Does the thought of a “budget” wedding make you think of ugly dresses, bubbles, and food from a truck stop? Most of us want the dream wedding from the pages of a bridal magazine. What if I told you that it’s possible to have a dream wedding without spending all of your money?
Currently, it cost between $26,000 and 33,000 for the average wedding, and that doesn’t include the honeymoon. You could pay cash for a new car or make a nice down payment on a house for that kind of money.
You can spend less than $3,000 and have a wedding that looks like you spent $30,000.
Your wedding is about your love, not the ceremony. Don’t give in to the pressure to create a huge event. Here are some ways to make it the best day of your life without going into debt.
Step one is to set a budget and stick to it. Make a list of all your expenses and stay within your means. Starting out with a big monthly payment won’t help your marriage.
The average cost of a wedding dress is $1500, and that doesn’t include accessories. You could get a fabulous gown at a consignment shop for a fraction of the price.
Many retailers such as J Crew carry attire for the entire wedding party. A dress off the rack will be less than a made to order one. Try ordering one online and have it altered. I found a fabulous white dress on Amazon for $30 that was perfect for my beach wedding. To save even more money while shopping online, shop through Ebates.
Buying a bridesmaid dress in white or ivory is another way to save. You can use accessories to add elegance, and they cost much less than a wedding dress.
Try renting a gown or other formalwear through the website Rent The Runway.
This one is the biggest expense for most couples. The average cost is $16,000. Talk to friends and family and see if you can find a fantastic location for free. Look for any of these places to use as a venue.
- Backyard Pool
- State Park
- Church with a fellowship hall
Pictures is another place where you can spend a lot of money. However, with the amazing cameras on cell phones, you have more options than ever before.
Many websites and apps can help you maximize your photography budget. Eversnap is an app that will collect all your guests’ photos and videos in one online album. Guests can snap all the pictures they want and then upload them to a site customized for you. Wedding Mix is a site that lets your guests upload video from your special day. You can piece together the video, or have a professional do it.
Then, you’ll only need to hire a professional photographer for a few hours to take some of the more traditional photos. Ask around and see if you can find a friend or family member with a good camera that might do it as a wedding gift.
The average cost for food at a wedding reception is $4,200 for a wedding of 140 at $30 per plate. A fancier event could cost you up to $100 per plate.
At my reception, I asked family and close friends to bring a covered dish instead of gifts. I served meatballs that I prepared ahead of time and froze them until the big day. My cost for food was a few hundred dollars.
Many brides are breaking tradition and hiring food trucks. A wood-burning pizza truck would not only be hip, but it would please even the pickiest eater. The cost would be much less than a traditional caterer.
Pay a friend to be the DJ. Create a playlist for each part of the wedding on an iPod. As long as the music is playing, your guests will be happy.
The Dollar Tree and the 99-cent store have some of the best wedding decorations around.
For around $50 you can decorate every table with candles or vases. Use the flowers from the bridesmaid’s bouquets to drop in vases on the tables at the reception.
Instead of a pricey floral arrangement opt for one kind of flower.
Mixed bouquets take longer to make and therefore cost more.
The average engagement ring costs around $6000. Yes, they’re shiny and beautiful, but is it worth it? A big part of that price tag is for the overhead at the jewelry store. Be creative; there are many ways to get a ring for a decent price.
Take some of your old gold jewelry to a reputable pawn shop and trade it in for an affordable ring. You’ll be able to afford a much bigger ring than what you could get at the jewelry store.
Buy a vintage or antique ring. You can look for them at estate sales, consignment stores, eBay and Etsy.
Look for a used ring. Search Facebook for online auction sites, online classifieds, and indoor yard sale groups.
There are many diamond alternatives at a fraction of the cost. Some to consider are moissanite, white sapphire or cubic zirconia.
Metal only rings, without a gemstone, are becoming more popular. If this appeals to you consider a knotted metal band, a Claddagh ring, a personalized band, or an artistic style band.
It is possible to have a stylish yet affordable wedding that will impress your guests. There is no trophy for the most expensive wedding, just an empty bank account.
Hopefully, these strategies can save you money and give you your dream wedding.