According to surveys conducted by Fortune.com, the national average cost of a wedding in 2016 is $35, 329. We've probably all read post after post on ways to save money in your budget when planning a wedding, and a lot of them involve copious amounts of research, and heavily time and talent dependent DIY's. I'm here to help you navigate where to spend your money and conquer your wedding budget.
First things first, outline your big-ticket, must-have items. Not all weddings are created equal, and yours does not have to follow trends or traditions. If you prefer to have your wedding in your parent's backyard or in a public park, you should do so. That will free up money for a more expensive dress or amazing food, if that's your priority. A great way to manage your budget is to allocate your priorities with your partner and determine where you want the majority of your resources to go.
Photography is an area where most wedding experts would agree: spend your money. You'll want to look at these photos for the rest of your life. You have to love them as much as you love your dress, venue. Find someone you trust and have a great rapport with, and spend the right amount of money to ensure you get the photos you like.
If you're looking to save money on photography, consider ending the photographer's time once the dancing music comes on. Why not set up a photobooth with a proper DSLR (these can be rented)? This can be a really fun way to engage your guests and make memorable images.
Food and Drink
For some, this is an area of high priority. But it is also somewhere with a lot of cost variety. Instead of having an open bar, consider creating your own 1-2 cocktails that your guests can choose from, which could be a fun and interesting way to reflect your personal taste.
As far as food, you can still have just as much deliciousness at your wedding if you have a brunch wedding. I have yet to meet anyone who does not love brunch, and this way you can get creative with what you serve, for example, an omelet bar! Without expensive meats and fish, this can bring down your tab significantly.
Florists can create some amazing spaces for a wedding, and we've got some pretty spectacular florists here on SMP. But ways to cut costs include in the decor. For example, your venue choice can inform a lot of what you need to get in the way of flowers, altar decor, table settings and vessels. Choosing a venue that includes a lot of greenery and natural elements already cuts down on what you need your florist to provide. That way, you can have a florist do up your bouquets, boutonnieres, and smaller pieces.
As far as vessels and table settings, consider buying them or renting them secondhand. So many brides purchase these pieces only have nowhere to store them, and so one bride's vessels can become your treasures.
This one's pretty easy! Nowadays, there are so many DIY hacks for save-the-dates and invitations, but something to add to your skill set and still save cash is to learn to do the calligraphy yourself. There are tons of free tutorials and classes online, and this way, you'll just have to get some nice envelopes and stationery. This is another cost-effective way to get creative and infuse some of your personality into the wedding.
Style Me Pretty Contributor - Goli Parvinian is a bridal enthusiast and masters student living in Melbourne, Australia. Over the past few years, she has worked for bridal brands in her hometown of Chicago, New Zealand and New York City. You can typically find her in a cafe, face-timing her nieces or out on a long run.