There’s no question about it – weddings can be expensive. But, there are many ways to cut costs – and if you’re reading this blog, I’m sure you’ve already read about many of them (hundreds possibly!). Having just planned a wedding, I know firsthand that it’s easy to get caught up in all of the fun ideas and costly details featured on websites from Pinterest to TheKnot.com. You can end up spending tens of thousands on planning the perfect day from the dress right down to the decorative details.
Here are three EASY ways to cut back on your costs AND your planning time and still have the wedding of your dreams!
1) Go Digital with Invites & RSVPs
The combined costs of Save the Dates and wedding invitations can add up to more than $500 on average. You can easily save some extra cash to put toward your special day (or honeymoon) by creating a wedding website for FREE at TheKnot.com. The site is easy to build from their pre-built website templates and designs, and you can even use their email template to send out the digital Save the Date, and other reminders, to your guests. In the Save the Date, be sure to refer your invited guests to your own special web address (provided by TheKnot.com) where they can find additional details on the wedding day as you nail them down. It takes a bit of time to build the site, but it saves costs and time in the long run – giving your guests a central location to find the details, as well as RSVP (so you’re not constantly fielding questions while preparing for your special day).
Don’t feel like you have to be so traditional with your formal invites either. Today, wedding invitations aren’t quite as conservative as they once were. Get creative. There are plenty of low-cost online options, like Vistaprint.com, that let you personalize your invites with photos and special messages, and send them to print and mail to your home at the click of a button. Don’t forget to direct your guests to your website to RSVP, select their dining options (if needed), or respond to other requests included in the formal invite. TheKnot.com gives you all of these options and they make saving on RSVP envelopes and postage easy, and recording and tracking your RSVPs even easier!
Estimated cost savings for 100 guests: $525.00 - $805.00
2) Flowers for a Purpose
The cost of wedding flowers can frequently exceed $2,000, but there are plenty of options to save. First, consider the purpose of the flowers and decide if you can sacrifice them in a few places, like the reception centerpieces for example. If you’re like me, you’ll most likely remember how they looked in the photography of the ceremony and of the wedding party, rather than the décor at the reception.
First, look for ways to improve the time and cost savings of decorating for the ceremony. I purchased a variety of silk flowers for the ceremonial lattice arch from Michaels.com. They were gorgeous and not only looked real, but held their shape and adhered to the arch, likely much better than real flowers. They were also very easy to shape and build on my own – a savings alone of about $200 (conservatively).
For the wedding party flowers, and even the reception centerpiece flowers, there are many low-cost online options to order gorgeous flowers in advance and have them delivered to the venue. I ordered my wedding and reception flowers from Costco.com, and there are many other discount flower websites and big box stores that offer these discounts, as well. Keep in mind that the options can be limited, so you if you want to save, you need to shop with an open mind (but don’t worry – you won’t sacrifice quality, as long as you check the online reviews first!).
For Costco.com, the wedding flowers shipped directly to the venue pre-assembled, and the flowers for the centerpieces shipped individually wrapped. Many of the local Costco stores will prepare the centerpieces for pick up at the store, but they do not offer this service on holiday weekends (I was married on Mother’s Day weekend). If you do decide to create the flower centerpieces on your own, make sure to bring a full group to help unwrap and create them. And keep it simple. It took several hours to create the centerpieces, but they turned out gorgeous.
Estimated savings: $300.00 - $1,700.00
3) Consider a lunch or cocktail reception
Many wedding savings tipsters suggest choosing an off-peak time of the year, or day of the week, and a non-traditional venue for your special day. But, if you’re like me, you still want the Saturday wedding at a gorgeous venue. In fact, after doing my research across various types of wedding venues, I did not find that many of the reception venues were much (if at all) cheaper on off-peak times or days of the week. For some venues, if you book early enough you will not have an issue securing your ideal wedding date or have to pay more for it.
Further, the non-traditional venues are most often not equipped with the tables, chairs, place settings, glasses, linens, etc. to host even a simple wedding or reception. Catering and rental fees can add a huge extra cost at non-traditional venues, which can be difficult to coordinate and end up as a wash as far as costs are concerned.
The best way to save at the reception venue? Food and beverage.
A lunch reception can often provide much cheaper options for food. And it’s likely your guests will consume less alcohol than during an evening event. An extra bonus: wedding photos in daylight hours also turn out better because of the lighting, whether the sun is shining or you have a few clouds.
Still looking to host an evening event? Consider hosting a cocktail reception instead of a full plated or buffet dinner. Anyway you look at it, there’s a lot to fit into a three-to-five hour reception. Offering finger food, appetizers and pre-planned signature beverages at cocktail tables to coincide with dancing and toasts gives you much more time to enjoy your guests. You not only cut back on costs, but if you’re able to shorten the reception by an hour or so, you cut back on hourly rentals for the venue, DJ, photographer and other reception staff.
Estimated cost savings vs. dinner reception:
- Wedding luncheon: $4,000.00 - $6,600.00
- Cocktail reception: $5,800.00 - $7,500.00
Go digital with your invites, rethink your flowers and pare back your food and beverage. With these three simple steps you can save a lot of money – and even time – and still have the wedding of your dreams. Congratulations and best wishes! Enjoy this special time in your life and, most importantly, your lifetime of love.