Budget

Wedding Budget

Common Wedding Budget Challenges

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There is no question that weddings can be expensive and that most of us have to plan one within a budget. Certain parts of the wedding planning will be more challenging to fit into your budget than others.

The first thing many couples struggle with is exactly who to invite to their wedding. This is a crucial aspect of your planning because you will need to choose a venue that can hold the number of people you expect to invite. Since for most couples, the wedding venue is the most expensive part, these two considerations go hand in hand.

To make it easier to fit your venue into your wedding budget it helps to be flexible when it comes to choosing one. This also goes hand in hand with the date you’d like to get married on. It can be a challenge to keep from blowing your budget if you have a desire to get married over a holiday weekend or you have your heart set on a Saturday wedding. To get around the high cost of any wedding venue, consider having the ceremony on a Friday afternoon/evening or anytime on a Sunday.

So many aspects come into the wedding planning process that it can be easy to spend the budget on the bigger aspects while forgetting about the smaller ones. This becomes challenging when you realize you have left a part of the planning process out of your budget.

While it is easy to think of purchasing wedding invitations you might get thrown for a loop when you realize how much money you’ll have to spend on postage to mail them all out. You may also not realize that it will cost you more for postage if your wedding invitations are square. One way around this is to hand deliver as many of your invitations as you can. If you do need to mail invitations stick to the standard stamps, as fancier stamps will cost you more and the truth is that your guests aren’t likely to take a second glance at the stamp on their invitation. In addition to mailing out the invitations you’ll also have to separately mail out the RSVP and save the date cards, as well as the thank you cards you’ll send after the wedding.

Speaking of, on your wedding day you’re going to need a lot of small items that you might not think of before you leave home. This usually leads to someone from the wedding running out and picking up last minute items, which can result in spending money you didn’t have budgeted to spend. The best way around this is to pack a bag of wedding day necessities at least one week before the big event.

These are some of the most common things we forget when planning the budget for a wedding. When you have an effective game plan you can avoid running into these hurtles at any point during the day of your wedding.

How to Have a Beautiful Wedding on a Budget

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Wedding MusicWith the current state of the economy, the idea of spending thousands of dollars on a wedding ceremony might seem daunting. This is especially true now that the tradition of the bride’s family footing the bill is giving way to the couple financing the ceremony themselves. With a little creative thinking, a little bit of planning, and some elbow grease, it’s possible to have the perfect day you’ve always dreamed of without breaking the bank. Here are ways to save money with a frugal (but not cheap-feeling) wedding, enabling you to keep some money in your savings account for that first year of marriage.

Venue

Sure, that dedicated wedding venue, towering cathedral, or privately-owned mansion is gorgeous, but that beauty comes with a substantial price tag. What’s more, you may have to find a different location for the reception, meaning you’ll be paying to rent two facilities instead of one.

Instead, try an outdoor venue like a state or city park. You’ll pay a lower facility fee, and you can have your reception outdoors as well. For an indoor wedding, try a local fellowship hall or even a V.F.W. Any space can be decorated for a dream wedding, so those cheaper options can still be gorgeous.

Catering

Instead of using a dedicated wedding catering business, find a local family-owned restaurant you love and ask the owner personally about catering the wedding. You’ll get food you love at a much lower price than a professional catering outfit can provide. There’s also no shame in having family members or friends prepare the meal–provided there are enough volunteers and sufficient kitchen facilities to cook for a large number of people.

Another option most couples don’t even consider is a potluck wedding reception. It’s definitely unconventional, but in this writer’s experience, it makes for a wonderful dining experience. Each guest is encouraged to bring a dish to share and the couple provides a salad or a few main dish options. The end result is a table groaning with lovingly homemade food, with far more variety than a caterer or restaurant could provide. Even your gluten-free vegan cousin can find something to eat at a potluck.

Music

For chamber music during the ceremony, call up your local university’s music department and see if there are students who would be willing to perform at a wedding. The student will get valuable experience, and you’ll pay far less than you might for a professional musician.

