Fabulous wedding on a budget: Tips and tricks to watch out for

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Ask Sanders Patricia

Everyone wants to plan their wedding ceremony without sacrificing any of these stuff like food, fun, guests, decoration, and dress. Many people believe in leading a frugal life even when planning for the best event of their life, that is, marriage. It’s always a wise decision to plan a wedding that you can afford.

My best friend Julia’s wedding reception was held in Missouri, in March 2015. I was invited and experienced a low-cost reception party that was fully organized and full of fun. Later, I asked Julia how she planned everything in such an organized way. She told me that she had saved big on the wedding as well. I was shocked and ask how did she manage to do so? She explained in brief.

They decided (Julia and her fiance) earlier to plan a low-cost wedding as they’ve to sort out their student loan by next year. Both of them were determined about not wasting money on their wedding. Julia said, there is nothing wrong to rent a designer wedding dress and limit the guest list. She has saved a lot of money! What matters the most is happiness. There are many ways to save money on a wedding ceremony. Only you have to plan in a proper way. She shared some more tricks that helped her to save money for her wedding.

18 Tips to arrange a wedding on a budget

Creativity and imagination can make your wedding look far more gorgeous, than by just spending on traditional wedding. If your wedding is out of control monetarily, you won't be able to remember your marriage as a happy affair. You may have mixed emotions about the memories about the day which is supposed to be the best day of your life.

Here are a few tips to arrange a wedding reception without spending your fortune.

1. Make a list of all expenses and finalize a budget

Sit with your spouse and decide how much money you and your fiance can afford for arranging a wedding reception. After that, make a list of all the expenses, including hidden costs like additional tables, staff tips, and extra decorations, etc. After making the list, calculate the total cost. If you find the total cost exceeding your budget, then you need to cut down the lower priority wish from your list.

2. Find a low-cost venue

Hotels, florists, and caterers tend to increase the cost of providing the service when they come to know that you’re seeking the service for a wedding ceremony. So, you shouldn’t reveal your excitement while talking with the vendors. Tell them that you’re planning for an event. Thus, you’ll be able to get a low-cost venue. Before finalizing, shop around to find a venue that suits your budget.

You can also throw the party at your friend's house if you don't have enough space at your home. Any of your friends or family members might be having a lavish backyard where you can throw an open-air party if the weather permits you to do so.

3. Keep the flower arrangement simple

After selecting the venue, next you need to think is about the decoration, and no wedding is complete without flower decoration. However, you don't have to have an elaborative flower arrangement. You can always have your own color scheme instead of hiring services of an experienced florist. You can also opt for seasonal flowers which will be comparatively cheaper instead of ordering flowers which don't bloom at that season.Don’t go for costly flowers like peonies; buy roses to reduce the cost or stick to one or two type of flowers. Buy seasonal flowers from the wholesale market at comparatively cheaper rates.

Read more: Newlyweds: Money mistakes can loosen your knot

4. Limit your guest list

Inviting close family members and friends can save a big amount of money. There's no point to call people you hardly interact or with whom you won’t be able to share the fun. Limit the guest list to those with whom you can spend some quality time.

5. Make invitations on your own

You can make your own invitations by following a usual format. To do so, you can simply browse that in the internet. You can save on postage by giving out the invitations personally instead of posting them.

6. Consider DIY whenever possible

When your guest list is short, you can easily give the personalized touch to the invitation card. This way you can save money as well. Go online to make customized cards and print them. If you are a creative person, then you can make the invitation cards on your own. Using glitters and ribbons make the cards more gorgeous at a lower price.

7. Don’t overspend on wedding dress

Try not to buy an expensive wedding dress. If you want to wear a traditional wedding dress, then redo your mom’s wedding dress. Renting a wedding dress is also a good way to reduce cost. A lot of websites sell beautiful once-worn wedding dresses. You can choose a suitable dress and wear it on your special day. You can easily get a dress that fits you well. Also, you can get a traditional wedding gown from a department store. Keep eyes on the time when discounts are available on wedding attire. Thus, you’ll be able to save more money on your wedding attire.

If you want to buy one, you can also think of reselling it after your wedding. This way, you can get back a good amount.

