How to have a wedding on a shoestring budget.
So you’ve said yes! Congratulations. Now the planning starts, however planning your perfect wedding may leave you feeling deflated because as soon as you mention the word “wedding” most seem to take this a queue to ad an extra 0 (or 2) onto every price.
Budget a bit tight? Here are a couple of tips that could save you a small fortune. Only follow these bits of advice if you are confident with each service/person. If you’re expecting perfection, you will want to spend the money to hire a professional.
1. Recruit some student talent
Local universities are a great place for finding musicians and culinary services (especially for wedding desserts). Students are often grateful for the opportunity and you’ll be delighted with the cheaper rates.
2. Shop Early
Longer engagements are awesome when planning a budget-conscious wedding. Why so I hear you ask? For two reasons: you won’t get stuck with the cost of reserving vendors/services last-minute and you’ll have lots of time to shop for decorations. As a budget shopper, you probably understand the cycle of discount sales. If your engagement is longer than a year, you can take advantage of seasonal clearance sales, which are great for scoring beautiful decorations at great prices.
3. Get it “Off the Rack”
Specialty bridal shops are wonderful if you’re interested in a traditional gown shopping experience but you can also find beautiful bridesmaid dresses and even bridal gowns at clothing shops like Woollies, Edgars and Truworths. Shopping “off the rack” will provide a larger range of prices, which means you’re more likely to find some really great deals.
4. Pull Into Family and Friends
Friends and family often have talents you can tap into. Do you have an aunt who loves to bake or a friend who does photography on the side? See if they’ll offer up their talents for your wedding. Only do this if you’re completely comfortable with their skills.
5. Don’t Say Wedding!
When reserving services and rentals, try not to mention they’re for a “wedding.” Everyone seems to hike up their prices as soon as they hear that word. Refer to it as “an event” when you’re establishing price. Once the price is finalized, you can mention the occasion. It’s easier said than done but do your best and you might save some serious bucks.
6. Limit the Guest List
You’ve heard it over and over again but it is truly the best way to keep your wedding costs down. Comb through your guest list several times and remove as many people as you can. The smaller the guest list, the less money you spend on everything from wedding invitations to food.
7. Cut the Fresh Flowers
The cost of fresh flowers adds up fast! Granted, you can choose flowers that are in season and there are plenty of reasonably priced varieties but the fact is it’s easy to get carried away with flowers. Plus they’re a bit tedious as far as setting them up and getting rid of them after the wedding. You can add color with fake flowers, paper lanterns, poms poms, wedding napkins, bowls of fruit, greenery and more. Get creative!
8. Shop Smart for Invitations
Buying a traditional wedding invitation stationary (invite, response card and reception card) can be spendy. Consider opting for a more modern approach of having an invite designed digitally and emailing them out. This approach mean no postage costs and you have confidence in knowing your invite will reach it’s destination.
9. Skip the DJ
Although there are definite perks to hiring a DJ, it’s not a must-have with so much amazingly simple technology at your fingertips. Asking a friend or doing it yourself will definitely free up some big money but you will need to put a lot of thought and effort into your playlist, the app you use and the sound/light equipment you choose to rent.
10. Make Smart Food Choices
Food will likely be your biggest wedding expense so be smart about it! Buffets are often thought to be cheaper but this isn’t always true. Paying per plate is a more controlled expense and can be more cost-effective. Shop around for a catering service and be up front with how much you want to spend per person. Some caterers will show you a list of what they offer with pricing already determined. If you don’t see a price you’re comfortable with, ask if they are willing to create a meal option that’s cheaper. If not, move onto the next caterer.
We have a handy list of preferred suppliers available that can work with your needs to keep things in budget. Download it here.