According to wedding website TheKnot.com, the average American wedding can come with a price tag of around $28,000.
While that’s an acceptable amount of money to spend on, say, a brand new car or a down payment on a home, some couples may decide that building a life together is more important than throwing an extravagant party.
Engaged on Christmas 2013, I am part of one such couple. However, I also didn’t buy into my fiancé’s plan: “Let’s just go to Vegas.”
Everyone has heard the tips about buying a second-hand dress or getting married on a Friday to cut costs. But when you’re talking thousands of dollars, every savings counts. So after you’ve set a date and a (realistic) budget, consider these unique ways to save on wedding costs.
Decide what’s really important
Picture your dream wedding. Write down the top five things that would make the day perfect, such as a unique menu, a gasp-worthy dress, or a specific venue. These are the items that you should settle first then work the other details around those big expenses. Using a line-item budget planner can help. Real Simple has a great downloadable worksheet.
The Internet is your best friend
I had my sights set on a particular type of shoes. But rather than snatch up the first pair I saw that fit my vision, I scoured Amazon, Heels.com, eBay, and Tradesy. Being hasty and saving money are not compatible activities. Check out a ton of wedding websites for invitations, accessories, decorations, and party favors. Many of them have email signups that can score you great coupons.
Haggle with vendors
For individual items, the cost is often set. But for services, a little hard work and some people skills can pay off. We want to serve craft sodas at our wedding. An email to the company owner promising promotion of his product enabled us to get wholesale prices. A close friend who is a photographer agreed to give us his services as a wedding present. Our venue is free because we went with a place looking to break into the market. How will they promote their space to other brides and grooms? With our wedding photos, of course.
This is your wedding. You don’t have to send out save-the-dates, buy a floor-length gown, or serve a four-tiered cake with an intricate fondant design.
If you’re worried about breaking rules or offending guests, check out the Q&A or submit your question to the forum on The Knot.
Cut corners when you can
Remember that budget you set? It’s likely you will reach a point where you could go over it. Here’s where that list of your Very Important Details comes in handy. Everything not on that list should be negotiable. Scrutinize all your non-essential expenses and you may find that your dream wedding can happen without them.
Stick to your budget, and remember: It’s better to save that money for the rest of your lives together.