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Three Tips for Saving Money on a Wedding

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I'm a big fan of the cheap wedding. Too many people spend $30,000 or more... and quite often it is money they don't have. Starting a new life together shouldn't begin with a ton of debt.

Alas, there's a lot pressure from family and even friends to have a big celebration. And as every wedding vendor will remind you, you only get married once (well, hopefully, right?). It's similar to the YOLO, You Only Live Once, flawed logic. While you do only live once, it is not an excuse to make a bad decision one day that will hurt you for thousands of days going forward.

  1. Let The Venue Do It All - If you have your wedding at a hotel, such as Bell City, they'll prepare a several packages for you. Planning a wedding is a lot of work. You can save many hours by taking the prepared package and going with it. Remember that time is money.
  2. Keep The List Small - While there are some fixed costs with weddings such as flowers and music, there are other costs that are very dependent on the number of people. Perhaps the biggest and most obvious cost is going to be the food. There's a very big difference between feeding 25 people and feeding 250. A bigger wedding also means getting a bigger venue, more table decorations, higher printing costs for invitations, etc. Fortunely a bigger wedding also means more gifts, which are often cash, so count on some of that money will come back to you.
  3. To Open Bar Or Not To Open Bar... - ... that is the question. An open bar is obviously going to raise the costs quite a bit, especially if you have a few Drunk Uncles like from the Saturday Night Live skit. When we got married, we had nearly 200 people and chose to have an open bar. I think it cost us around $3500. We worked it in the budget by cutting corners in other places, such as having a family use her professional printing company to make the wedding invitations and programs. That was her gift to us.

At the end of the day, you need to be comfortable with your wedding and not bend to what everyone else wants. When they get married they can do what they want. After all, it is your special day and unless you have very nice parents, you are going to be getting the bill. Trust me, married life will go a lot smoother if you aren't starting off underneath an anvalache of debt. Final tip, use some of the money you save to get a cleaning service every couple of weeks. I've found it invaluable to a happy marriage.

Posted on August 1, 2014.

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