Planning a wedding is a lot of work - here are 5 ways to reduce some of the costs of your wedding so you can put your money where you really want to.
Back when I was helping couples with their houses instead of their weddings, talking about the budget was always one of the first, and most challenging things to discuss. I had to sometimes gently say; most everyone has a budget. I think there's some fear that a designer (and in this case a venue or vendor) will think less of you if your budget isn't endless. We love an endless budget, but most people have a budget.
The second thing I had to discuss with my design clients was a list from each of them of what was most important to them about the remodel. From there, we could look at what could be done now, in budget, and what we could set aside to be done at a later date. In that vein, I now suggest to my couples to do the same: make a list of all the wedding vendors and prioritize that: Musicians/DJ, florals, photography, dining, the dress, dessert...
So now that you know the budget, and what is important to each other, we look at ways to cut down on the things that are not so important to you.
Bear in mind: as you secure the vendors that are in the priority list, you can always add things back in as you go and if you find more room in your budget.
Worried about looking cheap? Write this down: as long as what you do provide is quality or classy, most likely nobody will notice something missing like they would if you put something cheap in its place. Think of it like a blank section of wall in your home: it would look better with a great art piece on it, but to leave it blank will occasion less remark or notice than putting an undersized dollar-store canvas piece on it.
1) Fastest way to cut the budget:
Headcount. It's probably also one of the hardest at first, because you worry about hurting someone's feelings if they are not invited. Close friends and family is the "first cirle" or "smallest size" and then you can increase it from there. By reducing the headcount, there's less transportation cost, catering, alcohol, and desserts. If your venue doesn't provide the chairs, tables, plates and glassware (like we do) then all of those things add up very quickly as well.
We've noted that a number of our smaller weddings truly offer a five-star event, that the smaller guest count freed them to have the florals they wanted, or let them treat their nearest and dearest to a five-course plated meal.
2) Rent the Dress, or accessorize a classic/simpler dress:
It's always seemed backward to me that women are expected to buy a dress they will never wear again, and it's common for the guys to rent their suits that they actually could wear again. There are several places in nearby Atlanta and Nashville that offer dress rental, or even lots of sources online like Rent the Runway. That's a lot of cash left in your pocket to put somewhere else.
If buying is a must, you can get a simple-styled dress, and add a gorgeous shawl, a great jacket or fabulous coat, or incredible shoes that you will wear again. Accessorizing the dress is, I think, such an unsung opportunity to make your wedding attire more "you." I'm also a fan of bringing color wedding dresses back. Just going to mention that until it becomes a thing. :-)
3) Florals offer so much flexibility
Pinterest, Instagram, and even this website are all full of GORGEOUS flower displays. But, you don't need them. Our forest provides plenty of vibrant visual interest, we've had couples skip the arbor or leave it plain (it's not like they are ugly unadoned). There are also lots of fantastic ways to double the use of your flowers: bridesmaid bouquets can double as table centerpieces after the ceremony. Freestanding floral displays can move from the ceremony arbor area to the sweetheart table or near the photo area. Roadside or backyard flowers and grasses can be collected and hung upside down to dry, then mixed with fresh flowers on the wedding day.
Nick and Sarah are biologists and wanted to be fully in nature, they didn't want an arbor because they felt it distracted from the forest. Photo by Hillary Moore.
4) Getting down with the music
If it's not a priority... there is no shame in a good playlist instead of hiring a DJ. The one downside is this takes some time to create, and if you are not good at thinking of good songs (like me) then you'll be signing yourself up for a special kind of torture. If you do go this route, be sure to assign the task of hitting the play button at the right times to someone you trust. Also... don't forget cocktail hour and dinner music!
5) Little Stuff... because it adds up
You don't need programs, signs, elaborate guest gifts, matching robes for your bridesmaids or any number of other things you see slathered all over social media. Ask yourself "is there a nice way around this that will still make me happy?" and the answer is usually, yes.
Those are some of my top ways to save money on your wedding, so you can spend where it's important to you!
Want to know what NOT to cut from your wedding? Blog post coming soon!
PS: I'm not going to make a lot of our vendor friends super thrilled with me for this post. For that, I am sorry.
All the Best, Cris