Saving money is always an appealing concept, for just about everybody, but even for people who are particularly conscious of keeping costs low, there are a few occasions and types of events that seem to demand high costs no matter how hard you try. For example, even the most consciously thrifty of us tend to occasionally spend a good bit on significant purchases or major events.
One such event that comes to mind is weddings, which can always get very pricey very quickly, even if you’re trying your hardest to save money. However, you should know that there are a number of steps you can take toward having a more affordable wedding. Of course, a few things will always be expensive – for example, if you browse for a 77Diamond Engagement Ring, you’ll likely find that while some rings are cheaper than others, they’re all serious investments. However, for many of the smaller aspects of weddings, you can be quite successful with keeping costs low. Here are ten of Martha Stewart’s best tips to help get you thinking in the right way.
1. Have your wedding reception at a venue that is already equipped for a large event. Many people spend huge amounts of money bringing in everything from tents, tables and chairs to candlesticks and glassware. Instead of losing all of the money that this sort of preparation involves, try to find a venue, like a nice restaurant, that is already equipped for an elegant dinner and reception.
2. Shop intelligently. Because a wedding is meant to be a one-time event, many people fall into the trap of only shopping at stores with wedding themes. However, whether you are looking for decorations, accessories, flowers, or any number of other wedding objects, you can still shop the same way you normally shop to save money – utilize department stores, online shopping, etc. to help keep your budget manageable.
3. Do not restrict your options to an “in-season” wedding. There are certain times of the year that have been unofficially designated as good times for weddings. However, depending upon your own preferences and what type of wedding you’re having, you can actually save a good bit of money on venue rentals and other expenses by having your wedding during a non-peak season.
4. Consider hand-written invitations. Obviously, this sounds a bit tedious, and it can indeed mean a bit more work for you. However, having designs and fonts printed can add up quickly, and hand-written invitations are unique and genuine anyway. Unless you are inviting too many guests to manage it, doing this part by hand can save you a good deal of money.
5. DJ your own wedding. Of course, if you want live music, you will have to explore other avenues – however, for the portions of your party that would normally be DJ’d, you can simply use your (or a friend’s) iPod or computer and a well-planned play list. After all, thanks to programs like iTunes, it is now very easy to manage your own party’s music.
6. Don’t start everybody off with champagne! It’s nice for the toast, but the only essential aspect of this is that the bride and groom have champagne. If you give everyone a glass, you’ll end up wasting a lot – it’s a better idea to keep the champagne reserved only for those who specifically ask for it.
7. Do not blindly reserve a wedding cake without considering what you’ll be wanting for dessert. Many people actually prefer other things to wedding cakes, and if this is the case for you you should take advantage of your preference, as wedding cakes can add up. One nice idea is to have a selection of different pies, so that each guest can have something he or she likes.
8. Choose your bar well in advance. Particularly if you hire a catering company or reserve a wedding party venue, your alcohol costs can become excessive without your even having had a say. If you carefully select nice but inexpensive wines, a strategic beer selection, and perhaps ingredients for a few cocktails, you can keep costs down.
9. Borrow things! Whether it’s jewelry, the engagement ring, a wedding dress, a groom’s suit, etc., you should use any acceptable family heirlooms or hand-me-downs that you can. Of course, you don’t want to take out your personal touch or preferences, but you may be able to save quite a lot of money by borrowing just a couple of things.
10. Serve family-style meals. Let’s face it, many of us tend to eat whatever is put in front of us, which means that if you plan for a plate per person, you’ll have to serve that much and more! Putting platters of food on tables for people to choose from not only encourages a communal dinner hour, but also cuts down on cost, as you provide less overall food but people still manage to fill themselves!
As you can see, there are numerous ways you can cut your wedding costs down. It just takes a bit of exploration.
If you are married, what kinds of things did you do to keep costs down?
We got married in our back yard. That did mean renting tables, chairs, and linens, but otherwise the venue was “free” and available during peak wedding season. Being outside meant we could keep flowers to a minimum. We used bowls of fresh cherries as centerpieces (cherries have special meaning to our family). Music was a playlist on our computer. It was a fun, relaxed, personal day for us and our guests.
That sounds like a beautiful wedding. My sister in law did something similar. It worked out really well. I think the best thing was the homemade pies!
We didn’t have a midnight buffet (don’t think anyone is ever hungry enough to eat those anyways!), we had my awesome sister in law take our photos, and we ordered some things online (invitations, favours). These things all helped!
Sounds great. We bought our own candles and decorations and we didn’t get married in a church which saved a ton.
We did the backyard thing. One friend gave her band’s performance in the yard as a gift, another few took grill duty to feed the hordes. Hub’s best friend got an online minister degree and married us. Rented a margarita machine, had a keg, dancing on the lawn under the stars- and dozens of people told us it was the best wedding ever. Total cost- less than $3000, including drinks, food, tables and chairs, flowers and cake (both from local grocery store and LOVELY).
Wow, sounds awesome. My sister in law’s brother married them after taking an online course. It was great how personal the ceremony was a result.
Borrowing things from friends and family saved me a lot of money, I did a lot of things for my wedding instead of hiring someone to do it for me. Some of the things I did include making wedding invitation cards and thank you card, making my own decoration, making my own cake. I also saved money on my wedding dress I bought on Ebay for a good bargain.
Very true. We didn’t for our wedding but we do as practice borrow a lot of things. It saves a ton, especially when you only need to use something once or twice.
Hubby and I wanted a very personal wedding. I made all of the flowers…all the way from bouquets, corsages, centerpieces, etc. We were married in December so we took advantage of the Ficas trees decked out in white lights in the church as well as the HUGE, decorated Christmas tree in the sanctuary. I made each of our favors. My dress was purchased from a shop that had used it in a wedding show previously so I got a huge discount. For the reception, I rented out the multi-purpose room at the school I taught at. Thankfully, I have TALENTED sisters and sis-in-law. The place was gorgeous when they were done! We had a buffet that my family did (one sis is a chef) and my sis-in-law made my cake as a wedding gift! My hubby’s landlord (part time photographer) did our pics as a gift! It was a GREAT day!
Your wedding sounds amazing. I love all of the personal touches. I think that is the best part of doing things yourself. You really have a knack for finding opportunities. I love the idea about getting a previous wedding show dress. That is genius. I will definitely be passing that on to friends of mine getting married.
Great tips! I especially love your tip on serving family style meals at the reception. You doesn’t just allow you to save up on the food budget, it will also encourage interaction among the guests.