Summer: the time of year where love fills the air and wedding invitations flood your mailbox. Typically the invitations portray the theme of the wedding and inform the invitee when and where the wedding will take place. Over the past couple months, I’ve been getting a ton of invites in the mail seeing how I’m at that age where everyone seems to be getting married (except me, but that’s another topic all together).
Anyway, if you haven’t heard, the average cost of a wedding these days’ is about $24,000. When you consider most people getting married are around 26 and that bill doesn’t include the rings or the honeymoon – the fact is that weddings are freakin’ expensive. In most cases, the couples getting married have just finished paying off their college debt and saving for their new home. Sure, some families help take care of a wedding. But there are definitely ways to host a $20,000 for less… much less.
Below are 8 money saving tips to help alleviate the expense of a wedding.
Tip #1. Off season weddings are much more affordable than a typical summer wedding. Also, it would also help to cut costs if it were scheduled on a Friday or Sunday. Depending on the time of the year, certain places may be decorated in advanced which can also encourage savings.
Tip #2. The average guest list is 178 family and friends long. This is possibly where you can end up saving most of your money considering everything – outside of the ceremony – is dependent on the head count. If possible, limit your guest list to 125-150. A good rule of thumb here: don’t invite more guests then you can spend at least a minute of your time with.
Tip #3. It is important to capture the memories created during your special day with photos, but getting professional photos could be cheaper than you think. Find a family member with some photography experience, a friend that you graduated with that majored in photography, or a cheap freelancer. Chances are they are willing to donate their services as a wedding gift or for much cheaper than a professional.
Tip #4. Food is probably going to end up costing the most out of all the wedding expenses. You may want to consider a buffet style meal instead of a sit down meal. It may also be feasible to have the caterers drop off the prepared food and set it all up and then leave. Or, if you’re really ambitious, do the catering yourself.
Tip #5. Wedding announcements and invitations can be found for FREE! There are a ton of services on the web that provide free personalized announcements which can be printed from your home computer. Use some theme colored ribbon to spruce up the look and feel of the card.
Tip #6. From my experience, I know how you ladies like to browse dresses in magazines and try on dresses at bridal shops like Alfred Angelo. The dress is always a pricey piece of weddings, but if you’re not afraid to wear last season’s fashions, hundreds of dollars can be saved by going with an older style dress.
Tip #7. Some marriages find it a must to have a live band at their wedding. Others may suffice with a DJ. Good live bands can cost as much as $2,000 or more. Instead, find a musically inclined friend that will do it for cheap or even free as a gift. If you really want to go cheap, find a play list online and download the songs to your iPod and use an amplifier to play it. I’ve seen this done at many weddings recently and found it to be just as effective as a DJ.
Tip #8. Certain beverages at the wedding can be extremely costly. Instead of hosting an open bar, have a beer wagon and a wine bar. If your families aren’t big drinkers only have a glass of champagne for the toast or just cut it out altogether.