The average wedding in the United States now costs over $26,000. This of course varies by region, but going into debt is not the best way to start a marriage! Sometimes you have to DIY and think outside the box, but there are ways to save money and still have a beautiful and memorable day! I incorporated a lot of these tips into my own wedding, and we were able to have our day 100% debt-free!
- Go secondhand. Borrow your mom’s jewelry, find cute decorations at garage sales or vintage shops – it can be rewarding to reuse and do some of the work yourself!
- Enlist help. Have a friend who’s great at baking? Ask them to make your cake instead of buying you a gift. Bottom line, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It can save a lot of stress and money!
- Provide your own alcohol. Check into reception venues that will allow you to bring your own booze. This also works great if you buy from a place that will let you return unopened bottles.
- Why does it have to be Saturday? Most wedding venues offer insanely lower rates if you don’t have the wedding on a Saturday. Just be sure to think about your guests’ availability when considering this.
- Find a free or affordable venue. This is huge. Out of that $26K average, almost HALF of that is spent on venues and catering. There are many ways to save here. Look at local parks, art galleries, or even a friend’s backyard. Many will let you use them for the day for free or a very low fee. Also, if you’re not set on a particular date, you can look in the “off-season” (November-March) for a more reasonable rate.
- Location, location, location. While we’re on the subject of venues, another great way to save is to have your ceremony and reception at the same location. You’ll save on the rental fees, as well as any transportation for the wedding party (and your guests will appreciate it!).
- Watch what you eat. Meals around breakfast, lunch, or dessert will have smaller portions and will save you some money. Get creative with your menu and think outside the box – maybe just have a fun appetizer and drink menu.
- One word: Etsy. So much can be found on Etsy: jewelry, gifts, even wedding invitation templates that you can print on your own cost. If you’re not a DIYer, this is a great way to support those who are, and find more affordable and unique touches to your wedding.
- Limit decor. Let’s be honest, most weddings we attend, we don’t remember much about the decorations. Don’t stress over seat covers, centerpieces, etc. Keep it simple. It also helps to have a venue that’s already beautiful – think outdoors where the scenery is already its own decoration.
- Skip or wait for the honeymoon. The $26,000 cost above DOES NOT include the honeymoon. Wait to go if you need some time to save, or just skip it all together and plan a fun weekend road trip – it can be just as romantic!
In the end, remember – it’s your wedding, make it yours! With a good deal of your own personal touch and non-traditional elements will make it one to remember.