It’s no secret that weddings can get costly. According to wedding industry survey site theweddingreport.com, in 2016 the average cost of a wedding in the Midwest was $25.8K. Now that’s a lot of cash to save up! But don’t lose any sleep stressing about how to pay for your big day. We’re here to give you practical and creative advice on how to save $5,000 to $10,000 (or more!) while planning your wedding.
To get you started, pick two or three things to splurge on and stay simple with the rest. Decide what’s most important to you on your wedding day. Do you want to splurge on the venue, photographer, and wedding dress? Great idea! For the rest of the wedding planning, take a look at these useful tips and tricks on how to plan a gorgeous wedding on a budget.
1. Three words: Do It Yourself. There’s never been a better time to take up the art of DIY. With the help of Pinterest and the millions of talented bloggers out there, you can find any kind of elegant décor with detailed instructions that enable you to create a romantic style yourself for half the cost. So get a bottle of wine (or three) and call in the bridesmaids for a fun night of wedding crafting!
2. Shop smart when it comes to invitations. There’s no doubt about it, stationery can get incredibly expensive. According to theweddingreport.com, the average cost for 150 invitations and response cards in 2016 was $224. Add in engagement announcements ($107), save-the-date cards ($111), postage ($104), ceremony programs ($126), reception menus ($124), table names/place cards ($84), and thank-you cards ($89), your total comes to a whopping $969 for stationery alone!
Does making your own invitations sound like way too much work? We get it! In that case, we love BasicInvite.com. Head on over to their site and save 20% on beautifully elegant stationery with our exclusive offer below.
Tip 1: To save even more, skip the unnecessary items when it comes to stationery. Table names, place cards, engagement announcements, save-the-dates, and ceremony programs look pretty, but aren’t practical. A few guests may save these items on the fridge at home, but in reality most of them (and the dollars spent on them) end up right in the trash.
Tip 2: Send out your response cards without the postage paid for the return. Realistically speaking, many guests may not even return the pre-stamped response card and you’ll have wasted the money on the postage. If you don’t receive a response card from everyone on your guest list, utilize social media to RSVP or call to be sure they’re coming instead.
3. Forget about the linens. Are you stuck trying to make a ton of decisions about the linens at your reception? Well we’re here to tell you something unexpected – you don’t need them! With the right kind of tables you can forgo the linens altogether and create a stylish, natural, and industrial-chic look at your wedding reception.
Tip: With our Edison Package here at Little Lights, worry less! We provide you with handsomely handcrafted farmhouse tables and chairs, with seating for up to 80 guests.
4. Ask a friend to DJ as a wedding gift. Do you have a charismatic, outgoing and technologically-minded friend or family member? They might be a good candidate for emceeing your wedding. As a wedding gift, your DJ can rent the equipment and DJ at your reception, saving you around $1,000!
Tip: Give your DJ a playlist and schedule of events. Professionally referred to as the “Master of Ceremonies”, he or she will communicate to your guests, maintain the sequence of events, keep the evening flowing, and introduce the wedding party and dances.
5. Ask friends or family to provide the alcoholic beverages as a wedding gift. Providing your own alcoholic beverages rather than an open bar is a fantastic way to save money at your reception, but to take it a step further, why not ask family or friends to buy the wine, beer, and champagne as a wedding gift?
Tip: Here at Little Lights, we have an arrangement with the Down Under Brew Pub where you can prepay a tab for your guests. Guests can go downstairs (same building!) and order drinks until the tab runs out. (Conversely, save even more by having your guests buy their own drinks.)
6. Don’t be afraid to negotiate prices with vendors. If you’re speaking with a vendor about the menu for your reception and they have packages already organized for you, ask if there’s any way you can knock off a few dollars by changing some things around. Don’t be shy – the vendor wants your business and may change things around to keep it.
7. Buy water and soft drinks incrementally. So you’ve decided to provide all the drinks for your guests. No worries! In the months leading up to the wedding, start buying bottled water and pop incrementally. Any time you stop into the store for groceries, add packages of bottled water and pop two at a time and without even thinking about it you will have stockpiled all your guests’ drinks!
8. Skip the professional baker for your cake. Do you have a friend who’s into baking? Ask them to make your cake as a wedding gift, or save a ton by offering to pay them a much more affordable rate. Keep the cake simple (think white buttercream with beautiful texturing and real flowers) and ask them to practice before your big day.
9. Go back to basics with wedding photography. Order the basic package from your wedding photographer and ask friends and family (especially the ones with nice cameras!) to take pictures at the reception.
Tip: Don’t want to miss the important moments at your reception? Ask your photographer to add 2 hours to the end of the wedding day and pay them hourly. When the reception begins, schedule your first dance and cake cutting at the start so you don’t miss those special moments.
10. Skip the favors cost. Combine your favors and thank-yous into one tasty treat to-go for your guests!
Make a pop-corn, candy, donut or cookie bar with baggies for your guests to take home, and a special thank-you note on the bag. Make it even more special by including family. Grandmas, aunts, and all the littles would love to help you by home-baking your wedding treats.
As you can see, your wedding day doesn’t have to break the bank. You can save money AND have the wedding of your dreams. For even more expert tips on planning your wedding, be sure to head over to LittleLightsEvents.com for wedding planning services. We LOVE helping brides-to-be design the wedding of their dreams. Happy planning!