This is one of our Party Planning articles, to see all the other articles that have been written please check out our Party Planning 101 post.
In this article we are going to talk about ways to cut costs when planning a wedding. We have all been there, what we want for our wedding costs a lot more than what we can pay for. Here are some tips for keeping your wedding on budget.
Cutting Costs By Decreasing the Guest List
Before I get too far I should point out that many of these tips will have to do with decreasing the size of your event. The more people who attend your wedding, the more expensive it becomes. Taking some time to make sure the people who are coming are the ones you actually want to attend makes budget decisions a lot easier.
There are some people that you just have to invite so keep in mind that these tips are not about removing these people from your guest list. Please invite them, rule of thumb is that if you invite cousins on the brides side you should also invite cousins on the grooms side. However, just because someone is invited, does not mean that they will come. If you are unable to cut the guest list yourself, you can choose to put the decision on whether or not people can come back on the guests by making it so some simply cannot come based on the location, time or other factors. This avoids hard feelings as everyone who needs to be invited is, but only the people who truly want to come will attend.
If you are inviting lots of of people to your event but hoping that many will not attend have a backup plan. You will always have surprises at your event with people you never thought in a million years would accept, decide to come to your wedding. In this case I would plan for the number invited in your budget and then have items that you would like to have but don't have the money for listed in a separate column. These could be the purchase or additional flowers, more expensive centre pieces or additional snacks during the reception. When you get the final numbers, if you have money left over you can use the money towards these items but if everyone accepts you can still afford your event.
Keep in mind that if you invite someone to your wedding etiquette states that everyone who is invited is expected to send a gift whether or not they attend. Don't make this a gift grab.
Cutting Costs at Your Wedding
Not all of these tips will be applicable for your wedding but here is my list of ways to cut costs:
- Keep the Event Small: This is an easy one that can't be mentioned enough as it is one of the easiest ways to lower your budget. Let's look at some numbers. If you want to host your wedding at a fancy restaurant that is $50 a head, inviting 100 people is going to put food at $5,000 but only inviting 30 means your costs come in at $1,500. The less people who attend your event, the cheaper it is.
- Don't Invite Kids: Children add to the numbers very quickly if most of the people you are inviting are parents. Not inviting kids keeps your numbers smaller as kids are not there but it also means that some parents will choose not to come as they don't want to pay for a babysitter or can't find one. This is especially true for out of town events. If you have some important kids that you must invite then consider including them in your wedding party as this way you can include only those children you are very close to without having to invite everyone.
- Keep your wedding party small: Having a large wedding party means that you are going to be paying more. Chances are your bridal party is paying for what they are wearing but you should also factor in the increased costs of flowers (more required), transportation (larger vehicle), makeup and hair (more staff needed), photos (take longer and increase cost), food costs (pre-wedding events and morning of snacks), as well as the wedding party gifts.
- Hold a Destination Wedding: This is effective in two ways. Most resorts offer incentives to the couple where if they get a certain number of people to attend, they get things for free. Depending on your numbers a destination wedding could end up costing you the flights and not much else. Great if you plan this to be your honeymoon as you save some costs there as well. As the cost for guests is so much higher, many guests will choose not to come thereby lowering the number of people in attendance. Keep in mind that as the guests are paying a lot to be there on your special day, don't expect gifts. The gift is their attendance.
- Have Your Event Off Season: Events tend to book up during the busy wedding season. Moving the date of your wedding so that it is outside the most common wedding months not only gives you more venue options but could save you some money.
- Have Your Event Midweek: Similar to hosting off season, having your wedding on a non traditional day can save you money. Most venues have availability during the week so you could get something for cheaper than on a busy weekend. As an added perk, your guest list will also shrink as many people work during this time and would require time off that they may or may not be able to get.
- Host a Morning or Afternoon Event: Having your wedding earlier in the day can reduce the overall cost. This is mostly due to the food. It is generally cheaper to have breakfast or lunch and drinking may not be as much as at an evening event.
- Get Crafty: Doing as much of the decorations yourself will not only add a personal touch but can save you money.
- Focus on What is Important: If you spend anytime at all on Pinterest you will see that there are millions of little extras that you could do at your wedding. If you are working within a tight budget, take a step back and make sure everything you are doing is what is important to you. If you don't care about something consider whether it is necessary or if you can choose a cheaper option. For example, if you hate to dance then perhaps you should host something in the afternoon and save money by not having a DJ and requiring less space at your venue (no dance floor).
- Borrow Items: Instead of purchasing something new, see if any of your friends or family have one you can borrow. This could be everything from a ring pillow (I used the one my mom had at her wedding), jewellery (I wore my aunt's bracelet), shoes (I wore ones I had in my closet), card box (from a friend), etc. On the plus side, many people will be thrilled to see items that are dear to them used throughout the wedding.
- Ask for Help: Along the same line as borrowing items make sure you ask for items or help. Weddings are all about bringing people together and people generally want to help. I was amazed when I got married how many things I was able to get done with a little help from someone else. I had help with my invitations, my caterer let me use the centre pieces they had at no charge (looked amazing) and so many more things from providing contact information to helping me find my wedding dress.
For those of you who have planned a wedding, I would love to hear your budget saving tips in the comments.
Make sure you check out our article 10 Ways to Stay on Schedule During Your Wedding