I know. This is all so expensive. You had your perfect wedding all planned in your head, but once you started calling florists and booking caterers, you realized that dream day has a price tag larger than your wallet can stretch.
The idea of going into debt over a one day celebration makes you queasy, so now you’re stuck and disappointed. It’s a crappy feeling, I know. But don’t be dismayed. It is possible to still have a gorgeous wedding well within your budget. Here’s how in three ways:
Prioritizing can be a painful process. It means saying “no” to things. But, it also means saying “yes” to the best. After you know how much you are planning on spending, you and your fiancee should sit down together to talk about what is most important to you both.
Ask yourself a few helpful questions - what have you always imagined your wedding day to look like? What do you want for it to reflect and express about your relationship and love for each other? What do you really want to do/have/see on your wedding day? Once you’ve asked those questions, then prioritize your top 3-5 aspects of your wedding. This will be where you can spend a decent amount of your budget.
The goal here is to not get distracted from your priorities. You may find a drop dead gorgeous floral arrangement that made your insides flip. But, remember your priorities. Will you still have enough to spend on your dress or your venue if you opt for the arrangement? It’s always helpful to take a step back and remember your priorities.
2. Plan Ahead
Planning ahead goes hand in hand with prioritizing and helps you eliminate those last minute, impulse buys. After you’ve prioritized, break down your budget. If having a stunning dress is a top priority for you, it should get more of your budget. If you aren’t as concerned about serving a full-course meal, only a portion of your budget can go towards food.
This helpful infographic (below) from Cake & Lace blog lays out a loose guideline to break down your budget. If you have $5,000 to spend on your wedding, this guide recommends spending $2,250 on your reception; $150 on your stationery; $600 on your florals; etc. Of course, this is simply a place to get started. You may not want to spend 8% of your budget on a wedding planner and that’s ok! Use it as a way to get started breaking it all down.
Planning ahead with your budget can help you save money - and potentially purchase more - in the long run. For example:
Let’s say you can only spend $1200 on a photographer and $300 on your stationery. You snagged a great deal on a wedding package from a talented, new photographer for only $1000. That leaves you $200 left in your budget. If she doesn’t offer any additional upgrades you’re interested in, then you’ve got $200 left to play with. You’ve been eyeing some pretty bridesmaid proposal cards that you know your girls would love, so you move a little bit of that $200 over to your stationery budget to spend!
You feel comfortable with that switch because you planned ahead. You knew how much were in each of your categories, so “overspending” in another category is no big deal because you’ve already booked your photographer.
3. Pass On
Another word you could use here is “delegate” (but the temptation to make this all alliterated is far too tempting! ;) ). Let your mom, maid of honor, sister, future mother-in-law handle some of your wedding. Ask her to consider this her gift to you or offer to pay to cover the supplies. Either way, you’ll be saving a great deal of money by letting a friend take over.
If your best friend has an eye for florals, ask her if she’d be willing to help you arrange your bouquet and centerpieces in lieu of hiring a florist. If your mom loves decorating, employ her for the day to set up your reception decor in lieu of hiring a wedding planner. Your friends and family will most likely love to help you out on your big day.
For my friends and family, I’ve made a ring bearer pillow and shot video and set up the guest book table for their weddings. I loved getting to be a part of their big day in such a sweet way, while also saving them money and stress.
Make a list of things that you’d love to have but may be out of your budget to accomplish. Then, ask a friend or family member if they could DIY it for you.
I hope this was helpful for you as you’re planning your wedding. I’d love to hear any other ways you have saved money on your wedding. And, if you want even more help planning your wedding, take my 7 day Reception Planning Challenge! By the end of the week, you’ll have a pretty and personalized checklist of everything you need to do to plan your reception. Enter your info below to ease that wedding planning stress and take the challenge!