Pulling Off A Great Wedding On A Budget

WeddingQ: From Michael in Colorado, What are ways to save money for a wedding?

Let me just start by saying that weddings are like home improvements. You get the money set aside to install the wood floors in your house, you start the project and three other things come up – outside of the budget. Needless to say, you almost always end up over budget and it may not even be on purpose. Now this is a loaded question Michael, so let me lay out for you how I am going to answer your question in a way that I feel will be most valuable to you, lined with my humble opinions.

Are you a big picture thinker or a details guy? Weddings require both sides of your brain! You have to first create a vision for what you want, while also mulling over all of the laborious details. Instead of diving into all of those laborious details, I would challenge you first to determine what items of this special day are most important for you, they are different for all of us.

The three that were most important to us on our big day were the photographs, video and beautiful setting. They were not serving lamb chops on gold plates, having fireworks set off or releasing doves into the wild. With that said, let’s look at the top areas that I’ve discovered people want to make “just right” in their wedding and how you might be able to save money in these areas for your wedding.

1) Setting – the setting is HUGE to most of us. How long have you and your fiancé been looking for the perfect place to get married? Most of us don’t want to get married next to a set of trashcans in the driveway (well, I did, see the picture on my Facebook). First, it would be really bad for the pictures and second, it would stink! So how do you get the perfect setting without spending oodles of money? Do you want to get married outside? One of my favorite settings for a wedding is in someone’s backyard…there is so much you can do without having to pay a hotel or venue to rent the space, pay for the alcohol, food, ect. There is something so romantic about a backyard wedding. If you are not into backyards, look into various parks up in the mountains, ect. If you want to have it at a venue, be sure to get several quotes and make sure that they know you are shopping around. Also ask to bring in your own food and alcohol, that will save money in the end too!

2) MemoriesMemories ain’t cheap when it comes to a wedding. We paid thousands of dollars for our photographs and video, but every dollar was worth it to us because it was one of the most important things to us. The first thing that you want to do is determine your budget for this area. Once you have a budget in place, start looking online for photographers in your area or ask friends for referrals. If you are perusing online, you will typically find a menu item on a photographer’s website titled , “Investment.” Make sure to tell the photographer exactly what you are looking for when it comes to your photos or ask them if they will “build” a package just for you. A lot of wedding photographers are smart to offer 3 or so packages at a certain price, but what if you want something smaller or less extensive, see bout negotiating with them on their packages to work the price according to your budget.

3) FoodFood is an important part of your wedding because you want to bless your guests for their presence – whether they’re local or they’ve flown out to come to your wedding, they are there to honor you. Now I have to admit, this did not make Stephen and I’s top three list. While we both love food, we really did not value it enough to spend thousands of dollars on it. There is one main tip that I’ll give you when it comes to this area and that is buffet style. If you want to save money on a wedding, whether at a venue or in a beautiful backyard, do these two things. #1 – Have the food catered (not as applicable depending on the venue, you may have no choice). You don’t want to have to worry about food and you don’t want your family to have to worry about food during your wedding, have it catered to relieve stress. If you do an outdoor wedding, rent nice dishes and place settings from a party rental company. #2 – Do buffet style. Whether at a venue or in a backyard, buffet style will save you money vs. having the food presented to your guests via host staff. While host staff would be nice, their time is what will cost you more.

Thank you for letting me share with you my experiences in this area, there are a lot of great resources and articles out there regarding this subject. I’ll be sure to post them on my website at www.moneysavvykate.com under “Money Answers.”

And don’t forget to check out my wedding photo on my Facebook page of our wedding by the trash cans in the driveway…

Good luck to you Michael, I pray that your wedding is blessed.

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