Planning Your Wedding on a Budget
Not everyone has lots of money to sink into their wedding day. But lucky for you, there are plenty of people on Dave Ramsey's MyTotalMoneyMakeover.com community forums who know how to save money when it comes to celebrations. Let's find out how to save some marriage moolah!
First Things First
Don't spend one penny on anything that isn't either practically necessary or personally important to you. Figure out what your priorities are and make a budget. If you give yourself some breathing room, you won't get stressed out about overspending a bit here and there as needed. —blondchen
Keep the frills to a minimum. Bathroom baskets, out-of-town bags, candy buffets, midnight snacks, brunch the next day, and things like that are nice touches but unnecessary budget busters.
Date and Time
Have your wedding in the afternoon so you avoid mealtimes and can have a finger-food reception. Our wedding was at 2 p.m. and the reception was over by 6:30 p.m.
Consider a Sunday wedding. Our reception location fee was half the price on Sunday versus Saturday. Also, we had far greater availability of vendors like bakeries, photographers, and other stuff since they get booked up quickly on Saturdays. —blondchen
We are having a family-only wedding with a public reception afterward. People are bringing finger foods, and we're just going to make it a get-together. It has really helped our budget, and people feel more comfortable since it's not really going to be a formal affair. —Raybobus
Keep your guest list down. Food and drinks are one of the most expensive parts of the reception, so fewer people equals less expense. —Brianandlibby
Meet with at least three of each vendor and shop several stores to make sure you are getting the best price and are happy with the services provided.
Shop locations and get creative. Consider local parks, friend's/family's backyards, botanical gardens, churches/reception halls, local farms, museums, local businesses, etc.
Look at all package deals with a highly critical eye. Packages are often more expensive. —Brianandlibby
Know what's a good deal and what's not. I wandered around in several craft stores before buying anything so I knew what prices were and what I wanted to pay for things. —tigerfreak23
Expensive food doesn't mean good food. My uncle is a chef, and he catered our wedding, buying all the food in bulk and cooking as his wedding present to us. It was a great deal for both parties—it saved us tons of money and saved him money, too! —tigerfreak23
If you shop for dresses for your bridesmaids, look at prom dresses. They are much cheaper than dresses from a bridal boutique and can be just as beautiful. —tigerfreak23
Do as much as you can yourself (like invitations, flowers, set-up, etc.). At the same time, be careful, since doing it yourself is not always cheaper and sometimes the expense is worth the stress you are saved.
Do the music yourself. You can rent a public address system for about $100 and use a laptop or iPod to play the music. —Brianandlibby
Use dollar stores! They have great things to make centerpieces—I used candles from them as my centerpieces and they doubled as guest favors. It cut down costs and I didn't have to wonder what to do with the leftover centerpieces.
I made origami napkin rings. I bought some light blue transparent scrapbook paper on clearance and followed instructions I found online. It was a nice touch and much, much cheaper than buying "real" rings. —tigerfreak23