Where to save money in your wedding budget
Wedding planning can be a frustrating time, especially when it comes to your wedding budget. Chances are this is one of the most expensive days or nights you'll plan in your life, and with that comes a ton of pressure and questioning around what you SHOULD spend money on and what you SHOULD save on. While there are few right and wrong answers for an event like this (after all, it's YOUR event and YOUR day, and you can do what you please!), there are some tried and true recommendations that can help you along the way.
I'm the first to admit that I'm a bit of a cheapskate when it comes to certain things (and a bit of an over-spender when it comes to others), but I've learned over the years, for the most part, what makes sense for me to spend money on and what makes sense for me to save on. Since this will be different for everybody it's hard to impart advice, but it's something I recommend you think about before you start the wedding planning process.
I thought about MY priorities when it comes to wedding planning, and compiled them into the list, below, to hopefully help those of you who are looking for some (any!) direction.The important thing to remember when reading this is that even if these prices are NOT in your budget, the recommendations of what you could spend or save on still stays the same. The prices below are a reference for you to see what you can expect to spend in certain circumstances, and what you could possibly save on if you went another route.
Where to Save
I love flowers as much as the next person, but I'm also a firm believer that a little can go a long way. I am personally not a fan of spending money on tall arrangements that look like planets hovering over a reception table (you know the ones), and while I LOVE those ethereal arrangements you've most likely seen on every wedding site (including mine), I also think that in the right setting, a simple arrangement of hydrangeas or garden roses in a rustic vase can look just as nice.
While a $500 wedding cake won't be your biggest ticket item, the real savings comes from NOT going overboard when it comes to other desserts. Adding speciality desserts can add another $1,000 and up for a 125 person wedding, and while we all love the idea of a fun dessert table, let me fill you in on a little secret: Most people won't even see it. Yes, I hate to sound harsh, but the majority of wedding guests are too busy dancing to even enjoy your wedding cake or dessert. Having a wedding cake alternative or a simple wedding cake will save you beaucoup bucks, or you can opt for an amazing wedding cake design and keep it at that!
I definitely love having some bubbly at a party, but by serving a champagne alternative you'll be able to enjoy the sparkles without the money guilt. And while I think having a wedding toast is great, I have an idea for you that I used at my own wedding: Ask guests to raise their glasses so they can toast with what their drinking instead of having a separate champagne pour. The reason I think this option ends up working so well is because chances are by the time the wedding toast comes around you're already seated at the reception tables and drinking your beverage of choice for the evening. It will save you money and guests will never notice.
Thanking guests for coming to your wedding is an amazing thing to do (and you should!) but it's easy to go overboard. This is an area that I highly recommend using any DIY ideas that you might have to create something personal and homemade (one of my faves is the homemade adult Hot Chocolate mix, above). I love making mix CD's for guests of your favorite music from the night (though I feel like CD's are getting more and more outdated! Lol), or if DIY is not your thing, search for wedding favors under $3/each. You can check out our favorite wedding favors on a budget here.
While you can DIY your wedding invitations or simply send out an electronic version to REALLY save money, I'm somewhere in between. I do think that you should spend time on creating a gorgeous wedding invitation because I think it sets the tone for your wedding, but there are ways to get your wedding invitation cost down. Online invitation sites like Wedding Paper Divas and Minted have made it extremely easy to find gorgeous wedding invitations on a budget, and Etsy is another personal fave. If you do want to DIY your wedding invitations consider using an existing wedding invitation template so you can still have the professional design element but be able to customize them further for less money than, say, a boutique stationary store (online or brick and mortar).
Find out the best places to splurge here!
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