You can have a fantastic wedding without breaking the bank. Getting married is a huge milestone in life, but the ceremony shouldn’t leave you in debt for years. There are several things you can do to cut costs when planning your wedding. Here are our ten tips to save money on your wedding day.

1. Stick to a Budget

Determine your budget before you decide on anything else. Knowing ahead of time how much you can afford to spend helps you to approach things with a more realistic and better attitude. If you realize you can’t have that horse drawn carriage right from the beginning, you won’t get your hopes dashed after you have already started planning for it. Prioritize what is most important to both of you, without letting comments from others sway your opinions. Remember that this day is about the two of you and should include the things you want; not what others want. Once you have established a budget, it is important to stick to it. There is no point in creating a budget if you are going to ignore it.

2. Trim the Guest List

Your second cousin you haven’t seen in 10 years really doesn’t need to be invited to the wedding. Sit down together and create a list of the most important people you want there for your special day. Immediate family and close friends should be your priorities, without feeling obligated to invite others. Some couples will feel pressure from parents and others to invite specific people, but a simple explanation of your budget can often solve this dilemma. Many are choosing destination weddings to help them trim the guest list naturally without feeling like the bad guy. You can determine who you want to make sure attends and whether they can afford the trip, and even help if it is in your budget. For some great California destination wedding ideas see (link to blog).

3. Outdoor Locations Provide Their Own Décor

Décor can be one of the most time consuming and an expensive part of a wedding. Choosing an outdoor location that already provides a natural beauty can save on both. Fresh flowers are extremely expensive, but if your backyard has a beautiful garden then look no further. Nature provides some already perfect décor for weddings, from gardens to parks to someone’s backyard there are many low-cost locations that can limit your expenses and time for decorations.

4. Backyard Wedding Benefits

A backyard wedding can provide many benefits, the savings on decorations are just one of them. Wedding venues can be costly, and your backyard or a friend’s is free. If you have access to borrow tables and chairs you can set them up in advance and save on rental costs. Many venues require you to purchase their food and alcohol, sometimes at great expense. At home you can hire a caterer, food truck, or even prepare your own food with the help of family and friends, as well as purchase your own alcohol.

5. Food for Thought

Food is one of the largest expenses for weddings, it is the reason you trim the guest list. Even with a reduced number of guests, food will be a large portion of your budget. There are numerous options for reducing your food costs. First, choose a venue with reasonable food options, or even better, a venue that allows you to bring in your own food or a food truck like a BQB or taco truck. You may have some great chefs or grillers among your family and friends so consider asking them to help. By adjusting the time of day, you can offer less expensive food options, such as breakfast or lunch verses dinner, or even skip mealtimes and offer finger foods.

6. Down the Drinks

No, we are not suggesting you guzzle the drinks! We are recommending ways to cut down on the cost of alcohol. Your first option is to eliminate alcohol, which also reduces your liability risk. If that is not a preferred option for you, then consider a venue that allows you to bring in your own alcohol. This allows you to purchase alcohol on sale and saves you from paying the venue’s top dollar. You could also consider providing a cash bar which again limits your liability risk as well as removes the cost of alcohol from your budget.

7. Time for Savings

When you hold your wedding is an important decision and can also be a way to save money. If you are looking for a June wedding, so is everyone else, which means you are going to pay top dollar for everything from venue to caterers because they are in high demand. Consider planning your wedding during off-peak times. Many venues and caterers will offer a discount during their slow seasons, which can vary depending on where you are considering holding your wedding. Typically, especially in California, the prime dates are going to be May and June, or September and October, so consider avoiding those dates, but be aware of weather patterns if planning an outdoor wedding, though snow can make for beautiful pictures. Even time of day can save you money if you plan a morning or midday wedding verses one in the evening, especially when it comes to the food.

8. Forget the Flowers

Fresh flowers can be beautiful, but they are awfully expensive. Consider decorating your tables with non-floral décor. Some great simple ideas include candles with mirrors for an evening wedding, it creates a nice ambiance. Choosing some pretty containers and filling them with candy creates a simple centerpiece that not only looks great but provides your guests with a treat. Theme weddings are popular, so deer antlers or sticks may even fit your outdoor décor. This is a great opportunity to be creative and put your own touch on the wedding decorations without breaking the bank.

9. All About You

Do-it-yourself is the name of the game when it comes to saving money. Any area of the wedding where you can make it yourself will free up your budget for other areas. Maybe you can make your own cake or cook your own food. You can create your own décor and put your personal touch on any wedding favors. Coming up with ideas for creating your own table decorations or wedding favors that fit your theme is as simple as a quick online search. Let your creativity shine through, even if that means you solicit some help from friends.

10. Finagle Your Friends

While do-it-yourself will save you money, you can always include your talented friends in the process. If you have any creative friends, ask for their help in developing ideas for creating your wedding favors and décor. Any chefs in the family? Talk to them about the food and how they can help you save money. Is there a DJ in the house? Ask them to provide music for your wedding at a discount. Maybe you have a budding photographer in the mix, that can save you money on capturing those precious moments. Rather than renting tables and chairs reach out to numerous friends and borrow theirs. Friends and family like to be involved in wedding plans, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Whatever you decide to do for your wedding, remember that the event is all about your commitment to your loved one. Everything else is just icing on the cake, so you can modify that to fit your budget and still have the wedding of your dreams.

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