Wedding season is fast approaching so I thought I would give some ideas on how to save some cash and still have a great wedding. Did you know that the average wedding in the US costs between $20,000 and $35,000? That's a LOT of cash!!
Saving money on the ceremony is pretty easy, first consider having your service at a public park or a friend or parents house, also, don't rule out other non-traditional sites, I have a friend having a Halloween wedding in October and she is having the service at a haunted house, so think outside the box. This will save you the fee for the church and if you have a friend or relative that is a justice of the peace or a minister you can save the fee for their services as well, if not check with the local court house and churches or seminary schools and compare all the rates.
One of the biggest expenses is the dress, the easiest way to save a ton is just to NOT got to the bridal store for a gown. Check your local 2nd hand stores, eBay, and be sure to scope out the stores that sell prom dresses. If you, a friend or family member are crafty you can find a great dress and add beads and/or sequins to make it uniquely your own. Don't be afraid of adding color to your dress either, black is very elegant for an evening wedding and red or gold looks stunning around the holidays.
Instead of a traditional sit down grooms dinner why not opt for a backyard BBQ where everyone can let their hair down and have some fun? Consider some lawn games like badminton or volley ball. If you make it more pot luck the expense will be even less and everyone will have a blast.
When looking for a photographer you will want to make sure you look over every one's work BEFORE you hire them. There are some fantastic photographers at the local colleges just hoping for a way to get a portfolio together, talk to a few of them and compare their styles. The feel will be well below a seasoned professional but you will get a "fresh" eye on your wedding.
Flowers can be a very expensive part of your budget, consider having just a few flowers in your bouquets and more green, and don't be afraid to use some little cute things in your bouquet like pine cones. For your groomsmen you can send a friend to a local florist and see if they have any broken stemmed flowers that they are going to throw away, bootiners need only about a 2" stem for pinning, just wrap them with some florists tape. Stick with flowers that will be in season, Tulips at Christmas are going to be a fortune. If you use some sort of Ivy in your bouquet you can take a clipping and root it so you will have a living reminder of your special day.
Finally, consider a destination wedding, it may not strike you as a budget wedding idea, but think about it. All expenses are covered for you and your guests (with the exception of airfare and your wedding attire). Not only that, but honeymoon expenses aren't necessary as the destination is the honeymoon as well.
Of course, the very best ways to stay on budget is to simply have one, Real Simple has a very nice printable wedding budget worksheet.
I am interested in hearing your ideas, please let me know!
Have a great weekend!!