The big day has finally arrived! Your man found the courage to kneel down in front of you, a smile on his face, hope in his eyes, “Will you marry me?”
You were likely shaking from head to toe. Shocked, amazed, excited. You said “yes.”
He kissed you. You immediately told your friends, family, and posted the news of your engagement on social media.
Trust me, I know the feeling. All the excitement and emotions probably kept you up all night… Unfortunately, something else is going to do the same in the near future… It’s wedding related, but it’s not exactly a thrill to be thinking about… How much the wedding is going to cost…
You and your fiance aren’t rich, but you still want to have a nice wedding that is elegant but affordable.
Having an elegant wedding on a budget? Sound impossible?
However, it can feel that way once you begin inquiring about the costs of a live band, food, flowers and other wedding-related expenses.
Your head began spinning when you heard the initial cost of things didn’t it?
So what are you supposed to do?
A wedding planner sounds like a very good idea, but they are typically expensive also.
Well, guess what? I’ve planned several weddings for friends and clients with really tight budgets, so I definitely know the ends and outs of putting together an exquisite and memorable wedding on a budget.
Here are some of the most clever methods I’ve used to produce several dream weddings without breaking the bank.
Tip 1: Be your own wedding planner.
After all, the wedding is yours. And while a wedding planner might help you get better organized and pick arrangements, it can also put a dent in your wedding budget in no time.
The reality of the matter is that most wedding planners aren’t as cost effective as they advertise.
He or she might give you the impression that they have the ability to find everything at a great discount. When in reality most wedding planners simply suggest you opt for one catering, flower, or dress company or the other, just so they can get a nice commission from the company for referring you.
So make sure you’re the sole decider (well, together with your future husband, of course) of the things that are going to be present at your wedding.
Scour the internet for wedding photos, ideas, and tips. Look for pictures of dresses, flower arrangements, etc. (Just make sure you choose flowers that are not off-season. Those are really expensive.)
Pick your color schemes from photos that catch your eye.
Whatever you see and like, try to emulate it at an affordable price.
Which brings us to the second step you should take if you want to have a beautiful wedding on a tight budget.
Tip 2: Rework your budget.
You likely already created an initial budget, but you need to start over.
That’s the first action I always take when taking over wedding planning for a friend or client.
At this point, they are well aware that they can’t possibly afford a $30,000 wedding.
So it’s time to start rethinking things and seeking out cheaper alternatives.
I suggest you start with the basics and work your way up to the actual reception.
Every dollar counts, so think really hard about ways to save cash on certain items. (The food list is often where I find a lot of savings.)
Look for a cheaper flower store, if the one you picked is too expensive.
The goal is to shop around.
Whether we’re talking about flowers, wedding arrangements, dresses, or venues, there’s always more affordable options if you shop around.
Here are a few stores and resources to get you started:
Inexpensive wedding dresses:
Inexpensive wedding invitations:
Inexpensive bridesmaid dresses:
7 Inexpensive flowers for your wedding:
A resource for flower arrangement ideas and etiquette: TheKnot.com
Tip 3: Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Remember I said I helped several friends create their dream wedding’s on a budget?
Well, it all began with them kindly asking me for my thoughts and a little help.
Now, I’m not a professional wedding organizer, but I’m known in my friend’s group for always finding good deals, talking salespeople down on price, and knowing all the latest trends.
Sound like anyone you know?
Well, it’s time to put that crafty friend to good use and solicit their help in crafting your dream wedding.
Ask them if they know of any places that have good deals on wedding arrangements, dresses, etc.
Also, don’t neglect to get advice from your friends and family members that have already been down this path.
Ask them where they purchased items for their wedding from. How they saved money and things of that nature.
Remember, your wedding can still be exquisite without being expensive, and your experienced friends and family members knowledge and know-how can go a long way in helping you achieve that goal.
Plain and simple: In this situation their knowledge is indispensable, so don’t hesitate to ask for help!
Tip 4: Go discount hunting.
This has to become your number one priority: Getting everything at a discount.
Make sure you set a date that doesn’t relate to any particular and important event such as Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day and so forth.
People who are running important wedding-related businesses tend to get a little sleazy during these times, and they will most likely charge you extra for everything just because they know your wedding is falling on or close to a special holiday.
Also avoid peek wedding season which is spring and fall, peeking between the months of June and September.
Instead, if you want to get the best prices elect to have your wedding during industry down times. Which is during winter months like January, February, and March (with the exception of December which is a prime wedding month due to the holiday season.)
So when it comes to your wedding date, the goal is to think ahead of stores and service providers.
Choose a date that doesn’t hold a great significance to anyone, other than it’s going to become the date of your wedding anniversary from then on.
A special day for the rest of your lives that you can call all your own.
Another thing to consider is the actual day of your reception.
In my experience, having your reception on a weekday will get you a steep discount on a venue.
And whatever you do, always remember to ask the salespeople for a discount!
You will be shocked at how many willingly oblige when it’s not peek wedding season, and business is slow.
Tip 5: Look for cheaper alternatives.
I know I already said that… But wait… I’m taking it a step further.
When it comes to planning a wedding on a budget, I always bargain shop twice.
To do that is simple. Look over everything you planned on buying… Now over the next few days research if you can find something comparable at a better price.
This will help you drive down the cost of your wedding to the lowest range possible.
You can find equally beautiful natural flowers that resemble your orchids, you can pick a different suit for your fiancée that doesn’t necessarily come from a fashion icon’s store, you can even have one specially made for him at a good price so it can fit him perfectly. You can also do the same with your wedding dress, or at least the dresses for your bridesmaids if your dress isn’t something you are willing to negotiate.
What you will quickly find out is that pretty much anything that is remotely related to a wedding reception can be replaced with a less costly alternative
Tip 6: Lights, camera, action!
You don’t have to necessarily hire a professional cameraman to get the job done when it comes to wedding photos.
With the invention of the smartphone and apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, most people are well versed in taking quality photographs.
So it won’t be hard to find a friend or family member that freelances as a photographer to take your wedding photos at a huge discount.
However, if you do decide to elect for a professional photographer pick one who is a little less demanding in regards to pricing.
In the past, I have negotiated small discounts on photographers in exchange for food at the reception. I know, that sounds a bit extreme, but when it comes to creating a memorable wedding on a budget, I don’t play no games. ????????????
7. Harness the power of social media.
One thing the internet and social media has done is made us more connected to each other than ever.
Don’t neglect to use that to your advantage.
There are so many creative people and entrepreneurs on social media waiting to be of your service.
Announce on Facebook that you’re looking for someone to design your wedding invitations, and I guarantee you will get dozens of comments from people that are eager to design your invitations and people that know great designers and are offering recommendations.
Cakes, flowers, invitations, musicians, venues. Whatever you need for your wedding reception announce it on social media and see what type of offers you receive.
The great thing about the people you find through social media is that they typically come at very steep discounts as compared to the businesses you will find in your local community or at the top of a Google search.
Just make sure you thoroughly vet them and that you aren’t their first customer.
You need people that are skilled and know what they are doing if you want your wedding to run smoothly.
To sum it up, having an elegant wedding on a budget isn’t hard to do.
There are plenty of affordable alternatives for just about any item you need for your special day.
Make no mistakes about it, you can still have a truly beautiful reception even though you worked on a tight budget.
No one is going to be able to tell the difference if you follow the tips in this article.
Remember to have fun while planning your dream wedding and leave the stress at the door.
Planning a wedding calls for some good times, so don’t frown because you don’t have the budget for that outrageous ice sculpture lol.
Instead enjoy the most important thing you do have… A long life ahead of you with the person you love.