Set priorities, keep bridal party small to save
In the wedding industry there’s a saying that every wedding has a budget. Even if you’re spending $1 million, you’re still on a budget. On average, U.S. couples spend $25,656 for their wedding, with the majority of couples spending between $19,242 and $32,070, according to a survey by The Wedding Report Inc., a research company that tracks and forecasts spending and consumer trends for the wedding industry.
If you’re looking to spend less or at least stick to your budget, the key is to prioritize, said Tracie Domino, founder and creative director of Tracie Domino Events in Tampa, Florida.
“People want to stay on budget,” Domino said. But couples don’t want to appear cheap, rather “they’re looking for value,” Domino said.
“Thinking outside the box can also save money,” said MoneyCrashers.com founder and co-owner Andrew Schrage.
The first step is to determine your priorities—for the bride and groom as well as the person who’s footing the bill (whether that’s parents or the couple themselves).
“Most people put that their guests enjoy themselves, and that means the bar and the entertainment,” Domino said.
If great entertainment and top shelf cocktails are a priority, costs have to be cut in other areas.
“If you’re looking to upgrade your linens from $20 to $100 a table, you have to think, ‘does this make any difference in the guest experience?’ Probably not,” Domino said.
“Your best bet is to take the time to analyze each and every aspect of your wedding and look for things that can be eliminated, as well as saving as much money as possible without negatively affecting the overall event,” Schrage said.
Since each bridesmaid requires another bouquet, another gift, etc., keeping the bridal party small is a significant way to reduce costs—and your family and friends don’t need to feel left out, Domino said.
“There are ways to include and honor your friends and make them feel part of the wedding without including them in the bridal party and making them buy a dress,” Domino said.
In certain states such as Texas and Oklahoma, “house parties” are in vogue. While the bridal party might include just a sister and a best friend, the other ladies are invited to wear the same color dresses, help the bride get ready on the big day, take photos together and be honored during the wedding and in the program.
Some other easy things to do to reduce costs without harming the overall wedding experience are:
• Make sure to choose flowers that are in season.
• You don’t need favors. Most get left behind.
• Keep the guest count to your nearest and dearest. Guest count drives up costs more than any other factor.
• Buy your dress at a trunk show or a salon sample.
• Borrow or rent jewelry.
• Ask the venue directly when you can get a better price. What dates are they trying to fill?
• The same budget-friendly opportunities exist with creative partners and vendors.
“Most people want to help you, but you won’t get a good price when demanding peonies in the fall,” Domino said. “Be honest with your budget and ask them to tell you how to maximize it. And, be nice. Most people want to help people who are nice to them.”