I am on the record that only couples in great financial shape should spend money on an expensive/large wedding. But for those of you who are just going to plow ahead despite shaky finances, please at least make the most of my money-saving wedding tips.
- Scale back your budget by 30%. Reduce the budget size you have in mind by 30%. That’s to cover over-runs. Trust me…or just ask your friends who have already been through this. It is amazing how many “incidental” expenses will crop up along the way. By giving yourself some great breathing room, you can more easily absorb the extra costs without blowing your budget.
- Rent the dress. Or Buy Second-Hand. I am prepared to be called unromantic on this. But if you are honest, spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on a dress you will wear just once, is not exactly a smart financial move.
- Skip the professional photographer. Make it clear to everyone who is attending that you want them to help you create the ultimate photo album: have everyone take photos on their phones and send you the photos. (And assign one or two people with a great eye to handle the ceremony photos.) Or if you have a friend who is an amateur photographer, ask if he or she would be up for bringing along their camera(s) and spending an hour before the wedding to take some family shots, and then photograph the ceremony as well. That’s an amazing gift that I think many friends would love to give. (And they still get to enjoy the party as a guest---that’s when you rely on everyone to take phone photos.) Another option: check your local community college or adult school for recommendations of students/amateur photographers. Check their portfolios, of course, but if you like what you see, they will likely be far less expensive than a full-blown wedding photographer. And just for fun, put disposable cameras on every table. Who knows what you’ll end up with!
- Focus on the celebration. A buffet will be less expensive than a sit-down dinner. A DJ will be less expensive than a 5-piece band. A few selected beers and wines with some champagne to toast will be less expensive than a full bar. And yet all three economical approaches will not reduce the magic of the day one iota. You and your guests are what will create the memories.