There is no doubt that weddings are expensive, but there are ways to throw an incredible event without going into debt. We are sharing our favourite tips for planning a wedding on a small budget.
Setting your budget should be one of the first things you do when planning your wedding. This will most likely be the largest and most expensive event you will ever throw. You’ll need to have this discussion with your soon-to-be spouse right away.
Go over your savings, create a spreadsheet and be sure to prepare for those unexpected costs. Don’t be afraid to make cuts to certain areas of your wedding so you don’t exceed your budget. It is hard and will be tricky but having a wedding on a small budget can be done. And, it will be amazing.
First, Find Your Funding
Knowing how much you have to spend on your wedding usually comes from three sources:
1. You and Your Fiancé’s Savings
You and your fiancé should both have individual savings with at least 3 months worth of living expenses. This is incase you lose your job or health setbacks. This is different than a retirement fund. Subtract your in-case-of-emergency money from your total bank account and that’s how much you can put toward your wedding.
2. The Amount From Your Current Income
Once you have made some payments to any debts (i.e. loans, credit cards, etc.), set aside up to 10% of your earnings each month.
3. Cash From Parents or Loved Ones
Not everyone has family or friends who are willing and able to pitch in on the wedding expenses. However, if you do, go and ask!
Next, Keep Track of Your Spending
You will need to track your spending for a while to ensure you are saving enough for not only your wedding but your living expenses as well. Create a spreadsheet that helps you understand what you are spending, what you are estimated to spend on the wedding.
Once you start contacting vendors you can adjust what you are estimated to spend to actual spend. Don’t forget to include gratuity to your vendor costs. Most tips are between 15% and 20%.
You can also break down the total wedding budget into a few categories. This will help you see visually how much you to spend on each area. For example:
- Reception: at least 50%
- Ceremony: 10-12%
- Photography: 10%
- Wedding planner: 10%
- Wedding attire: 8-10%
- Miscellaneous: 5%
Prepare For The Unexpected
Unfortunately, there will be some surprise costs along the way. Before you sign a contract with any vendor be sure to read the fine print. If the total is not in your overall budget, cut it. This can include:
- Transportation for vendors – out-of-town photographers for example, may require you to cover their travel costs.
- Setup and tear down fees – clean up may not be included and could even include overtime pay.
- Custom drinks – custom cocktails and signature spirits can increase your costs by quite a bit.
Tips and Tricks For Having a Wedding on a Small Budget
Here are some tips and strategies that could save you big when planning your wedding.
Raw Space vs. Inclusive Venues
When looking at venues, you may be leaning toward a raw space like a barn or loft. However, it may not be as cheap as you think. You might need to bring your own chairs, tables, silverware, even AC sometimes. Compare the price of the raw space and all the extra requirements with a venue that has almost everything included.
Trim The Guest List
Unfortunately, the larger the wedding, the more expensive the event. Each guest is more than just food. You have to consider each wedding invitation, favor, piece of cake, transportations and more. Keeping your wedding strictly A-list will help you keep costs down. Plus, you might even have more fun with just your close friends and family. Even removing 15 people can save you thousands.
The most popular days to throw a wedding is Friday and Saturday. It’s easy to understand why. Most people have the weekends off and can enjoy a fun night out without worrying about having to getting up early. However, these days come at a cost. To save a lot of money, consider having your wedding during the week or on a Sunday. A brunch wedding on a Sunday afternoon might be the right choice for you! It’s still on the weekend, but it’s a much cheaper date.
Read more: A Guide To The Perfect Weekday Wedding
Have The Ceremony and Reception in the Same Place
Having your wedding ceremony and reception at the same place can save you thousands. On average it could be as much as $5,000. It saves you on venue location but also the potential need for transportation for the wedding party and guests.
Use Less Vendors
Using less vendors will help you cut down some costs at your wedding. Try looking for vendors who have multiple offerings. For example, look for a DJ that does lighting, or a cake person who also offers edible favors. You’ll get more bang for your buck and you wont have to pay multiple delivery or setup fees.
Shop The Sales
For your wedding dress or suit, look into some cheaper options. You can find thousands of inexpensive dresses that will help you stay within budget. Start looking for your wedding look during the off-season. Plenty of stores and designers will be offering discounted prices. Even look into second-hand or vintage. You can find a designer gown for a significantly lower price tag.
Read More: Where To Find an Affordable Wedding Dress
Print Your Own Stationary or Send E-Vites
The cost of wedding invitations can add up quickly. You can find thousands of free templates online through sites like Canva. Alternatively, you could send out E-Vites. This is a little more eco-friendly, modern and can be linked directly to your wedding website. This allows guests to RSVP online and can be a lot easier to keep track of who is attending.
Ask Your DJ or Musician Friends To Perform
If you have talented friends, utilize them for your wedding. If you want a live band or musician to perform, but can’t afford it, try hitting up one of your DJ or musician friends to help out. Chances are they will be happy to help out and it could save you thousands.
Look For A Venue With No Corkage Fee
Surprisingly, a lot of people miss the corkage fee when committing to a wedding venue. Only to be surprised by additional fees when handed the bill. Ensure you look for corkage fees in your venue contract. You may find a place that lets your bring your own beverages which will help you save. But, if they have a corkage fee you could be spending just as much as you would without bringing your own drinks.
Don’t Book A Photographer For A Full Day
The longer you employ services, the more you will end up paying. Book half a day and you’ll save big. It is up to you what parts of the day you’d like to capture.