How to Plan the Wedding of Your Dreams Without Breaking the Bank
The story is familiar to us all: Once upon a time, there were two people who fell madly and deeply in love. They decided to spend their lives together and host a beautiful wedding to celebrate. They found the perfect wedding dress, the perfect wedding veil, the perfect venue, the perfect rings– they had it all. Then, they lived happily ever after–under a formidable mountain of debt.
At times, it seems as though this is how the modern fairy tale is destined to go. After all, in 2015, the average cost of a wedding in the United States was between $29,000 and $31,000, and that’s not including the honeymoon! Unfortunately, wedding planning is only getting more expensive as time goes on. In fact, since 1990, wedding prices have increased 100%! With the whirlwind of emotions you feel while planning the big day, it’s easy to get swept up, go over budget (only 50% of couples manage to stick to their budget during the process), and land yourself in a hole that’s hard to dig out of. It’s definitely not a good way to start your married life together, but thankfully, it’s completely avoidable.
Set a Realistic Budget
You don’t have to be part of the 50% of couples who overspend when planning their weddings if you set—and stick to!—a realistic budget. Nothing is worse than having your heart set on something for the big day and then realizing later that you can’t afford it because you spent too much money on something else. So, do some research. Look up the average cost of everything in your state– food, photography backdrops, bridesmaid dresses, cake– and plan accordingly. Creating a spending plan you can follow will save you money and heartache in the end.
Don’t Let Emotion Take the Wheel
With all of the emotion and excitement (and stress) that comes with wedding planning, it’s no wonder so many people go over budget! Whenever you’re tempted to spend more than you planned to, ask yourself, “Will I be any less married at the end of the day if I don’t have ____?” or “Will people remember that I had _____ at the wedding?” and let the answers help you make your decision. So often, we get hung up on the tiny details when, at the end of the day, we’ll forget why they even mattered. You’re there to begin a new life with your true love, and having the “perfect” aisle runner or centerpiece is not worth starting your fairy tale off with debt. At the end of the day, you (and your guests) will remember the way you felt and the fun you had, not the tiny details.
Pick Your Priorities
Once you know how much everything costs, it’s time to do something a little crazy–start building a house. It might sound odd, but this (metaphorical) house is going to SAVE you money. A good house has four solid walls from which you build, and that is what you need to remember when planning your wedding. With your honey, decide which four things are the most important to you and toward which you are going to allocate the most money. The research you did on cost will help you zero in on the areas you find most important and the areas on which you’re willing to skimp. Maybe the photographer, the food, the bar, and your wedding dress are your main priorities, whereas you’re willing to give up a big fancy cake or a limo to transport you everywhere. Whatever those “four walls” may be, make your decision early, and make it together.
While some of those areas that don’t fall within the “four walls” you picked may require complete sacrifice, most of them won’t if you can get creative. While having a three-tiered cake that looks like it belongs in the Louvre rather than in a wedding hall may be out of the question, getting a small but pretty cake for you and your soon-to-be-spouse to cut, and serving sheet cakes to your guests is a great compromise. You can also look into displaying tiers of cupcakes on each of your tables, solving both a potential cake AND centerpiece dilemma. Consider buying fake flowers instead of using real ones– they’re often much cheaper and you can keep them forever. The possibilities are endless if you’re willing to think creatively. Just general shopping around can make a world of difference, too. Etsy is a good place to look for the things you want, and often the prices are less expensive than anywhere else you may find them. Plus, you’ll be supporting hardworking artists instead of a chain store.
When all else fails, DIY ‘til you die! Pinterest can be your BFF when wedding planning– it offers many fantastic ideas that won’t break your budget and gives you all the instructions so that you can make them yourself. Planning a craft day with your bridesmaids is a fun way to cut costs; you can make your own wedding décor while spending time with your favorite ladies!
Whatever your wedding ideas, following these tips will help to make your fairy tale day everything you’ve ever dreamed of.14