Every year, people spend tens of thousands of dollars on a single day the wedding day. From outrageous venues to opulent gowns, to gourmet food and free-flowing champagne, the average wedding costs anywhere between $10,000 and $20,000, if not much, much more. But for many couples, the events of the day are far less valuable than the end result being legally married to the love of their lives. While outlandishly expensive weddings seem to be the norm, in reality, getting married on a reasonable budget is by no means impossible. Follow these simple tips to get you started on your way to a beautiful day that won’t jeopardize your financial future.
1. Skip the high-season
Wedding season is typically considered to run from April through September. You can avoid peak prices and scheduling nightmares by planning a wedding during the off season months (October through March). Not only will you have more resources available to you, and at better prices (peak prices are typically 25-50% higher than the rest of the year, which can translate to big savings), but all of your planning will likely be less stressful, as you won’t be competing for locations, venues, officiates, and caterers with thousands of other couples.
2. Always opt for simplicity
One of the quickest ways to blow your wedding budget is to invite everyone you’ve ever met. Limit your guest list to close friends and family it’s hard, but the payoff is worth it. Stick to simplicity when choosing a venue as well. Instead of renting the presidential ballroom at the swankiest hotel in town, opt for a wedding in a smaller, more personal venue. Many parks and small community churches are both beautiful and significantly less expensive than the more opulent, standard wedding venues. Or, if you’re planning a wedding in your home town, use your childhood home, or the home of a close friend or relative for the occasion not only will the venue have more sentimental value, it will come with a much cheaper price tag.
3. Enlist the help of your wedding party
Many people hire professional wedding planners to handle the stress of orchestrating the big event (although it’s doubtful a bride has ever gotten through it all stress free with or without the help of a professional planner). But why pay a sizable retainer to have a stranger plan your wedding, when you can enlist the help and support of your family members and wedding party to bring everything together. Organize your wedding party into a planning committee (remembering that, odds are, the ladies will take on most of the responsibilities let the men handle manual labor like setting up tables and chairs) and let them all contribute to your blessed event. If they’re close enough to you to be in your wedding, odds are they will be more than happy to help you make it extra special. Have friends pitch in to take pictures, too, for a more personal experience and big savings on photography.
4. Don’t stay married to tradition
There’s no need for tuxedos and floor-length formal gowns. Crisp black suits and color-coordinated dresses are much easier to manage, and they don’t require as much of an expense, as most men will already own a suit (and someone’s own suit will always fit better than a rented tux), and simpler, color-coordinated dresses are more likely to be worn again (especially if you include your bridesmaids in the selection process).
5. Opt for lighter fare
Skip a sit-down dinner in favor of heavy hors doeuvres you’ll save big on your overall budget, and your guests will likely appreciate the more casual atmosphere. And instead of a full bar, why not offer a signature cocktail along with cheaper staples like beer and wine? Above all, your wedding should reflect you as a couple, so keep that in mind throughout the planning process, and you’re sure to have a beautiful, memorable wedding day, regardless of your budget.