8. Give inexpensive, but creative favors

Inviting limited guests has another benefit. You can be creative with the wedding favors and mementos. Send them homemade cookies, brownies in jars beautifully decorated with ribbons. Or, create a cool wedding CD of romantic songs and attached a note that explains how they mean to you. I received a CD full of nice songs from Julia that really touched my heart

If you don’t like to receive gifts from your family and friends, then ask them to contribute a bit instead of giving any gifts. For instance, ask your friend to get decorating items or to get candles, bouquet, etc.

9. Allow a friend to take the photographs

A professional photographer and videographer charge huge amount of money for capturing the wedding moments in his camera. Instead of hiring a pro, you can ask one of your friends who’s popular among all for clicking. Thus, you’ll be able to catch the special moments at relatively less or free of cost.

10. Don’t splurge on food and drink

Find out whether or not a buffet is cheaper than a seated dinner. If your wedding budget is limited, then serve only beer and wine instead of a full bar. A full traditional wedding dinner is way too expensive. You must avoid it by opting a daytime affair or a cocktail party. You can also plan for a buffet with pasta, chicken or seasonal food and avoid beef. This will also help you save the extra waiter expense. You are likely to hear some guests complain but ultimately it’s your wedding and you are saving an enormous sum.

11. Find a local music band

The best way to arrange music is to find a local band or a local DJ. You can easily find one by asking your friends and family members. In this way, you can also avoid disappointment by looking for an established person and getting to know that the group is already booked for the event.

12. Find a bakery of your choice

Wedding cakes are usually costly. They usually cost about $500 on an average. Therefore, you can find out a local bakery that can provide a display cake of a smaller size and provide extra sheet cakes if the primary cake is not enough for all of your guests.

13. Have signature drinks

You can do cost cutting in alcohol by serving just two or three types of wine and beer only. You can buy it in bulk which will obviously be cheaper and can serve that, or you can also serve a signature cocktail and champagne punch. You can hire a mixologist who is experienced in mixing up signature drinks on this special day of yours. You can keep some juices and the mixologist can mix them up to make different type of drinks. It is a good alternative over having a cash bar and by doing so, you’ll save a good amount of money. It’s advisable to avoid an open bar at all. Keep plenty of non alcoholic beverages also.

14. Choose your playlist beforehand

You must be owning a music player and speakers. You can just make a cd with songs that you want to play in your wedding. You can also save songs suiting to different portions of your wedding like pre ceremony, ceremony, cocktail hour, special dances, dancing, etc. Just hand over the control to someone, either your friend or a sibling. This is surely going to save you charges of appointing a DJ.

15. Use social media

Nowadays, using social media is a good option to arrange a wedding. You must be having a social media profile and a good number of friends. What you need to do is post requests to borrow certain supplies, such as, glasses, serving trays, etc. Any of your friends must be having a decorative serving tray, which he/she hasn’t used for long. Your friend might lend you this tray and you’ll save the money of buying one.

16. Fix an off-season date

Try to fix a date when there’s less competition for dates. If you fix a date just before the peak season started, you can get cheaper prices on almost everything. Also, arrange a daytime reception party. Because, a lunch or brunch is cheaper than dinner.

You should avoid getting married on traditional and expensive Saturday, and choose Friday or Sunday instead. You can actually plan your honeymoon with the amount normally spent at reception parties.

17. Wedding deals for particular dates

There are few online services like Bride Rush, which offers discount on specific wedding dates. Theses sites answers all your search and enquiry related questions and plan your wedding with a possible discount of 30 percent to 70 percent. These are the best options if you want to save time and money simultaneously.

18. Extras

There are a lot of things that can be done just before your wedding which you might think is a compulsion. Question yourself if an aromatherapy massage, spa or expensive bachelors party are more important than couple counseling or kind of financial planning. You can invest for future endeavors with that money.

There are a lot of people who will crib, complain and gossip about your wedding if you wish to save your money and think out of the box, but, they might just do the same thing if you do everything traditionally. People around can take out faults in anything and everything. Therefore, it’s important to do what you think is correct. You get married spending all you have or by budgeting it out, your spouse and your affection will not change. You might have a safe and secure financial future though, if you plan your wedding carefully.

What the bride confessed to me

During our conversation, her smile said it all that, how much she is happy with the wedding. We had a gala time, and she told me some lines that are really important for those who are planning their wedding.

