With the average cost of a wedding clocking in at $27,000 (not including the average $5,000 cost of a honeymoon), savvy couples are hunting for cost savings wherever they can find them. And while it takes some planning, effort, and elbow grease, but budget-conscious spouses-to-be can save oodles of money on their wedding day.
As a couple, you should plan a wedding that is authentic to you. Separate the needs from the wants, avoid frivolous expenses, and ignore the expectations of others.
Then, instead of plunking down tens of thousands of dollars, consider some of these sensible options for fabulous weddings on the cheap.
A novel and innovative option for the modern, time-strapped bride and groom is a service called BrideRush, which offers discounted, date-specific wedding deals. BrideRush bundles the search, inquiry, and booking processes for a simplified and streamlined solution with a possible 30 percent to 70 percent discount. Owner Anita Malik refers to BrideRush as the "Priceline of weddings."Do a Date-Driven Deal Search
The average wedding dress costs roughly $1,100, according to WeddingStats.org, so thinking outside of the box can yield big savings. Consider a pre-owned gown from a vintage or consignment store. Preownedweddingdresses.com offers hundreds of designer dresses, with many priced at less than $300. On top of that, after your big day, you can even sell your dress back to them. You can also find used veils, shoes and jewelry on the site.Look Like a Million Bucks, Spend Much Less
Both eBay and Craigslist also offer thousands of less expensive gown options. Bridesagainstbreastcancer.org sells gowns donated by designers, with all proceeds going to charity. Most gowns range from $100 to $800. Or consider borrowing a gown from a family member or friend.
The Right Time, the Right Space
- Shorten (or elongate) your wedding planning timeline to either nab last-minute deals or have the flexibility to lock in bargain rates at a later date.
- Consider a Friday or Sunday wedding instead of the traditional -- and expensive -- Saturday.
- Consider nontraditional venues, like city-run spaces, gardens, beaches and zoos, for inexpensive and beautiful wedding sites.
Be Your Own Wedding Planner
With the average cost of a full-service wedding planner clocking in at nearly $4,000, eliminating the planner is an easy way to shave money from your budget. Not having one will require legwork on the part of you and your spouse-to-be, but the savings are tremendous.
Don't Serve a Sit-Down Dinner
Avoid traditional evening sit-down dinners or buffets. You can save lots of money by hosting a daytime affair or cocktail reception. While you may hear some guests grumbling, you will save a healthy chunk of change.
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Keep Alcohol Costs in Check
Avoid an open bar and consider opting for wine and beer only. Or serve a signature cocktail instead. This lets you buy one or two types of alcohol, allowing you to buy in bulk and cut costs. Consider avoiding the pricey champagne toast altogether, and toast with your signature cocktail instead. It'll be more personalized and memorable.
Let Them Eat (Sheet) Cake
The higher, larger, and more ornate the cake, the more money it will cost. Choose a lower, smaller, and simpler one for the ceremonial cake-cutting and photos, and stock the kitchen with a sheet cake. Guests will never know the difference, and it can save you a couple hundred dollars.
Be Your Own Florist
The average cost of wedding flowers is nearly $2,000, but by choosing one type of seasonal, local flower, you can take advantage of a cheaper, bulk order. Or consider using Costco or an e-retailer like freshroses.com, whose site allows you to buy wholesale flowers -- cutting out expensive middlemen -- for do-it-yourself centerpieces, bouquets, and boutonnieres.
DIY as Much as Possible
You can find DIY ideas by perusing Pinterest or marthastewartweddings.com. No one attending your wedding will remember -- or care -- that you had homemade favors as opposed to expensive, store-bought ones. Consider commissioning an aunt or grandmother with a unique skill to make the favors, centerpieces, or cake. It'll be special and that loved one will probably feel both pleased and honored to help.
Skip the Extras
The pre-ceremony aromatherapy massage, professional hair and makeup, pricey bachelorette weekend in Tahoe, and three bridal showers are all completely unnecessary.
Invest in your long-term relationship instead.
With so much focus on the wedding day, consider parlaying some money into services that'll build a great foundation for your marriage, like couples counseling and financial planning. These investments in your future together have magnificent potential for enhancing the quality of your marriage.