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The average American wedding hosts 136 guests and costs just more than $25,000, according to TheWeddingReport.com. Wow. Call me frugal, but that sounds like a big ol’ bunch of money no matter how much you earn. I concede that I may be biased, considering I’ve been married twice and spent less than $7,000 each time. But heck, on the other hand, you might consider me a bit of an expert at throwing a wedding on a shoestring.
If wedding bells are in your future, and you’d rather economize on the actual wedding and put the rest of your cash into a savings account or down on a house, stay tuned. Here are five easy ways you can have a wedding on a budget while still hosting a beautiful, memorable event.
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Tip #1: Clarify your wedding priorities.
To throw the wedding you really want while staying on budget, it’s important that you and your partner outline your priorities and put them in order. Agree on a budget you can afford. Then, choose which wedding elements are most important to you and spend most of your money on those things first. Once you’ve made decisions on the most important elements, feel free to skimp a bit on lower-priority items. For example, if a fancy wedding dress and an exclusive venue are must-haves, go ahead with those, but realize you’ll have to cut back in other areas. Nailing down your highest priorities first makes it easy to stay focused and avoid going over budget.
Tip #2: Have a destination wedding.
On average, each guest who attends your wedding will cost you roughly $186. To keep the attendance (and the expense) manageable, consider a destination wedding. When you get married in a faraway place, only those who really want to make the effort will come. The result is an intimate affair with only your closest friends and family. Another bonus of a destination wedding is the opportunity to bundle your wedding and honeymoon into a package deal, which can mean significant savings.
Tip #3: Do your own flowers.
Purchase a few rolls of floral tape and an assortment of bulk flowers from a local flower market and make your own bouquets. Pick up centerpiece bases at a discount retailer such as Walmart and assemble your own table centerpieces the evening before your wedding. They’re not difficult to make (YouTube videos help!) and with the average cost of wedding flowers coming in around $2,000, doing it yourself can save you a bundle.
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Tip #4: Tie the knot on a Friday or a Sunday.
Saturday is the most popular day for nuptials, and, as a result, it’s the most expensive day to rent a wedding venue. Why not consider having your wedding on a Friday night or Sunday to reduce the cost of your location? Bonus: A Sunday wedding gives your out-of-town guests an extra day to spend with you.
Tip #5: Skip the Massive Cake
Add the word “wedding” in front of cake and you may automatically double or triple the cost. Instead of blowing your budget on a huge fancy wedding cake, opt for a small beautiful (but still fancy) cake and purchase inexpensive sheet cakes to serve your guests. Good news? Sheet cakes are always more delicious than traditional wedding cakes anyway, so your guests will enjoy that taste treat. Another idea to save on your wedding cake is to ask a friend with a reputation for great baking to make cupcakes and arrange them in layers on a tier display for a beautiful presentation.
At the end of the day, your wedding is about you, your partner, and the people you love most. Making smart money decisions when planning your wedding is a great way to start your new life together on the right foot.
Monica Ricci founded Catalyst Organizing Solutions in 1998 and has been helping people change their lives ever since.
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