Planning a wedding can be daunting--add to that the hefty price tag that often accompanies the big day and it can be downright painful.
According to Amy Eisinger, an editor at WeddingChannel.com, the average wedding runs close to $28,000. Working with a smaller budget is not only possible, but easier than you think.
Here are eight tips to walk down the aisle with some money left in your pocket.
Get Your Priorities Straight
The experts agree the best thing the budgeted bride and groom can do is set their priorities.
Before diving head first into the wedding planning, make a list of the most and least important things you need at your wedding.
“Everybody has different priorities and you can have the wedding of your dreams on any budget if you know what they are,” says Heidi Ramsey, founder of Budget A Wedding - Save Now, Plan for a Lifetime.
Think back to weddings you have attended, and remember what was special, what stood out and what didn’t.
“If a large guest list was not a priority for you then cut it back, if food was not a priority then go with the chicken instead of the steak, if you can't remember what the last wedding cake you ate looked like, then go with a small desert table or tiered cupcakes instead,” she suggests.
Wedding Planner Checklist
Once you’ve set your priorities, it’s important to track your spending throughout the planning process. Using a wedding planner checklist will not only help you stay organized, but it can keep you on budget.
Eisinger suggests finding wedding planner checklists online, including the Wedding Channel’s Perfect Planning Checklist, a 12-month interactive checklist.
“Do the math and see how much it costs to plan your wedding,” Eisinger says. “Remember to factor in the stress, and then decide if it’s worth planning it yourself.”
Trim the Guest List
The guest list is a major factor of how much will be spent on your nuptials and it’s important to decide how many people you hope to have in attendance.
Eisinger says it’s difficult to accommodate a 200-person guest list on a $10,000 budget.
If a large guest list isn’t a priority to you, trimming names can really reduce your budget when it comes to seating arrangements, flowers, and food and beverages.
Find the ‘Perfect’ Venue
The perfect wedding spot is usually one of the most important decisions for brides, but it’s important you take into account more than just the name or location of a venue.
When checking out different locations check to see if they offer an all-inclusive package, which the experts say are cheaper than hiring outside vendors. You can also save a lot of money on decorations by choosing a place with built-in décor.
Say Goodbye to Saturday
Eisinger also recommends considering hosting your wedding on a Friday or Sunday in order to cut back on costs and competition for venue.
Venues and vendors tend to have significantly-discounted rates for less-traditional wedding dates and times. If you decide to get married earlier in the day you can save money on not having to serve dinner to guests.
Cut Back on Food and Drink
It’s not necessary to serve a full-course meal at your reception, and cutting out a course saves your budget.
“Some people consider cutting out the appetizer portion of their dinner, especially if you are hosting a cocktail hour,” says Eiseinger.
Meanwhile, she recommends assessing the cake situation. Wedding cakes often go to waste.Avoid wasting money and food by ordering half the cake with a fake top and real bottom.
Cut Costs on Attire
The dress. It’s all about the dress. But let’s be realistic, you wear it once.
By renting wedding attire, choosing a non-designer label or hitting up sales, you can significantly expand your budget.
It’s always nice to provide the rental option for your wedding party as well.
If you are only going to wear the bridesmaid’s dress once (and let’s face it, most end up in the back of the closet), what’s the point in make the purchase permanent?
Try Do-It-Yourself (DIY)
Eisinger said at least at least 50% of weddings today are going the way of DIY for at least one part of their wedding. She says 54% of brides try making their own programs and nearly 50% opt for DIY favors.
When it comes to wedding planning, DIY is a great way to cut costs, but know your limit, sometimes, the stress of the project isn’t worth the savings.