Wedding planning can be a challenging exercise, not to mention an expensive one. Having a budget is essential but sometimes your budget just can't quite accommodate all the wedding ideas you have in mind. Wedding planning becomes a matter of compromise, saving money in one area so that you can spend more in another, or saving money on the overall expense of the day.
The simple wedding ideas below will help you to save money on your wedding planning.
Wedding receptions can account for a significant amount of your overall wedding budget, usually around 40-50%. Wedding ideas to help reduce the amount you spend on your wedding reception are:
- Select a venue that doesn't charge a hire fee - Some hotels and restaurants will waive the venue hire fee if you achieve a minimum spend on food and beverages. This can save you hundreds (if not thousands) but you must be sure that the minimum spend they need is realistic for your wedding reception. Alternatively, other venues may not require a venue hire fee at all.
- Opt for a venue that doesn't require much decoration - Decorations and theming can really add up. By choosing a venue, such as a restaurant, that has stylish decor you won't need to worry about spending a fortune on hiring chair covers and cloths to cover ugly trestle tables and chairs, or other props to dress up an otherwise boring function room.
- Host a cocktail reception instead of a sit-down meal - Serving your wedding guests a two- or three-course dinner can cost upwards of $65 per guest. By hosting a cocktail reception and serving canapes instead you can easily save yourself around $20-$30 per guest. Another advantage is that a cocktail reception requires less space than a seated reception, so you can hire a smaller area and potentially save on your venue hire fees.
- Get married on a Friday or Sunday - Saturday afternoon or evening is the most popular time to be married. Venues know this and they impose a higher minimum spend on Saturday. By having your wedding reception on a Friday or Sunday (or even mid-week if it suits) you will reduce the amount that the venue insists on receiving by thousands of dollars.
- Avoid serving spirits and limit wine selection - It's not necessary to have an open bar for your wedding reception. The biggest cost saver is not serving spirits at all, or if that doesn't sit well with you then just serving them for the first hour. By limiting the wine selection in advance you can eliminate the possibility of your guests requesting premium wines that might blow your budget out.
Many brides spend thousands of dollars on their wedding dress and that's fine if that's your choice. However, if you've looked around at dresses and decided this is an area where you haven't budgeted enough, consider these money-saving wedding ideas:
- Buy a pre-loved wedding dress - Take advantage of those women who spent thousands and now need to recoup some money. They've worn their dress once and had it professionally cleaned. The dress still looks as good as new but costs around 50-75% of the original price, sometimes even less. This is a great way to pick up a designer wedding dress at a fraction of the retail price. Pre-loved wedding dresses can be found listed on the seller pages of many wedding directory websites.
- Buy from a bridal outlet store - If it's last season's (or last year's) wedding dress style it will cost less. By buying from a bridal outlet store you can save yourself hundreds off the retail price. The dresses may be classed as old stock but they've never been worn and the basic styles don't tend to change too much from year to year.
- Wear an evening gown instead of a wedding dress - There are some stunning evening gowns available, which can look just as elegant as a wedding dress but without the wedding dress price tag. While many evening gowns are available in white or neutral tones, this is the ideal option if you're looking to walk down the aisle in a coloured wedding dress.
Flowers and Decorations
Flowers and decorations add ambience to your wedding day. They are a lovely inclusion but can be budget breakers. Some budget relief can be found in the following wedding ideas:
- Forget formal floral arrangements - Instead of paying a fortune for a florist to create floral centrepieces for you, consider buying loose flowers and leaves from a flower market. These can then be placed or scattered on the tables at your wedding reception. As long as you keep the layout simple, the venue will often be willing to place these for you at no (or minimal) extra cost when they're setting the tables for your reception. If not, enlist the help of a couple of good friends to go in and place them for you.
- What decorations can your wedding venue offer you? - Many venues that regularly hold weddings often have their own decorative items, such as candles, candelabras, fairy lights, coloured table cloths and chair covers, already available for you to use. Some require you to hire them for a small fee, others include them in your function package at no extra cost.
- Scour discount and craft stores - These stores often have items at bargain prices that, with a little creativity, you can turn into a striking table centrepiece or unusual prop to decorate your wedding reception. Discount stores are great for inexpensive glass bowls, vases, candles and candle holders. Craft stores sell all kinds of interesting items such as mini painting easels (to display your place cards or menus), beads and ribbons, silk flowers, woven baskets and boxes, and a wide range of decorative paper and cardboard.
Design, printing and mailing costs associated with wedding stationery can be exorbitant and it's very easy to go overboard without realizing it. Here are some wedding ideas to keep your costs well within the budget:
- Do you need to print them? - Traditionally, people choose to print wedding date claimers, invitations and RSVP cards for their guests, which then require envelopes and postage that can significantly add to the expense if you're looking at having a lot of guests. Instead, why not design your own invitation as an electronic document that can be emailed to your guests. Guests then respond via phone or email, saving paper and postage.
- Check out the do-it-yourself options at stationery stores - Stationery stores carry a vast range of beautiful papers and cards. You can easily create your own invitations by overlaying paper printed with your wedding details (through your standard computer printer) to decorative card for a personal touch.
- Consider creating your own wedding website - Wedding websites are growing in popularity and are available for a small subscription fee from many wedding directories. Basically you create a website all about your wedding and include all the various details about the hen's and buck's parties, ceremony and reception. You can then create, within the website, invitations for these events and email them to guests. The website can even collate RSVPs for you.
If you're still looking for more wedding ideas then take a look through bridal magazines for inspiration. Many of the items shown in the magazines can be bought inexpensively online, or you can get creative and make them yourself.