|Photo by Kelly Bauer|
For obvious reasons, this is generally the first place to go when making cuts in a wedding budget. We invited 25 people to our actual ceremony, and an additional 15 to our reception. This keeps our costs low and really made us consider who we wanted to be a part of our special day. (Questions to ask when trying to answer that question: How often do we speak to this particular person? What will we think when we see them in our wedding photos 20, 30, 50 years from now?) We also hope that our guests will realize how intimate our day is and realize how much they mean to us as friends and family.
Cutting down a bridal party will save you money (and probably headaches) in the long run. Hosting fewer people for rehearsal dinners and cutting costs on bridal party gifts can help you save some change. My fiancé and I opted to have one person stand with each of us: his uncle will be his best man, and my sister will be my maid of honor.
Time of year
We are getting married in October, and although the Internet claims fall weddings are "in," it's definitely not the peak summer season for weddings. Because of that, we were able to score a deal on a photographer who has a fairly clear schedule in the fall. Some venues also provide discounts for those looking to get married in off-months (fall, winter, early spring.)
We selected a restaurant's banquet room for our reception. It has room for a dance floor, food (obviously) and ample parking. By selecting a restaurant venue we were able to avoid the costs that come with the idea of a "wedding venue." By putting the name "wedding" or "reception" on a venue, you can see costs skyrocket into the thousands. Restaurants generally cost you a small base amount and the amount for dinner. For example, a local reception hall in our area is $1,200 to rent out, which doesn't include booze, food or anything other than the hall itself. For our restaurant location, we pay for food and service only.
Music is my everything. I couldn't imagine the big day without it. That being said, I already own a lot of music, and it wasn't in our budget to drop $1,000+ dollars for a DJ, especially when our venue has an iPod hook-up included. So, we started digging through my 7,000 songs on my personal iTunes. My fiancé and I spent one day creating dinner and dancing playlists and discovered how "cross fading" your music on iTunes can create a DJ effect by eliminating the awkward silence between songs. We think that because we carefully selected each song, the music will be one of the most unique parts of our day.
We may not be floral artists, but my mother and I created two floral bouquets, (including the bridal bouquet!) seven boutonnieres and five corsages out of fake flowers from our local craft store for less than $100. I implore you to find a florist who can do that for cheaper.
Although we've had more work to do than most (after all, we did spend a few hours just organizing our music!) we have had so much fun creating special elements for our wedding. Plus, we saved money, which was really the only option we had if we wanted to have a wedding at all.
I'm hoping to give you an update on how all of these things actually fared for our wedding in just a month and a half! Be sure to check back to see how it all went down. Hopefully we will be starting married life debt-free!
Do you have any money saving tips?