1. Avoid Obligatory Invites
How lovely it would be if you could simply invite everyone you know to your wedding, keep in mind though that each person will incur additional costs to your wedding budget. Try to invite close family and friends, remember that your strange neighbour down the road won’t be offended if they don’t make the cut.
A lot of couples find that they begin with a ridiculously long guest list when first planning their wedding, try to avoid inviting people that you don’t know well simply because you feel obligated.
To cut costs where you can, try inviting fewer people and making the event more intimate. Start by minimizing your list down by 20%, then another 20%. Then see if you’re happy with it.
2. Make your own invitations.
It is possible to make very classy invitations on your own. There are websites such as Vistaprint that offer cheap wedding invitations you can order from the comfort of your home. You could also design your own invitations on an app such as Canva using their supplied templates and incorporating your own photos and text. Once you’ve got your desired design just send it through to your local office supplies store for printing, and to cut even more costs you could even buy a tape of magnetic tape to stick on the back of the invitations to allow guests to display their invite on the fridge.
3. Ask for wedding help instead of gifts.
If you have a friend who excels at public speaking, why not ask them to MC your wedding, or a cousin that’s got an eye for photography could be your photographer for your special day. Many people are skilled in areas that could be beneficial to your big day, all you need to do is ask. Weddings that include close family or friends serenading the newlyweds with a song is a beautiful touch. Asking family and friends to offer help or services in lieu of a gift is a great way to keep your wedding on a budget.
4. Skip the groomsmen and bridesmaid gifts.
While it’s traditional to give gifts to your groomsmen and bridesmaids in some circles, it isn’t always necessary. Instead of buying gifts they may not even want or need, consider writing them a special note to say “thanks” instead. If your friends know that you’re trying to have a budget wedding, they will understand.
5. Hold the ceremony at home, or outdoors.
Holding your wedding ceremony and/or reception outdoors may require a back-up plan in case of unpredictable weather. Aside from that having your wedding in your own home (or the home of a friend) or even a public park with a beautiful view is a very practical solution to avoid paying exorbitant amounts of money towards a function hall.
In each case, you can also have your reception outdoors, creating a picturesque, memorable ceremony while eliminating the cost of renting a venue.
6. Go minimal with the flowers.
Instead of spending crazy amounts of money on flowers that will die shortly after the reception, keep it simple but elegant — for instance, a single flower for each bridesmaid and a very small bouquet for the bride. If you know someone with green thumb, you could ask them to use some of their flowers and make your own bouquets the day before the ceremony. Another cheap wedding idea – go with fake flowers instead. No one will even notice, and you could save a heap of money by making the arrangements yourself well ahead of time.
7. Do NOT mention the ‘w-word’ when looking for vendors.
Eventually you’ll need to come clean and explain that it’s for your wedding, especially before signing a contract. But try to get a ballpark estimate for the services you need before revealing that it’s actually for your big day, you’ll find that you have better negotiating power when they suddenly try to apply a hefty wedding mark-up for the exact same service.
Many venues, caterers, florists, photographers, and musicians mark up their services by quite a bit for weddings. The same caterer that charged $1,000 for a baby shower might charge $5,000 for a wedding. This is partly because of the added pressure and preparation that a wedding involves, but it’s also partly just because they can.
When shopping around, try and get straightforward quotes for the services you need — without mentioning the wedding part at first. (It could be a corporate event or family reunion).
8. Do the catering yourself, or ask for help.
Handling your own catering without using a professional caterer can drastically reduce the food costs for a wedding reception. If this isn’t your area of expertise, ask some family members to help out by making some quiches, sandwiches, bakes, slices, anything to contribute to the food situation. Alternatively, you could look around your community for a family-owned restaurant and ask the owners directly to cater your wedding. Family-owned restaurants are always worth a look as they will almost always go the extra mile to make your wedding special and are generally more understanding of your particular budget needs.
9. Stock the bar yourself.
Alcohol can be a huge expense when it comes to weddings, and it’s also a big opportunity for you to cut costs. Instead of choosing to do a full open bar, for instance, you can save money offering just beer and wine, or a free cocktail hour followed by a cash bar.
If you do rent a function hall, ask if they’ll let you supply your own alcohol instead of using the venue’s, which can be a big money-saver. Look for a discount liquor store in your area, and stock up on the basics: red and white wine and a few types of beer at the very least. If you want to offer a full bar, pick up the standard liquors like vodka, gin, rum, and whiskey, plus a few mixers and soft drinks like sodas and juice.
10. Plan Ahead.
When you’re trying to have a wedding on a budget, it’s important to plan ahead. List everything you can think of and walk through these items step by step.
The earlier you get started – and the more things you think about early on – the less “last-minute stress” you’ll have, and the more time you’ll have to find sales and discounts and research other good ideas.