For the reception, rather than hiring a DJ, put together a playlist of danceable songs on your MP3 player and hook it into the venue’s sound system (or rent just a couple of speakers for the dance floor).

Your best resource for planning a wedding on a budget may just be your friends and family. If you’ve got a friend who is an amateur photographer, help him or her build a portfolio by hiring them for the day (don’t ask them to donate their time, of course–but they may volunteer). Those friends who are always posting their homemade decoration ideas to Pinterest? Conscript them to help decorate the hall. Your friends and family will be happy to show their love and friendship by helping make your special day special without breaking the bank.

Money Saving Wedding Tips

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MP3 PlayerWith so many expenses involved with planning a wedding, it’s only logical for most couples to try to find ways to save money. Even if you have a very large wedding budget, things can start to add up very quickly and require you to make tough decisions about what is most important to you. Fortunately, not everything needs to cost an arm and a leg if you know a few tricks of the trade and places where you can cut down on some of the costs. Here is some popular money saving wedding ideas that will help you keep your bottom line in check without needing to sacrifice the things that are most important to you about your wedding.

Invitations

Invitations are a very important part of any wedding, but there are ways to save you from spending way too much for absolutely no reason at all. Many couples make the mistake of creating very elaborate wedding invitations, but the fact of the matter is that it really isn’t necessary or a very good use of your money. Most of your guests are going to look at your invitation once, mark the date on their calendar, and never look at the invitation again. If you want something that looks really nice inside the invitation, include a small date reminder card that they can hang on the fridge and keep the rest of the card simple.

The parts of a wedding invitation that usually racks up the largest fees are full color printing and fancy raised-letters. Though it may seem like it’s worth the money, you get the same reaction from your guests whether you wedding invitations are printed on a fancy press or if you print them at home on your inkjet printer.

Wedding Venues

One of the easiest ways to save money when booking your wedding venues is to choose a location that will work for both the ceremony and the reception. Ideally, you will find a venue that has a separate area like a garden where the ceremony can take place as well as a reception hall so you can still create a separation between the two parts of the event. Even if your ceremony needs to take place inside the reception hall, you can always bring out some lattice or other decorations to make it look different during the ceremony portion of the event.

Additionally, you should try to find a venue that includes things like tablecloths, chairs, and other decorative elements as part of the standard rental fee. Though you’ll still need to add more decorations yourself, eliminating the need to rent or purchase as many items as possible can save you thousands of dollars in the end.

Wedding Flowers

Instead of buying real flowers for your centerpieces, consider an alternative like wooden flowers or paper flowers. They will be just as lovely as real flowers, but they will only cost a fraction of the price. You should still buy real flowers for the bride’s bouquet and for the corsages and boutonnieres that the wedding party wears, but all of the decorative flowers can be substituted with appropriate alternatives.

Decorations

Creating your own decorations can save you a lot of money, and it can be a fun bonding experience with your bridesmaids! Consider having some decoration parties in the weeks and months leading up to your wedding where you and your friends make wedding decorations together over a few glasses of wine. There are thousands of great DIY wedding decoration projects that you can find online, so your options are virtually limitless and you can save a ton of money in the process.

Food and Drink

Food and drink costs will be one of your biggest expenses, so being creative with your budget can go a long way. First, you should choose an inexpensive meal for your guests such as pasta to save as much money on the catering bill as possible. Next, you should eliminate the open bar and opt for a cash bar instead or only offer keg beer for free. By having your guests pay for their own drinks, you can save a lot of money on your wedding.

Music

Though hiring a DJ or live band may be an attractive idea on the surface, it is also very expensive. Instead, consider putting together a playlist of your own on your laptop or favorite MP3 player. You may need to rent an amp and some speakers unless you have a friend that can supply these items, but it will still be a lot cheaper than hiring a professional. Plus, you can ensure that only songs you like are played during your reception while at the same time saving a ton on your wedding.