A wedding is a celebration of love, friendship, history, and the future. It’s also pretty expensive. No one likes the idea of cutting costs on their big day, but sometimes it’s necessary if you don’t want to begin your marriage with your bank account in the negative.
For those of us on the east coast who don’t have the luxury of year-round sunshine, wedding expenses tend to be even higher. Outdoor weddings allow couples to avoid renting expensive venues, and make it easy to get creative (and thrifty) with planning. However, if you’re committed to making it work on a tight budget, it’s possible to tweak minor details that end up saving you thousands.
Self-Cater, or Hire a Family-Owned Restaurant
It’s expensive to feed an entire guest list. For couples who are trying to cut costs on their wedding, it’s important to avoid large, well-known restaurants who tend to charge an arm and a leg for their catering services.
Instead, consider making the food yourself with the help of your family. Not only is this less expensive, but it adds a personal touch that will make the celebration more memorable. If you don’t come from a family gifted in the culinary arts, opt for a family-owned restaurant that will be more understanding of your budgetary needs.
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Shrink the Guest List
While it may be tempting to invite your entire Facebook friends list (including the several hundred people you haven’t spoken to since high school), each additional person you bring to the ceremony will end up costing you.
Communicate with your partner and decide who is necessary and who isn’t. It’s not like you’re throwing a house party where anybody can come free of charge. People understand the financial burden of a wedding, and if you’re not that close, most reasonable people won’t take it personally if they don’t receive an invite.
Pick Your Rings Carefully
Wedding bands are expensive, and while it’s possible to get great deals on personal loans in NH, most couples should look for affordable options. The wedding is temporary, but the ring will (hopefully!) last a lifetime.
It’s easy to find east coast ring vendors who will charge you a reasonable rate for rings that would otherwise cost a fortune in a large mall.
Don’t Tell Vendors You’re Getting Married
When vendors hear that you’re looking for services for a wedding, their eyes light up. It’s common practice to charge double and sometimes triple their normal rate for weddings. This is because most couples are willing to pay whatever they’re charged just to ensure that their big day goes over well.
When you’re first talking to a vendor, don’t let it slip that it’s for a wedding. Get an estimate for how much they would charge you, and then, when you eventually do have to admit it’s for a wedding (if you want them to show up you can’t keep it a secret) you’ll have some leverage to use.
Hire a Photography Student to Shoot the Wedding
Your wedding day is one of the most magical and memorable moments you’ll have in your life, so you definitely want to have a videographer or camera-person at the event. Unfortunately, wedding photography is a lucrative business and many professionals will charge an exorbitant rate. If you don’t have a family friend that has experience in the field, there are other ways to keep photography costs low.
Many young photographers that are still in school need to build out their portfolio and would jump at the chance to shoot an entire wedding. With students, they have their own equipment and often have some fresh ideas on unique wedding day photos. These budding artists are often happy to work for a reduced rate and are far more willing to go the extra mile to make your day memorable.
While it might be tempting to chug coffee and power through all of the details, stressed couples often end up throwing money at problems to make them go away. This isn’t a good idea, and you might end up paying for services that you don’t really need.
Approach planning with a level head and try to work through problems thoughtfully before freaking out and writing a check. Service providers are all too willing to step in, and will overcharge you in your moment of distress.
Don’t Splurge on Decorations
While decorations are necessary if you want to add atmosphere to the venue, you don’t need to go overboard. What people are going to remember most is the way the wedding made them feel, the joy they experienced and the fun they had. They won’t care if you ordered an extra bouquet for every table, or decided to ring the room with expensive lights.
Be on the lookout for supply store sales, which typically go on year-round. Pick out a few things that catch your eye but don’t let yourself get carried away.
Remember, at the end of the day your wedding is a celebration of love and union, not an extravagant blowout. Be judicious while planning, and you won’t totally break the bank. Oh, and by the way, CONGRATULATIONS!