Weddings are big business. People spend a lot of money on them, and the companies that specialise in providing goods or services for them are practically recession-proof. People are always getting married.
If you are one of the lucky betrothed, you may have some worries about how it will affect your personal finance. It may be one of the biggest celebrations of your life, but do you have to spend the rest of your life paying it off?
As always, Money Dashboard have some solutions to help out. The following 13 budgeting tips will help you enjoy your special day without stressing about the cost.
1. Negotiate with Your Venders
Whenever a vendor quotes a price, explain to them that you are on a budget and ask if they can provide the same for a 20% discount. They may say their prices are fixed and if they are the best deal you can hire them anyway. However, you may find they are willing to offer some kind of discount.
Make sure you understand what the fee includes and what it doesn't include. Staffing charges, storage, or cleaning fees at the venue may be extra and travel to the location for photographers and musicians may count as additional expenses. Read any contracts before signing and look out for added fees.
2. Get The Family Involved
Doing things DIY may seem like a good idea but buying, cutting and arranging flowers, fabricating banners and hand-making centrepieces can be extremely time-consuming. Not to mention the artistic eye and craft skills needed. Consider asking family and friends involved in the wedding party to chip in and help a few days in advance.
3. Greenery and Flowers
A conservative amount of flowers can be supplemented with greenery such as ferns, palms or herbs like lavender and rosemary. These are often cheaper especially if you buy local, seasonal plants. Flowers for the ceremony can also be repurposed for the reception. Put someone in charge of relocating them after the service.
4. The Wedding Cake
A large multi-teared wedding cake is an expensive purchase. Consider having a smaller decorated cake for the cutting the cake ritual photo op and serve the guests a sheet cake or something less pricey like cupcakes or brownies.
5. The Wedding Dress
Consider renting a gown rather than buying one. When will you ever wear it again? Alternatively, if you want to keep it forever look into buying a used gown or a designers' sample. Oxfam have a bridal section on their website.
6. Photos and Video
If your photographer charges by the hour use their time wisely. Have them start shortly before the ceremony begins and leave after the group photos. Your guests can take their own photos with disposable cameras left on the tables or just with their phones. Similarly, you could hire a videographer just for the ceremony and not the reception.
7. Package Deals
Some entertainment companies will provide a discount for booking more than one service such as a videographer, band and DJ.
8. Catering Estimate
Ask your caterer for an estimate based on your minimum guest turn-out. If you pay in advance for your full guest list you may end up paying for people that don't turn up.
9. Restaurant Buyouts
Instead of the traditional wedding venue and caterer, see if your favourite restaurant does buyouts. You may find it cheaper and you know you're going to like the food!
10. Buffet vs Sit-Down
Although it seems like buffet should be a cheaper option it means preparing more food than is likely to be eaten and people will help themselves to multiple courses or expect a wide variety of foods. All these costs counter-act any savings from cutting out table service. Compare prices before deciding.
11. Scale Back the Booze Bill
If you are planning an open bar restrict it to the first hour or until a monetary threshold is reached. Restrict the bar to house spirits leaving out premium brands and cocktails. See if you can provide your own booze. That way you know you are not paying for drinks at a premium and you get to keep whatever is not used. Serve only beer and wine; a limited choice means you can buy in larger quantity and receive the benefits of bulk buying.
12. Forgo The favours
Favours or token gifts for your attendees are a nice treat, but perhaps unnecessary. If you'd like to do something instead, donate money to charity and put a card on each table explaining. The donation can also be a tax deduction and you may inspire more donations from guests.
13. Consider a Wedding Planner
While it may seem like having a wedding planner only adds the expense of their own fee remember a good planner will have relationships with wedding vendors and may be able to get a better discount. They will also know where to find better deals and how to negotiate prices down. Make sure you are up front about what you want to spend in total on the wedding and you can work with them to make sure everything stays within budget.