Numerous reports show the average cost of a wedding for U.S. couples nears $30,000. That’s an incredible amount of cash for just one day.
While it’s important to celebrate the union, it’s also important to weigh the financial impact on your future. If the cost of your wedding affects your ability to pay bills, manage living daily expenses and meet savings goals, then it’s wise to scale back.
To help you make the most of your big day – without the big price tag – we offer six money-saving tips:
Avoid “Marriage Markup”
Did you know some florists, caterers and other vendors charge more for wedding parties than other types of similar-sized parties? This is referred to as the “marriage markup.” To avoid these extra costs, comparison shop before finalizing any contracts with vendors. You can also negotiate with many vendors. They want your business, and may be willing to reduce their costs to get it.
Keep it Close to Home
You can save thousands of dollars by hosting the wedding at your house, or at the home of a family member or friend. Plus, having a wedding in a familiar place can make guests feel more comfortable. You also won’t need to deal with time and date restrictions.
Make Food a Family Affair
Caterers aren’t your only options to feed a wedding party. Smaller weddings can usually get by with the cooking skills of friends and families. You can also split duties with a caterer to save cash. For instance, have a crafty friend make the cake, and pay a caterer for the lunch or dinner, or vice versa. In addition, you can save money by offering a selection of drinks, as opposed to an open bar. You can also offer an array of appetizers and small plates, rather than a full dinner.
You can save on flowers for décor, corsages and boutonnieres by selecting seasonal flowers. Candles are also an inexpensive and elegant alternative. And remember, simple is better. Elaborate centerpieces aren’t necessary or expected, and they can block the view of onlookers.
Put your creative skills to use by designing your own invitations and getting them printed at a local copy center. There are also numerous websites offering inexpensive invitations, such as Garnter Studios or Wedding Paper Divas. Personalized invitations can be the most memorable. For inspiration, consider using photographs or other mementos that have meaning in your relationship. You can save a ton of money on postage by asking guests to RSVP through e-mail or on the phone, as opposed to RSVP cards with pre-paid postage.
Save on a Dress
Check out consignment or vintage retail shops for gently used wedding gowns. There are some unique finds at a fraction of the new cost. You may also want to explore non-traditional wedding dresses that often come with a cheaper price tag.
Keep it Small
Wedding costs increase as the number of guests increase. To save significantly, keep it small with only close family and friends. A smaller gathering can be more memorable and intimate, bringing all in attendance closer together.
While we’re on the subject, read more about the hidden costs of weddings.