It is the wise couple that, upon setting the date, makes Step One of their wedding plans the drafting of a budget for that special day. As many a bride and groom can testify, however, sticking to that budget is a whole other ball game. With catering menus, florist designs, wedding favors, bridal-party gifts, photographer packages, and all those little unexpected extras, you can find that within days you have miraculously exceeded your budgeted costs.
Here are some tips on how to stay within the budget — and keeping more cash in your wallet for your honeymoon!
1. Help from friends and family members
Some among us have friends and family members who are certifiably talented in such areas as baking, catering, photography, videography, flower arranging… all those special skills that make weddings great. If you happen to be one of those lucky individuals, you may find that cousin Ginny would be happy to make your cake as her gift to the happy couple, or that old buddy Frank and his band would be happy to play your reception at a discount.
Tread carefully here, however. Familiarity, as we know, can breed contempt. Though one may be a friend or relative, he or she still deserves to be treated with respect and a written contract — all the same protocols you would observe with any professional enlisted to be a part of your wedding team. Communicate clearly your expectations, and make sure your cousin, friend or mom know how much you appreciate their contributions.
Photo : smp
2. Choose an Affordable Reception Venue
Perhaps you always dreamed of a lavish wedding at the Plaza in Big city like London, Paris or New York. But perhaps you and your beloved also plan to have a few dollars after the big day to go toward, say, a down payment on a house. Reprogram your expectations toward the intimacy that can come from a less formal, perhaps even smaller celebration, and consider the potential reception venues that might better accommodate that pesky budget of yours.
You may have access, for example, to a home – perhaps your parents’ home or the home of a dear friend – that can serve as the setting of your reception, which can significantly reduce the “Venue” line item on your budget spreadsheet. The same holds true if you live where the weather is reliable, and you can safely plan an outdoor reception at a local park or beach area. Though the cost may be less, you are still wise to budget for tenting in case the weather decides not to cooperate. Do some research, and you may also find a local restaurant that caters to weddings, supplying the room as well as food, and perhaps even cake, DJ and other services, for a single per-person charge.
3. Save on Your Wedding Favors
Be creative with your wedding favors, and you can find some pretty clever ways to cut their cost. Consider, for example, choosing picture frame favors (available in countless styles and colors) that do dual-duty as both placecard and wedding souvenir. Or choose inexpensive items, such as candles, chocolates, wine stoppers or keychains, and package them yourself in colorful wedding favor boxes that fit the theme of your wedding. Indeed thanking your guests with tokens of your appreciation for sharing your special day need not break the bank.
4. Spend Your Money Where It Counts
Is that gooey Godiva chocolate filling in your wedding cake really worth the extra cost? Is it necessary to provide your guests with an open bar with free-flowing alcohol, or would no-host libations be more appropriate? Can your bouquet be just as lovely without those rare imported orchids? You may be surprised at how much you can shave from the budget if you ask and answer such questions honestly.
Spend your money on what counts, and evaluate what deserves more investment for your future memories. Your wedding photos, for example, are probably more deserving of your limited funds than that extravagant cake filling, and neither you or your guests will notice that you have made such logical choices. This can even extend to the wedding dress. A bride certainly can’t be blamed for choosing to rent a wedding dress, thus freeing up funds for perhaps one more honeymoon night or two in Hawaii.
5. Narrow down the Guest List
And finally, be honest about the guest list. When you increase your number of guests, you automatically increase your costs for food, wedding favors, place settings and more. So perhaps you can sacrifice from the guest list your fiance’s kindergarten teacher or your second cousin who you haven’t seen since the last millennium in favor of inviting only your closest friends and family.
With honest evaluation and creativity, staying within your wedding budget need not be an impossible dream. Concentrate on what will endure into the future, and you and your guests can enjoy a special day with fond memories that will endure years after the big day is done.