When my then-boyfriend asked for my hand in marriage November 2015, we were both full-time employees living in Tennessee.
Not only were we living on our own, we now had to pay for a wedding. So, before we began planning, we sat down and set a budget of $15,000. Knowing the average was about $35,329, according to Fortune.com, we planned to spend half of that!
But, then, four months later, life got turned upside down when we had to move back home.
My then-fiancé lost his job and I had to find another job because I knew working remotely would be a bit too difficult.
His parents and my parents told us they’d pitch in, but in reality, we wanted to do this on our own. Regardless, we appreciated everything they gave us.
We also knew realistically we were unable to do so because of our job situations.
We budgeted and did the best we could to save money and not overspend. We created a budget sheet on excel to track our spending.
I wanted a beautiful wedding, but I also didn’t anticipate having to pay -- for instance -- the caterer a whopping $3,000 for their services. If you don’t know already, weddings are expensive. However, they do not have to be – if you budget for them or go for a cheaper route.
My husband wanted to elope, but I refused because I wanted my dad to walk me down the aisle, dance with me and have the DJ play a song my husband and I could dance to.
So, if you’re smart about it, your wedding can cost less than a mortgage. In the end, ours was around $15,000 and now, the average cost of a wedding is 35,329! So, we spent less than 53% of the average wedding!
Here are some tips on how to dish out less dough:
- Make DIY your BFF. Instead of buying the décor, make it from scratch. My husband and I scoped Pinterest and found loads of décor for weddings!
- Don’t invite Aunt what’s her face. Here’s my rule of thumb, if you haven’t talked in the last two years, heck within the last year, these people do not deserve to be invited.
- Send out Save the dates via email. I was told by a friend who got married that people throw away save the dates. So, if you are going to, send it via email.
- Choose an inexpensive venue. My husband and I chose a $4,000 venue. I’m sure there are way cheaper venues, but we wanted a rustic wedding, so we chose an old manor. Just do your research!
- Make your own bouquets. Flowers are expensive. However, they don’t have to be if you don’t get them. So, be sure to opt for something besides flowers.
- Plan the wedding and reception at one location. Don’t make your guests flock to two different locations. Its also way easier on the bridal party who doesn’t have to spend time in a car riding to the other location.
- Your dress doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. I set a budget for my dress to be $400-$500. Trust me; it is possible to find a beautiful dress for that amount.
- Opt for less expensive food dishes. You don’t need caviar and shrimp. Go for something simpler and less likely to break your bank.
- Choose cupcakes instead of cake. Our cake was around $300 and that was the cheapest we found. However, I’m sure cupcakes are just as delicious and less costly.
- You don't need too much food. You don’t need fondue, dessert bar, smores bar and an open bar. Just one dessert option will suffice.