Q: I’m ready to tie the knot, but I don’t know if I can afford a wedding! How can I cut costs without compromising on my special day?
A: You don’t need to skimp on the wedding of your dreams or go deeply into debt to pay for it. By planning ahead, choosing wisely and prioritizing what’s truly important, you can say “I Do” without stressing over wedding costs.
1.) Start saving now
Instead of waiting for that special someone to pop the question, start saving now! The average age of marriage is 27 for men, and 26 for women. If you start saving for your wedding when you’re 20, you’ll only need to put away $333 a month. But, if you start at age 26, you’ll need to put away $2,333 a month!
2.) Time it right
Think off-season and mid-week, and you’ll save a bundle!
First, consider a winter wedding. You’ll shave thousands of dollars off the venue price by choosing an unusual time of year to get married. Second, think beyond Saturdays. If you can find a church with a vacancy on a Sunday, grab it! Venue prices drop dramatically with just a one-day switch.
You can also opt for a mid-week wedding that precedes a national holiday date, like July 4th. This way, your guests will still be able to enjoy the evening without rushing home.
3.) Skip the cake
A slice of dessert for $2.50 that doesn’t even taste good? Meh, who needs it? Here are some other ideas:
- Fake your cake. If you can’t stomach the idea of a cake-less wedding, ask your baker to fake it for you by creating a false cardboard bottom for your cake and only baking a genuine top layer or two. You’ll get the same look without the huge cost.
- Set up a dessert bar. You can serve hot waffles, brownies or chocolate chip cookies with ice cream, caramel sauce and a selection of other fun toppings. You’ll pamper your guests at a fraction of the cost!
- Serve a sheet cake instead. Your guests will be happy to savor a slice – even without all that fondant and frosting.
4.) Save on your gown
Save big on your gown by looking for a pre-owned gown on eBay, OnceWed.com or PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com. You can often find a beautiful gown for under $100!
Save a ton by choosing a venue that has no outside contracts. This way, you can shop around for the cheapest caterer, photographer and DJ.
If you really dare to be different, have your wedding in one of these budget-friendly venues:
- College campus. You might even be able to snag a student discount!
- Vacation home. Rent a vacation home and let it serve as your wedding venue, lodging for out-of-town guests and a honeymoon destination for after the wedding.