Everyone knows that weddings are expensive — the average cost of an American wedding has risen more than 16 percent in just four years — and some couples are even taking out loans to cover their nuptial celebrations. Despite the trend in casual affairs, the sheer number of wedding expenses virtually guarantees a dent in any savings account. The problem is the lavish appearance of the event is often what makes it feel so special, and few married couples-to-be know how to scrimp without making their wedding feel cheap and stale — or without devoting months to creating DIY decorations.
Here are 7 tried-and-true tips to plan a top-tier wedding under budget.
Choose Nontraditional Jewelry
There are quite a few reasons diamonds shouldn’t be a girl’s best friend:
- The diamond trade is riddled with unscrupulous characters, from the slave drivers in diamond mines to untrustworthy jewelers.
- Only trained appraisers can tell the difference between a high-quality, valuable diamond and junk; you will never know what quality you are actually getting.
- Diamonds do not appreciate in value; a pre-owned diamond is worth at least 40 percent less than its retail price, but most jewelers won’t even touch a used stone.
- Diamond wedding rings are a modern marketing ploy by the diamond syndicate, not an ancient tradition that ties cultures together.
- Spending thousands of dollars on a tiny rock is a waste of money, considering the number of real expenses you will have share as a married couple in the coming years: house, cars, kids, etc.
You can save money (and lives) by choosing engagement and wedding rings without these unnecessarily expensive rocks. Instead, you can enjoy colorful gemstones or even simple, unadorned bands.
Choose an Event Space Company
Hunting down viable venues takes an exhausting amount of time; from researching to visiting to comparing, it could be months’ worth of work. Instead, you should find an event space company in your area that owns multiple wedding venues, which transforms the process into a one-stop-shop. For example, this event company in Los Angeles offers seven beautiful ballrooms as well as a number of time- and expense-saving amenities, like catering, decorations, and more.
Choose Simple Invitations
There are few occasions anymore that call for mailed invitations, and it seems those that do tend to go absurdly overboard. Standard wedding invitations are exceedingly elaborate, with expensive papers, inks, and designs — not to mention that most couples send out save-the-dates as well as formal invites. Couples who opt out of fancy invitations can save about $700.
Choose a Cheaper Dress
It is painfully difficult to advise brides to forego the beautiful, white wedding gown to cut costs. The wedding dress is perhaps the most exciting feature for the bride, who will likely never again be allowed to spend thousands of dollars on a single garment. Still, there are ways to save on your wedding dress:
- Buy used. Some brides try to resell their gowns after their big days; usually, secondhand gowns are mere fractions of the new price.
- Buy off-the-rack. When you buy a new, you usually receive a dress custom-built to your measurements; an off-the-rack dress is one the store has used for samples, making it gently used and thus cheaper.
- Buy simple. Every embellishment adds to the cost; opting for a minimal silhouette and style will save money.
Choose Local Flowers
Flowers add freshness, brightness, and beauty to your wedding day — but they also add monumental expense. What with the bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres, centerpieces, and more, most couples budget more than $2,000 just for flower arrangement. However, most of the cost of flowers comes from shipping in exotic blooms, so if you ask your florist to stick to local, seasonal blossoms, you should be able to save a nice chunk of change.
Choose Close Friends and Family
It is surprisingly easy to get carried away when you are planning your guest list. Once you invite one member of the family, it seems like the whole clan has to come. However, every name you write down will cost you extra — additional meals, slices of cake, seats, space, and more. An intimate affair with just close friends and family will be cheaper and potentially classier.
The biggest budget-buster of them all is the unexpected expense. There are all sorts of forgettable costs necessary to complete a wedding ceremony and reception: the pre-wedding beauty treatments, the wedding party gifts, the transportation, etc. While you are planning your budget, you should consider every single aspect of your wedding, from now until your honeymoon. Sneaky payments are usually expensive ones, but you can stay on time and on budget by planning ahead.