The Knot Worldwide’s 2019 Global Wedding Report showed that in 2019, the national average cost to have a wedding is nearly $30,000 in the United States. Yikes! If you’re looking to be an outlier in this statistic for your big day, but still want it to be cohesive and well put together, look no further because we’ve reached out to some past brides and have rounded up some great budget friendly wedding tips that they used to help them and you still have some savings for a honeymoon.
First up: Tackling The Planning Process
1. According to a forum on weddingwire.com, past brides advise to avoid a wedding planner, but consider a day of coordinator. A full-scale wedding planner can cost around $2000 on top of all of your other expenses, and although planners may be able to get you some discounts on vendors, it all depends on who they have connections with. If you’re feelings anxious about it all coming together, a day of coordinator can relieve some stress on the actual day. They assist in the weeks leading up to a wedding and confirm plans with vendors so you don’t have immense stress when you should be getting excited.
2. Keep a detailed budget and timeline full of checklists and due dates so you can keep track of your expenses for each category. Pinterest has tons of wedding to-do lists that give you ideas on what to do and when.
3. Start with the bigger details such as the venue, reception, cake, dress, etc. and save the smaller details for when you’re waiting on things like your dress to arrive. Speaking of smaller details-
Next up: Decorations
1. Make your own centerpieces; Pinterest is teeming with DIY centerpieces for any style wedding. Rustic farmhouse décor (which is very popular right now) can be made with simple materials, because simple is just as beautiful as extravagant.
2. Employ your creative bridesmaids and family members to help with signs and favors. You can get really creative with favors that won’t take you a lot of time or money. Check out these ideas below! One bride we talked to made homemade hot chocolate sticks as favors for a winter wedding with popsicle sticks and an ice cube tray. She then put each stick into a clear plastic bag and tied some ribbon, twine, etc. around the stick so they’ll stay in place.
3. Speaking of signs- the dollar store (that’s right, the dollar store!) has great silver, gold, black, or white frames in a variety of sizes that you can easily turn into signs for table numbers, a gift table and any other labels you need. This bride also used the dollar store’s basic glass jars for her centerpieces- talk about saving BIG! If you don’t have time to hand write everything like these below, type up whatever you want your sign to say in a document and print it on whatever paper you like, paying close attention to the size of your frame.
The REAL Main Event: Food
Wedding Wire reported that most couples spend around $4,000, with most between $1,800 and $7,000 in catering costs. With food taking up a large portion of not only your budget but the event itself, it’s important to weigh your options.
1. For dinner at a wedding reception, there are generally two basic options to choose from: Plated meals vs buffet
- Plated meals are generally more formal and more expensive because more staff is required to pull it off, but the positive side of plated meals is that you know exactly how much food to prepare because of your guests responses in RSVP cards. Wedding Wire reports that the average cost per person for a plated meal is around $40.
- On the other hand, Buffets are generally cheaper because guests can serve themselves or servers control portion size so that you don’t have to worry about having too much food or not enough! The average reported cost of a buffet per person is lower than plated meals at around $27 per guest.
2. On to dessert! Cookie tables are hugely popular right now which is awesome because if you have family members who wouldn’t mind helping, ask them to make their favorite cookie recipe for your big day so you have a wide variety of homemade goodies. The cookies can be their gift to you so they’re free of charge! Check out these ideas below!
3. If you want to avoid the cost of a cake, which depending on several factors ranges from $350 to $450, try tiers of cupcakes like this bride below. She even used a cardboard stand and had a family member decorate it with card stock paper and stick on jewels from the craft store. Even better, one of this bride’s wedding guests was a baker, and as her wedding gift to the couple, she baked them a small cake for cutting at the reception so it was free!
4. In terms of choosing catering, seek a reception venue that includes a lot of the extra costs in the price such as a bar, food, and linens. The bride we talked to booked her reception in a ballroom above a restaurant inside of an airport- talk about hidden gem! Reception venues in your budget can really be found anywhere if you search hard enough. To search for inexpensive wedding venues in your area, try visiting WeddingWire.com
Getting the Word Out: Invitations
1. Shutterfly has a wide range of invitation styles to choose from as little as $0.99 per invitation. Also, check out retailmenot.com for lots of coupon codes for Shutterfly’s wedding shop to help you save even more money
2. To save on name cards at your wedding, you can use the RSVP cards from your invitation instead and write the table numbers at the top. That way their name, table number and food choices are all in one place and nothing goes to waste!
Last But Not Least: The Dress
For a dress that you only wear once, wedding dresses can be crazy expensive. It’s important to search all of your options before you stop into the nearest boutique.
1. David’s Bridal offers a section on their website for wedding dresses under $100 which is crazy compared to the U.S. average of $1,100. You can also check out websites like preownedweddingdresses.com for second hand designer dresses. There’s an option to filter your search by the best deals to see which dresses are cheapest.
For even more advice from other brides on how to save money, check out websites like bridalguide.com and thebudgetsavybride.com which have tons of blogs written by wedding experts and previous brides to pass on their wedding planning wisdom
Weddings are a huge event these days and planning them takes anywhere from 13-18 months. If you use your time wisely and follow these tips, you’ll be guaranteed to save some serious money, and also have the wedding of your dreams. The biggest tip we recommend is to buy in bulk and make what you can- it sure helped the brides we talked to save lots of money on their wedding decor to be saved for the future. When you’re on a tight budget and need advice from the money-saving experts, Consumer Sense has got all the experience you need. From all of us here- Happy Wedding Season and come back to see what holiday tips and tricks we have in store this year so that we can make even more sense for you!