How to have the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank
According to www.costofwedding.com the average wedding cost in the United States is $25,576. In my area of Kansas, the average cost is between $16,931 and $28,218. With a guest of 100-200, it stated the average is $18,116-$30,193. *jaw drop*
Our wedding cost came in a little over $5,000.
Your wedding does not have to cost thousands and thousands of dollars. With so many new DIY projects, and Pinterest creating your dream wedding on a budget is doable. However, it does not have to be ‘cheap’. I was able to plan my ‘dream’ wedding on a budget and realized that it isn’t always about the pretty decor or the expensive details.
Related Post: 5 things I learned planning a wedding
In fact, most guests aren’t going to care about the color of tablecloths, the quality of the dinnerware, or all the flowers. You should keep in mind guests are there to celebrate this day with you and they want to enjoy it with you. Don’t get overwhelmed by the little details!
Don’t get me wrong, your wedding should be the best day ever but remember it’s about your new marriage with your spouse. All the little details, stress, will be gone and you won’t even remember those things 6 months later.
We got married on a Saturday in June at a beautiful red barn in the country. Our guest list about around 150, and it was the perfect day for us.
Related Post: My Wedding Story
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Things to ask before setting a budget
- Who is contributing? Will your parents be helping? Your spouse’s parents? Who will be paying for what, exactly? Are you going to pay out of pocket yourselves? – this is vital before even planning. Sit down with your fiance to discuss how who, and what will be paid for!
- Be realistic when setting your budget, don’t go overboard
- Consider a honeymoon while wedding planning too, as this is an added cost
- Decide what is more important to you- is it your dress? the venue? the decorations? or the food?
Ways to save on your wedding
The dreaded Guest List
Let’s get real here. You don’t need to invite everyone and your mom to your wedding. Believe me when I say creating a guest list is hard. You worry about hurting peoples feelings, and you may have to invite some family members you may or may not exactly care for. Initially inviting every single person you went to high school with, worked with, and have known seems like a great idea.
When considering who to invite remember to take into consideration the people you know will still be in your life 5+ years down the road. Invite only those you have remained close with, and know want to be there to support your big day.
Most venues can only accommodate so many people, not to mention you have to plan out your food and drinks according to your guest list. That means the more guests, the more you’re going to spend on food and drinks.
Go minimal with the flowers
In my opinion, you should spend as minimal as possible on the flowers. Real flowers are so beautiful and add a special touch, but they do die. They’ll only last for so long. You can even opt for artificial flowers, but with the number of flowers I needed for my wedding, it was about the same cost for real ones.
I found a local florist in a small little town who charged us $450. Do your research to see which option is the most cost-effective for you. Decide where and how you will use the flowers: bouquets, centerpieces, boutonnieres, etc. My sister-in-law had such a pretty idea of making a bouquet out of brooches and gave her mom and mother in law each a brooch. I thought it was such a unique and special idea.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box!
Use family friends where you can
I cannot say this enough, nor can I be more thankful to the family friends that helped us. Lucky for us we didn’t have to hire a bunch of ‘vendors’ instead used family friends. This will save you so much money!
- We had a family friend cater our wedding came in around $500-$600
- My husband was in a band so we were able to use the band PA system and speakers for music $0
- A very close family friend of ours is a photographer so of course, we wanted her to take our photos $500
Head to your local craft stores like Michaels or Hobby lobby for decor. Don’t be afraid to be that person to use coupons, because this girl definitely did. Head to your local antique stores to find vintage decor. The decor I spent most of my money on were chalkboard stands, signs, and little ‘doodads’ like a ‘popcorn’ sign for our popcorn bar.
See if your area has a Facebook group for weddings because many brides sell their decor with little to no wear for over 70% off the original cost! You can also sell your decor if you want after your wedding on these groups.
Also, don’t forget to find a venue with some sort of decor that is to your taste. Our venue actually had tons of decor for centerpieces, the arbor, and the tables.
Get a venue with more bang for your buck
Upon searching for venues the common theme I found is that most required that you use THEIR vendors. Meaning extra fees and costs along with renting the venue. Not to mention they required you to use their venue for a set amount of time, otherwise *ooop* another fee.
When choosing a venue to try to find one that offers some or a few of the following:
- Choice of vendors (photographers, floral, food, DJ, bar services/alcohol)
- Usage of venue extending past the wedding evening (meaning they allow you to use the venue for a rehearsal dinner OR at least let you come on the day of the wedding to set-up)
- Offers use of PA system or any decor they have
- Choose a venue where you can have both the ceremony and reception
Like I said we were really lucky when we discovered our venue, Red Barn Events because we had the venue Friday evening, Saturday and even Sunday for clean up if need be. I was able to use my own vendors for food, drinks, and music. The owners were incredibly helpful and understanding. Seriously I cannot be more thankful for their accommodations, and kindness.
Above all, that previous brides donated their decor for future brides to use. This saved me lot’s of money, so of course, I donated as much as I could. If you’re getting married in the Topeka area I highly recommend Red Barn Events, and no this isn’t sponsored. Just my honest opinion!
Don’t’ forget about your bridal party. Instead of having all my bridesmaids wear the same dress, I told them the color to choose and they were able to pick a style. I liked this idea because not everyone’s body types are the same, and the same dress might not fit the same on each person. This allowed them to choose a dress in their budget as well.
Consider unknown expenses
- Wedding programs, personally I don’t get the point of these but you can save a lot on invites and paper by not using programs
- Marriage certificates! Don’t forget about these guys because they’re super important. Since we were applying for Visas to live abroad we actually had to get 4 of these.
- Liability Insurance- depending on the venue
- Wedding favors- I think these are a little outdated. I opted for a popcorn bar and coozies. The coozies were extremely inexpensive! It cost us like .30 per coozie for a bulk order of 200. Plus if you’re from Kansas you most likely have a collection of coozies, and they’ll actually get used.
- Hair and makeup- DIY to save money! Also, don’t think you need to go and purchase all new makeup. In fact, I chose to buy new foundation only to match my tan during June. My bridesmaids were sweet enough to bring their makeup for everyone to use.
- Hotel room for the night of
- Gifts for the bridal party
Ways to save even more
If you’re really looking at keeping your wedding at low costs consider the following- like I said it just depends on your situation, if your family is helping and what is most important to you.
- You could elope
- Smaller bridal party
- Don’t get married on the weekend
- Find bridesmaid dresses at a department store vs. a bridal store
- Bring your guest list to around 50 or even less
- Use only bouquets for the wedding instead of spending more on flowers for decor
- Skip the RSVP cards- and have people call and/or text their RSVP’s to you
- Wait to go on your honeymoon. I see so many newly married couples waiting to go on their honeymoon so they can save up. This is okay! Don’t think you must go to your honeymoon right after the wedding.
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