While the average cost of a wedding dropped to $26,501 in 2011, it’s still a high price for many couples working with a tight budget. If you can’t save enough to meet the five-figure price tag of a typical wedding, there are some ways to reduce costs without compromising too much on quality and the overall experience. Planning ahead and choosing the right dates can help to shave off a good amount of money from the average wedding bill.
Here are seven ways to save on your wedding costs this year:
1. Scale back on the extras.
Costs of small items such as party favors, wedding invitations, save the date cards, place cards, and even centerpieces can really add up. Remember that you’re buying in bulk and will probably end up purchasing several hundred of a single item. Calculate how much you are spending and choose lower-priced alternatives whenever possible.
2. Avoid peak season.
May through October is typically the peak wedding season and you’ll find that prices for services, hotels, and other wedding-related items are at their highest during these times – it’s also harder to find banquet space and catering services at a reasonable price during peak season. Plan your wedding during January or March and you’ll be able to get more reasonable prices from wedding service providers.
3. Go for the faux-bottom wedding cake.
It’s all too easy to overspend on the dessert table and end up spending hundreds, even thousands of dollars, on the wedding cake. Remember that many guests will pass up dessert after a big meal and a long night of dancing, socializing, and drinking. Consider buying a faux-bottom wedding cake so you are only paying for cake that will actually get eaten.
4. Rent your dress.
You’re only going to be wearing that dress for a few hours, so why spend thousands of dollars on something that probably won’t make an appearance again? Consider renting the designer dress that fits you perfectly instead of shelling out the high price for a gorgeous gown. Make sure you take plenty of pictures to capture those special moments in your beautiful dress.
5. Turn to travel deal sites for the honeymoon.
Get a great deal on your honeymoon package by scoping out travel deal sites for a bargain. Many daily deal sites now offer travel packages that include multiple night stays at a discount, and perks like a free breakfast, free upgrades, and other enhancements. Unless you have a specific destination or resort in mind for the honeymoon, it won’t hurt to check out some of these deals and see what catches your eye.
6. Have a friend or family member handle the catering.
Are there any chefs, caterers, or gourmet cooks in your social circle? Consider having a friend or family member manage all aspects of catering for the wedding and you’ll be able to save a significant amount on food and décor. Spend a day with them to create a menu and pick out table settings.
7. Choose the right flowers.
Roses, orchids, and other exotic flowers are going to eat away your wedding budget. Peonies and other less-popular flowers can still create the beautiful backdrop and setting you want, but at a fraction of the price. Talk to some local florists about the different options available so you can save a good amount of money just on the décor.