This article comes from my friend Jon, co-owner of FocalPoint Cinematic Weddings (that’s his video to the right).
Jon sees a ton of weddings each year (both cheap weddings and extravagant weddings) so I was excited when he agreed to share his thoughts on smart ways of keeping wedding costs down.
There is no getting around the fact that a wedding can be a big financial decision.
At the end of that glorious day, someone foots the potentially large bill. No one wants to have a truly cheap wedding. But here are a few ideas that can help you make smart decisions about wedding costs:
1. Decide on an overall budget.
First, you need a firm grasp on your overall wedding budget. Are you doing a $500 or a $25,000 wedding?
Next, you’ll need to set a priority list and assign a dollar amount for each item. There is an almost infinite amount of possibilities for the smallest to the largest details of your wedding. Everything from invitations to the Uber/limo ride to the airport for the honeymoon should be accounted for.
Divide everything into “must haves” and “maybes”. It’s okay to make a large list because you might spend a little less on one item and as result free yourself up financially to afford another priority item.
2. Do-It-Yourself when possible.
With the exception of the minister, every line item on the budget could be replaced by a DIY version.
Here’s an idea – make creative centerpieces or decorative frames by visiting your local hobby and craft stores. For our wedding, my wife’s mom was able to find half price candles and fabrics, which provides savings that can certainly add up over time!
Buzzfeed has a solid list of 37 things to DIY at your wedding that I found useful.
3. Start early!
Most costly decisions in life come from a place of last minute desperation. We’ve all been there before. You wait till the last minute and you don’t see any options besides spending the big bucks. So you give in and pay the premium.
Not cool when it comes to weddings. This can be costly. As soon as you know you’re getting married (and after you’ve taken some time to enjoy the engagement and get your finances aligned), get crackin’ on wedding planning.
Starting early allows you to wait for a sale and/or haggle. If they say no to your haggling, no worries. You’re not in a spot where you need to panic. You’ll be able to take your time and consider all of your options.
4. Think used.
There are so many websites for brides that include forums for brides to talk and plan. In many forums, there are typically classified sections where good deals can be found.
I know what you are thinking, “I’m not wearing a used wedding dress!” Maybe not, but what about “used” set of vases that could save you $100? That’s what I’m talking about peeps!
For more crazy frugal wedding ideas, check out PT’s post on his wedding experience.
5. Look for wedding vendors on the cusp.
Last but not least, try to find quality wedding vendors that aren’t charging premium fees yet.
You don’t have to pick the vendor that has the most expensive marketing campaign. Look for vendors who don’t know how good they are yet. Let the products themselves determine how you perceive their value!
Good ways to find vendors like this: use your social network (ask/search on Facebook), put a gig request out on Craigslist, or ask folks at your local churches and banquet halls if they know of any newbies.
If you or someone you know is planning a wedding soon, be sure and send them these tips.