Ladies (& gents), I know many of you can relate to the wedding planning season in life and all that comes with it. And if you don’t, believe me when I say, it’s a once in a lifetime experience (or that’s the hope, at least). I’m four months into wedding planning and I have already experienced all of the following: excitement, frustration, stress, eagerness, impatience, indecisiveness, confusion, and many more. Just ask Blake ;) However, the most important thing to remember is that this is your wedding and probably the only one you will ever plan. Make the most of it! Enjoy all the color swatches, cake tastings, dinner menu options, varieties of save-the-dates, and endless online research. It’s a fun process, if you let it be! And after all, don’t forget why you’re living and breathing everything “wedding” for months: to marry your best friend. At least I know I am.
I am so blessed to be surrounded by such amazing friends and family to help me through this process, all bringing unique opinions and perspectives, which I appreciate so much. Having a support system with suggestions, ideas, and advice is oh-so helpful. But, one of the largest sources of stress has stemmed from fiances and budgets. I’m sure you’re not all that surprised. Blake and I decided we wanted to plan a wedding that didn’t wreck havoc on our fiances, which has proven to be hard. Real hard. Planning a wedding in another state, while sticking to a somewhat strict budget is no piece of cake. So, for those of you who are newly engaged, in the midst of planning your own wedding, or awaiting for that perfect proposal, here are my top tips for planning a wedding with budget in mind.
- Prioritize- Make a list of everything it takes to host a wedding. Here’s a start: floral arrangements, catering, photography, decor, music, ceremony site, reception venue, color scheme, transportation, beauty team for bridal party, the bride’s dress, wedding showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties. This is why you need to prioritize, especially if you’re on a budget. The list can be endless, which translates into a long credit card bill. You can see how it’s easy to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a single day. So, talk to your future spouse about what is most important to you on this special day. Pick a top three that you are not willing to compromise. Be willing to skimp a little on the other items. Blake and I agreed that our top three are the wedding venue, catering (helloooo, pizza truck & endless wine), and the photography. For us, we are willing to skimp a little when it comes to the flowers, wedding dress/groom’s suit, and transportation.
- Limit guest list / No kids- A sure-tell way to rack up your wedding cost is by hosting a large amount of guests. Limit who you invite to just your family members and close friends. Each guest can add a substantial amount to your catering bill, bar tab, venue pricing, bridal party gifts, bouquets/boutonnieres, and more. Also, it’s okay to say no to the little ones. Keep the wedding “adult only.” Plus, it’s a good excuse to give mom and dad the night off.
- Skip the full bar- Alcohol can be expensive, period. It adds up real quick. Just a couple drinks while you’re out to dinner can easily add $20-25 to your check. Imagine paying almost that much for 100+ people! Limiting drink options to beer and wine can help shave off some of that additional cost. And still, with a few different beers and wines available, you can offer a variety of options to your guests. There will be something for everyone to enjoy.
- Azazie.com– Azazie is an awesome website for bridesmaids dresses. They have a full rainbow of colors to choose from and the variety of dress styles are endless. You can mix and match colors and dresses, if that’s the look you’re going for. Or you can have all your best girls in the same color and style dress. You can also order color swatches via mail, so you can have a realistic idea of what the dresses will look like in person. What about the price point you ask? Great for those on a tight budget. All the dresses are super affordable (most around the $100 range), without compromising the quality of their dresses.
- The Knot- “The Wedding Planning Book” by The Knot, as well as theknot.com provide so many helpful timelines, checklists, vendor suggestions, and more. I have utilized these resources every step of the way. You can search for and compare vendors within your price range with just the click of a button. The Knot is my go-to for every wedding planning task!
While these tips are how I primarily cut cost while wedding planning, there are so many additional ways. The majority of your cost-saving decisions will stem from your priority list. As mentioned above, splurge on your top three wedding vendors and save on the others.
All in all, remember this is your special day. At the end of the day, it doesn’t come down to the color of dresses, type of flowers, or even the flavor of cake (although, this one in particular is very important, in my opinion). This is the first day of the rest of your life. Enjoy the planning, the process, and the big day!