Here's a question that I get all the time, and I wish there was one universal, easy answer!
The unfortunate thing about life, really, is that few of us have unlimited budgets to spend on our weddings. (And, if I'm being 100% honest with you, I wouldn't recommend that you spend a fortune, even if you had one! Buy a house, girl!).
That said, the reality is that most of our couples are working with a budget that doesn't extend to give them every single thing they want, and therefore, they have to set priorites.
Yup. I said it. Priorities. I think the word I HEAR most often is 'overwhelmed', but the word I SAY most often is 'priorities'. Planning a wedding is like buying a house. You have to create a list of must haves, and be willing to compromise on the ones that just don't work, or that you can revise and make work.
That said, there are some areas that most couples are OK with reducing or cutting entirely, in my experience. Feel free to add a comment with the best budget tip you've used below!!
- The fastest way to reduce the budget is to cut guests, but that's often SO hard to do. Consider only inviting plus-ones who've been in a relationship for 6+ months, or inviting only family and your CLOSEST friends.
- Eliminate cocktail food. Shorten the timeline so that the photos happen before, and you only have a 1/2 hour cocktail hour (for you to do family photos). Guests can get one drink, but no food, then go right to dinner.
- Use recorded music for ceremony, cocktails and dinner, and just bring in the DJ/live music for the dance.
- Reduce your photography/videography package. Do your first dance before dinner, then send the photographer/videographers home. You'll save money on hours AND their meals.
- Do non-floral centerpieces. Candles can be very pretty, and more affordable, particularly if you rent/borrow/get creative with the vessel they're in. You could also bring in items that are meaningful to you, or even toys that go with your theme - you can spray paint ANYTHING to match. 🙂
- Limit your bar to beer and wine only, or do a $2 or ticket bar.
- Reduce the size of your bridal party. Every bridesmaid/groomsman costs you money for flowers and gifts.
- Avoid the limo. Drive yourselves, or take a corporate limo service or UberXL.
- Eliminate the rehearsal dinner, or do potluck.
- Buy your rings on sale around holidays (Christmas, Black Friday, Valentine's Day).
- Save on some vendors by booking in conjunction with bridal show specials - tuxes, rentals, flowers, DJs and photographer/videographers often offer show specials.
- Don't bother with wedding cake or favours, unless they're super important to you - people won't even notice they're missing.
AGAIN, the disclaimer is that everyone has different priorities, so not all of these will work for everyone! Good luck, and hit me with any questions you have!