Some lines that she told me:

“I’ve bought all the necessary items like ribbons, candies, and flowers to bells in bulk that really saved a lot of money.”

"I ditched the three-tier cake and ordered a simple cake. I think there’s no reason to waste money on a huge cake for only photo shoot.”

“The musicians are the students of one of my close friends and sounded pretty better than the professional band and it helped me to save a lot!”

“I and my fiance decided to arrange the reception and the wedding ceremony at the same location. There’s no point in spending money on transport to arrange separately the indoor and outdoor events.”

“I and Andrew (the groom) are really happy with our wedding and looking forward to a great anniversary as well! Thanks for coming Patricia!” We hugged each other and bid good bye!

Final thoughts

Attending Julia’s wedding reception, made me feel that planning a wedding on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice with the enjoyment. You need to make prior arrangements with the help of a wedding coordinator. Remember, a wedding coordinator is not a professional wedding planner. Wedding planner charges more than a wedding coordinator as the planner takes care of everything.

Don’t miss out: 7 Tips for the newlyweds to deal with the Tax Man and finances smartly

Unexpected wedding costs that can blow your budget

hidden expenses of wedding

Keeping the budget under your control is one of the toughest parts of marriage planning. You know why? It’s only because of those several hidden costs. To get a proper idea, let’s uncover those special aspects that people often forget to consider while distributing their finances at the time of marriage planning.

1. Your pre-wedding parties

Pre-wedding bachelorette parties are now becoming trends among the different group of society, especially for young generation. Group parties or weekend trip to Vegas or an “only girls” beach party at Miami, these are very common today. Normally the total expense of the party is supposed to carry out by the maid of honor, along with the bridesmaids. But, sometimes several brides also end up carrying their total costs of transportation and living in a hotel. So, being the yet-to-be bride, you must try to pick a place for the party close to your home and avoid costly places. You need to understand one thing, it’s not the place that makes you happy, it’s the company with whom you’ll enjoy this pre-wedding party. You’ll enjoy with your friends, not with the costly hotel or the lonely seashore. You can pick a luxury hotel or a big house near your home and celebrate the bachelorette party there. Keep the fun going all night, with less stress on your wallet.

2. Beauty treatments

You must set aside a good amount of money for hiring the hair stylist and wedding day makeup guy. But you also need to keep in mind that you might require several trial for each guy to check their work and select the person you are comfortable with. So, per trial they will charge you additional money...and that you need to consider also.

Read more: 4 Premarital financial moves everyone should make in this world

3. Marriage license

Don't forget to register your marriage. Your marriage license will cost you not more than $100, based on your current location. In most states, you’ll need to pay up a small fee for getting your marriage license. If you’ve planned for a destination wedding, then you must remember few things. You may need to visit that place prior to your wedding and may be a second time also to register the marriage to the locale courte to get your marriage license. This means you might have to bear extra travel costs - hotel expenses, food, transportation and possibly cost of air tickets too.

4. Wedding day meals

No matter where you are getting ready for the big day, you’ll require help from your bridesmaids in every moment of the way. So, you also need to take care of them, don’t forget to make arrangements for their breakfast, lunch, and idle-time snacks. Don’t be choosy, order fruits for breakfast and sandwich for lunch. You can also order apple juice or lemon juice for drinking purpose. There’s no need to prepare costly food items or drinks for them.

5. Items you forgot

The wedding day is a big day for the couple and also for their relatives. There're so many things to do and remember, people can easily forget some important thing and they might need to arrange that in last-minute. So, it is recommended that first you must pack your things by preparing a checklist. Make a copy of that checklist and give it to one of your trusted friend or relative, who can take care of the matter if you forget anything in case.

6. Pre-wedding party dresses

You might also forget about this fashion item, a perfect attire for the pre-wedding programs. These programs may include the engagement party, the bridal shower, special dinner for guests and, of course, the bachelorette party. You can save a lot of extra money by just wearing your “already owned” old dresses. You’ll have a special dress for the marriage, so you don’t require another heavy gown for all those parties just to show off that you’re the bride. The same implies to the Groom also, try to avoid heavy jackets or suits, be cool but don’t give stress to your wallet. There are still many expenses coming your way.

