According to The Knot, the cost of an average wedding in the U.S. in 2019 was $33,900 which is an incredibly misleading number. The report includes the cost of an engagement ring in the overall cost which inflates the numbers significantly.
The average cost of having a ceremony and reception in 2019 was actually $28,000. But if you’ve been a reader of The Budget Savvy Bride for any length of time, you know that it’s totally possible to do it for less. Just browse our real weddings section for stacks on stacks of proof from real couples who’ve pulled their big days off for much less.
Savvy couples find ways to proceed within their chosen budget. With smart planning, it is possible to save significantly while still planning a meaningful event that will leave everyone in attendance with memories to last a lifetime. And it doesn’t have to come in the price of quality – sometimes simply doing a little extra research and making compromises in the right places can give you almost identical results with a smaller budget. That’s what we call planning your wedding the savvy way!
So here are some of the most important things that anyone planning a wedding should consider in order to Save Money On Your Wedding:
Keep the Guest List in Check
One of the biggest direct correlations with the cost of a wedding is the length of its guest list. Each person adds to the cost of the venue, food, drink, rentals, and other expenses, so a difference of even a couple dozen guests can really amount to sizable sum of cash.
When picking who you should invite, there are a few simple rules that can make the process easier – all the friends should be known by both to-be-weds, and any co-workers should be friends outside of work to be invited.
If you really want to reduce the total expenses, here’s a list of more tips:
- Don’t invite children, they usually don’t have much interest in the wedding and also might need additional costs for entertainment or activities to remain occupied;
- Only invite couples that are either married or are well on their way in the relationship.
Choice of Venue is Essential
Now it might seem obvious, but it needs to be repeated that finding the perfect venue might seem easy, but finding the right venue for the right price can be tougher. There are many incredibly beautiful venues available in all parts of the country, but most of them usually go for prices that are very inflated because, well, great venues tend to be popular and price increases due to demand.
Still, that doesn’t mean that you should settle for a second-tier venue or shell out most of your wedding budget on a prime one. Even the best and most luxurious venues can sometimes be attained for a much lower price than usual if you’re strategic in your booking. After you narrow your list to a few venues you like the most, constantly check to see if there are any last-minute cancelations – sometimes the owners might be willing to settle for less to fill an empty spot. Also, having a wedding on a weekday or in the off-season can increase your chances of getting a significant discount.
And if you want to really save a bundle on the venue and still have a special atmosphere, there’s always the option to create your own venue! It’s becoming increasingly popular to find a special spot in nature or even in a park and simply put together a nice cozy ceremony. Plus, you’ll get to take advantage of the natural beauty of an outdoor location which means less decorations will be needed! It might be more budget-friendly, but that does not mean it will be any less special than a fancy venue.
Shift the Focus from Alcohol
For many people, it might be difficult to imagine a wedding without booze. Even though it’s understandable for people to want to have a celebratory drink at a wedding, it doesn’t mean you have to provide a full open bar! Hosting an open bar can easily eat up thousands of dollars in your budget, so it’s better to be intentional with your booze choices. Why spend tremendous amounts of money on alcohol when you could spend it on an epic honeymoon for you and your spouse?
Instead, why not serve only beer and wine, which will make most people happy and won’t bust your budget. You could even buy your wedding booze at wholesale prices and, if the local laws permit, hire someone to pour them for your guests. If you want something a little more special, you can provide a signature cocktail or two which will add an extra personal touch to your event without excessive costs.
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Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.