friday evening or a Sunday afternoon. These days/times are also great money savers.
7. Hire a wedding planner. Most brides (or mothers of the bride) hear this and think "I don't need a wedding planner, I can do everything myself" or "a wedding planner is too expensive." Did you know that hiring a wedding planner should not be an additional cost? A wedding planner should be able to work their fee into their budget and help you save money in other areas. It's actually possible to hire a wedding planner and end up spending less than you had planned in the long run (as long as you have reasonable expectations, that is). A wedding planner can help rein you in when necessary or help you find cheaper solutions to help you create your dream wedding in a realistic way.
It's up to you to determine if any of these solutions work for you, but if you'd like to learn more about saving money while you're planning your wedding give Any Way You Want It Weddings & Events a call or shoot us an email to set up a complementary consultation. We'd love to help!