Read more: Things you need to know about wedding insurance to secure your big day

7. Transportation for guests

It’s not mandatory that you’re bear all the transportation cost for the general guests, whenever they come to your wedding. But sometimes you might have to arrange cabs for your guests as they might be too tired and exhausted to find transportation. So, if you want to lower this cost, recruit a friend or family member to render the required transportation.

8. Unexpected guests

You’ll become totally confused if suddenly an extra guest arrives. It’s possible that one of your relatives, friends, or guests showed up from the bride’s side. So, if you ask the hotel or resort managers to arrange few new rooms for those unexpected visitors, they might say “No” or “I am sorry”. This would be very upsetting and rude but any how you have to manage the spaces. So, no matter what happens, plan your bookings accordingly with a couple of extra dinners and room settings.

9. Meals for your vendors

On the wedding day, your vendors will remain at your service throughout the day. So, you might also have to take care of their food and drinks. Normally you can arrange food for vendors at a very cheap price. But you might also have to calculate the number of your vendors - the number of videographers/photographers, food supplier guy, service boys etc.

10. Post-wedding things

Wait!! The wedding costs haven’t completed yet. You may need to pay off different expenses like - return gifts to guests, thank-you cards, gown maintenance, wedding picture printing, etc. You may need to add a few hundred bucks in your budget for paying off those extra charges.

Don’t miss: How can you look glamorous with the right makeup and budget?

How to plan a beach wedding on a budget

Many couples these days find themselves in a panic when planning for their wedding. They are usually worried about not having enough time as well as money. Beach wedding is a good option to reduce expenses and the headache typically associated with the preparation of a conventional wedding. Not only is a beach wedding simpler to plan, but it is also more cost-effective and provides more fun for you, your spouse and your guests. So, if you are considering planning beach wedding, listed below are some tips on how to plan for it.

• Choose a perfect beach- Keep in mind that beaches are typically windy, so when on the search for a venue, make sure that you choose one where there is a cove or a certain area where it is protected from winds.

• Finalize your guest list- There are some beaches who allow small weddings without acquiring certain permits. However, regardless of the number of your guests, make sure that you check with the administration of the beach for certain requirements that may be needed from you.

• Find a local officiate that will conduct your wedding- It would be better if you find a local officiate that will conduct your wedding, since some of them may specialize in beach weddings and can offer you tips as well as cost-effective package deals. If you are looking for a way to have a beach wedding on a budget, then you can surely benefit from having a local officiate.

• Consider a sunset ceremony- If you are looking for a way to reduce your wedding expenses, consider a sunset ceremony, so you could simply serve wine, champagne and finger foods right after.

• Secure your venue with a canopy- Since you are going to hold your wedding outdoors, it is important to protect it from rain, to prevent anything from ruining your big day. Decorate your canopy with flowers and twines to avoid it from looking plain and boring.

• Always keep in mind the comfort of your guests- Provide comfortable seating for your guests especially the elders. If you are expecting some guests who have mobility impairments and who may find it difficult to walk in sand, make sure that you secure a platform for them.

• Prepare giveaways- Include in your wedding preparations the giveaways for your guests. These are important as they will serve as thank you gifts for your guests. You can decide to make giveaways that are in theme with your beach wedding. Make use of sea shells, sand and leis.

• Prepare your outfits- A huge part of the wedding budget goes to wedding outfits including wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses, the groom’s and the groomsmen tuxedos. But if you decide on a wedding budget, you can reduce your clothing expenses. The bride can simply choose a light dress to wear as well as the bridesmaids while the groom may wear a thin but formal polo shirt. Sometimes everyone does not wear shoes either.

The good thing about having a beach wedding is that it provides a light atmosphere for everyone. Everyone can simply go in semi-formal attires and the ceremony is kept light and fun. Keep in mind though, that while beach weddings are a good way to minimize the time spent on preparations and reduce expenses, it is also important that you invest some time in planning one. Not all beaches are available, so if there is a certain venue that you wish to hold your wedding at, you needs to book in advance. In addition, monitor your three credit reports when planning your wedding. This will allow you to plan and decide on the venue, giveaways and clothing accordingly to your budget.

Last Updated on: Mon, 1 Feb 2016

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