Weddings are expensive. I learned this myself three years ago when my wife and I were married. We only had about 60 guests, but when you add up the ceremony, reception, music, photographer, video, limos, tuxedoes and dresses, we still ended up spending over $15,000.
If you are planning on getting married in the near future, you should begin thinking about what is most important to you now. Sit down with your significant other and make a list of everything that you would like to have and rank them. Decide what you could live without, what you would really like to have, and what you absolutely must have. This will help you prioritize when it comes to allocating money.
Here are some things to consider if you are planning a wedding on a budget:
Food – Price and quality do not always go together when it comes to food. I’ve been to expensive weddings with horrible food (we once left so dissatisfied that we stopped at Burger King on the way home). And I have been to low budget weddings where the food was delicious. It’s very important to ask around for opinions and if possible go for a tasting before choosing a caterer. Also, buffets are generally less expensive than a sit down dinner.
Location – If you are looking to save money, consider having your ceremony in a park or other outside area, even a friend’s backyard.
Time – Weekend evenings are the busiest time for weddings and you will pay a premium for them. We got married on a Sunday at noon and it cost us half the rate of a Sunday evening wedding. We could never have afforded the evening wedding at such a nice place.
Music – DJs are generally much cheaper than live bands. Or if money is especially tight, consider not having music or just playing your own. A friend of our’s had a sit down dinner for about 20 guests when she got married. There was no dancing but we all had a great time.
Flowers – Prices for flowers can vary wildly from florist to florist. It really pays to shop around. Also, if you use flowers that are in season and available locally you will save money. Out of season flowers have to be shipped from other parts of the world and you will pay considerably extra for them.
Photographs – Pictures are a sentimental memento of your wedding day and I encourage you to have pictures taken. But the cost can be prohibitive. A professional photographer will cost several thousand dollars. Prices will vary depending on the size of your package.
A less expensive option is to buy a bunch of disposable cameras and leave one on each table so your guests can take pictures for you. The downsides are low quality and lack of the ability to control the pictures taken. If you use a professional you can give her a list of the photos that you can’t live without.
Video – Prices and quality vary with videographers as well. My wife watches our video all the time so it was well worth the cost. But if you are planning a wedding on a budget you can probably live without it.
Limos – Skip the Hummer or Rolls Royce models and stick with a standard limo and you’ll save considerably.