If there is one life event most likely to create credit card debt, it’s a wedding. Of course you want everything to be perfect and for everyone to have a great time – but it doesn’t have to be the most expensive day of your life. While the average couple spends an average of $34,000 on their wedding, you and your special someone can create bliss without diving into debt. Whether you’re already resolving personal debt or are just avoiding debt as a wedding present, we’re here to help. Stick with us as we describe how to do a cheap wedding.
One of the best things a couple can do is challenge themselves to host a cheap, amazing wedding. Find the corners you can cut so that your modest wedding budget is spent on the things that really make you (and your guests) happy throughout the day. Let’s dive into our favorite methods for hosting a fantastic and low-expense wedding:
Find a Deal on an Off-Beat Venue
The reception venue is usually the top expense for any wedding, taking up half or more of the total cost. But this is for large, high-demand, and traditional wedding venues with a pricey wedding package waiting for you. Savvy couples know that the best affordable venues are off the beaten track. Find a chateau in the mountains that has breathtaking views but is a little far-out for most other couples. Or find a rural church with a beautifully landscaped lawn. Choose a community center that happens to be gorgeous, or book the botanical gardens instead of an indoor venue.
By avoiding the usual hotels and wedding-themed venues, you can have a uniquely beautiful wedding without mainstream wedding prices.
Source Your Dress Cleverly
You could buy your wedding dress off the rack from a dress shop, or you could get creative. The traditional savings method is to buy a sample dress. You can also buy a beautiful dress once-used from the several dress-forwarding communities online. You might wear a family heirloom dress that you’ve had altered, or you might have a seamstress friend who wants to make you the perfect dress. You can even buy a gorgeous white dress and all the right accessories to invent a wedding dress for yourself.
Whatever you do, just don’t buy a full-priced wedding dress by taking the usual route. There are so many extremely discounted and still amazing options.
Replace Flowers in Your Decor
Live flowers are both delicate and expensive. If you are dying for flowers, buy a larger package for bulk discounts, and use greenery for low-cost filler. But our main advice is to avoid flowers entirely – maybe even in the bouquets. Where you would normally put flowers, find creatively low-cost decoration alternatives. Bunches of ribbon, or dried flowers instead, or beautiful arrangements of rocks inside glass bowls.
Why worry about flowers that must be shipped in refrigerated trucks and will wilt before the end of the reception when you could have more concrete and much more affordable decorations unique to your wedding?
Limit the Guest List – And Stream to the Rest
Since the recent illness concern, gatherings have gotten much smaller for in-person guests. This is great news for a couple planning a small wedding – your more distant relatives and friends will understand. But you don’t have to settle for a tiny wedding audience if you don’t want to. Take a page from couples with huge guest lists and savvy COVID planning: Stream your wedding live to everyone who can’t be there in person.
Set up cameras and maybe even a few flying drones to catch your entire event live. Record what is streamed for the memories, and let your extended nearest-and-dearest enjoy your happiest day together.
Get Married on a Winter Weekday
Weddings are a seasonal business, and the most in-demand dates, therefore, earn “rush pricing.” In other words, if you get married when other couples don’t normally get married, you can get discounts. most couples want summer and autumn – especially June, September, and October. January and February are the emptiest months, so also the best to book because venues (and other wedding vendors) consider them the off-season.
Likewise, most couples want to be married on the weekend, so choosing a mid-week day like Tuesday or Wednesday (no weekend in sight) will get you the best daily price. Be careful to avoid holidays, even holidays you don’t normally pay attention to, as venues & vendors may be busy and charge more.
Hire Students and Apprentices
From photography to hairdressing to catering – consider hiring amateurs instead of full-blown professionals. Apprentice hairdressers charge a fraction of the cost and are professionally trained. With a trial-run to make sure each of your hires has the necessary skills, you can save a bundle by hiring young people who need to make their names in the wedding industry. Find a new photographer or caterer, then let them put photos of your event into their professional portfolio to build their brand. The discounts will be well worth it.
Get Your Cake in a Package Deal (or from Family)
The cake is another major expense consideration. Fortunately, there are a ton of ways to get a discount. Many wedding packages do or can come with a cake, if you’re happy with the styles available from their in-house baker. If you like a package and it’s worth your budget, then save by getting an included cake.
Use filler tiers. If you want a traditional tiered wedding cake that doubles as a center-piece, get three matching smaller cakes. Then use filler tiers, column circles, layers of flowers, themed scenery, or even decorative foam to make your cake taller without actually adding more cake.
You can get a small wedding cake, then serve sheet cake for the rest of the evening. You can have your family make the cake and be delighted; however it turns out. You can order buttercream icing and a simple design to save on baker-time. You can diversify and not even have a traditional cake, favoring more affordable statement desserts. There are tons of ways to save on a delicious and beautiful wedding cake.
Simplify Your Catering Plans
Instead of a gourmet meal served in tiny portions on porcelain plates by white-gloved waiters – simplify your catering plans. Lay out a buffet or serve your meals family-style from platters. Maybe your families would prefer an outdoor barbecue run by the family pit-masters themselves. For smaller guest lists, you can even host a delicious family pot-luck or picnic.
If you want a restaurant-catered meal, look for local family-owned restaurants that are not often asked to cater weddings. The restaurant staff will likely be delighted, eager to work with you, and ready to offer good prices for the opportunity.
Travel can be a surprising expense for a multi-venue wedding. Getting everyone from the hotel to ceremony to reception and safely home can be a bundle in Uber costs, or a nightmare in family logistics. The simpler you make your location plans, the more you save (money or sanity) on transportation. Try looking for venues that can host the ceremony and reception, or just hold everything at home and let guests sleep off the reception on your living room couches.
Ask for More of What You Want – And Less of What You Don’t Want
Wedding packages are a great way to save, and to get a bunch of little luxuries you wouldn’t buy for yourself. However, not all wedding packages are exactly perfect – for you. You might not want the salsa taster station, but want a cookie bar instead. You might prefer to bring your own caterers or stock your own bar – but want more venue-provided party favor bags.
Don’t be shy about negotiating, for both removing unwanted features and adding things you want. Many venues are open to discussion, especially if you are expressing your love for almost-all of their package. Some won’t lower the price, but they’ll throw in extras if you ask. Some will make exceptions – like longer reception hours – if no one books after you. So be ready to speak up and get treated.
How to Save for a Wedding: Plan Ahead and Budget
You may feel tempted to “put it on the card and pay it later.” Or you may have already done so and need debt relief. If that’s the case, learn about your options to minimize the financial damage. Call 855-998-1157 to spe