No More Budget Stress
So, I want to keep this simple for you planners out there.
Here are 10 unique tips and a bonus budget guide that I used for my big day. These all worked for me and I hope they will for you, too!
1. Plan Ahead: List everything you can think of and walk through these items step by step. The earlier you get started, the easier and less stressful your life will be. Trust me! The more time you have, the more opportunity you’ll have finding discounts and promotions among your vendors.
2. When Choosing Your Venue: Try really, really hard to find a venue that’s either all-inclusive or offers you the opportunity to not have to hire so many outside vendors. Ask your venue what else they offer; perhaps, they offer tables and chairs, linens, catering, flowers, coordination… whatever it is!! This will minimize the number of contracts to keep track of and lower your costs, too.
3. You Chose Your Date, Now What?: Yes, choosing your date comes with an expense. Once you have decided on a date, be prepared to put a deposit down of at least 25-50% to your venue. When choosing your date, know that Saturdays are ALWAYS more expensive. If you go with a weekday or a Sunday, you can typically save up to 50% of what a Saturday would cost.
4. Peak Season: Just a head's up, there is a thing called "Peak Season". Peak season is typically from the months of April through October, depending on the region you live in. These months will be a bit pricier than the standard rate some venues will charge during the "Off Season". Most weddings typically occur during warmer months, hence the price difference.
5. Avoid a Huge Guest List: This was the most difficult of all budgeting items for Zo and I. We both have large families and we wanted to keep our big day as intimate as possible. My advice to you...focus on inviting those guests you CANNOT envision your day without! We decided to only consider immediate family and our closest friends. Less people = less people to pay for!
6. Invitations: Make Your Own or Go Digital: I am saying this loud and clear so the people in the back can hear...IT'S JUST PAPER! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE WEDDING INVITATIONS and mine we're absolutely beautiful (check out my gallery)! But this is an area of your wedding that can add up in dollars quickly without you even noticing, between design, paper, printing, stamps, the list goes on. So here are my recommendations:
(1) Sites like Minted offer reasonably priced wedding invitations you can order from home;
(2) You can DIY by visiting an Etsy shop, purchasing a template, and designing them yourself; or (3) If you want to save on postage, you can create a wedding website and share this with your guests by including a link to your formal invitation and instructions on how to rsvp (visit my "Planning 101" post for additional info).
7. When Developing your Timeline: Try to make the ceremony and reception times as close as possible. Some vendors like photographers, videographers, and day of coordinators, will charge more for any extra time.
8. Your Officiant: Do not hire some stranger!! Ask a family member or close friend, who is certified, to do this for you. Avoid paying someone who knows nothing about you to do it. It’s much more personable and meaningful when it’s someone you and your fiancé know, and sometimes FREE!
9. Wedding Favors: They are so cute and thoughtful, right? But please do not waste your precious wedding budget dollars on a dang favor! Now, if you have extra room in the budget or just lots to spend, go for it...lucky you! But, I’ve been to quite a few weddings, four weddings just this past year, and one of two things always happen:
(1) No one had any idea there were favors for guests
(2) Guests left their favors behind at the reception
So what's the point? If you really want a wedding favor, have a photo booth option for your guests to enjoy OR have a food item your guests can eat as they leave the reception...preferably a small, sweet treat!
10. Re-purpose your bouquets as centerpieces: Ok, flowers are pretty, but EXPENSIVE! Once the reception starts, you and your ladies won’t need your bouquets. Re-purposing your bouquets will save you a good chunk of change and avoid paying for additional centerpieces/decor.
BONUS: "My Budget Guide"
Create a pie chart on excel and input these factors to the chart.
Side note: no matter how big or small your budget may be, this percentage breakdown should be your guide for spending money. This is a flexible guide, you can determine as you go which areas you'd rather spend more or less on.
Ceremony Site (5%)– try to find a venue that will offer you space for both ceremony and reception, if not, budget for 5%. (If your venue will be used for the ceremony and reception, use this extra money for a Day of Coordinator- totally worth it!)
Stationary (5%)- invitations, save-the-dates, postage, menus, seating chart
Flowers & Décor (15%)– flowers, lighting, décor rentals (i.e., vases, candles, votives, signage, etc.)
Photography (10%)– try to find a vendor that offers videography too, they may offer you a better rate than paying for two separate vendors
Dress & Attire (10%)- wedding dress, alterations, accessories, hair and makeup, groom’s suit/tux (rental or purchased)
Music & Entertainment (5%)– ceremony musicians, DJ or Band
Reception (50%)- venue rental fee, catering, bar, cake, site rentals
Cheers to saving!