A wedding is one of the biggest days in your life, but it can also be the biggest expense of your life as well. With all the stress that sometimes comes along with planning a military wedding (the first OR the second time!) the last thing you need to be worrying about is budget as well…
Here’s 10 ways to enjoy your wedding day without breaking the bank:
- Sit down with your fiancé and discuss what three things are most important to you for your wedding. Maybe you both feel it’s not a great wedding without an awesome DJ, but you don’t care that much about dessert. If you’re having trouble picking your three most important factors, think back to the last few weddings you’ve been to and what stood out the most to you. Once you’ve both narrowed down the three most important factors for your wedding, aim to allocate most of your budget to those factors and find ways to budget or lower the cost of the rest of the wedding.
- Consider getting married on a weekday. A Saturday wedding is classic but it’s also expensive. You can sometimes literally save thousands of dollars by getting married on a different day of the week. Ask potential venues if they offer a discount for weekday weddings and consider having your wedding on a Monday or Friday. Regardless of what day of the week your wedding falls on, everyone who wants to be there will come and it will still be one of the most beautiful and memorable days of your lives.
- Buy used decorations. You can often find great used decorations or other wedding items on Craigslist or even through discount stores like Habitat for Humanity’s Restores or thrift shops. Always shop around before buying something new.
- Cut the guest list. This is the simplest and fastest way to cut down significantly on the cost of your wedding. Far too many couples are pressured by family to invite people to their wedding that they don’t know or aren’t close to, so if you’re inviting Great Aunt Sue whom you’ve never spoken to or met just to appease your family it may be time to cut the guest list. A good rule of thumb is to only invite people you’ve spoken to in the last five years or who know both you and your fiancé.
- Consider selling or trading your wedding decorations. Some vendors collect certain types of wedding decorations and may be interested in possibly buying your decorations after your wedding. For example, my husband and I bought about 10-15 lanterns, string lights and paper lanterns to decorate our outside wedding. We asked our florist if she would be interested in buying them from us and we ended up saving hundreds of dollars off our bill by giving her the decorations that we otherwise would have had no idea what to do with after. You can also sell your decorations on craigslist or list them on wedding planning sites.
- Get crafty. Enlist your wedding party and schedule fun craft nights to put together your invitations and other wedding décor items. Even if you’re not naturally crafty odds are you know someone who is that would be more than willing to help you out. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Look for seasonal or comparable alternatives for your favorite flowers. Asking for out of season flowers to be in your bouquets can double the cost of your florist bill so ask your florist if there are any flowers similar to the look you’re going for that are in season or if there are more budget friendly alternatives. If you’re obsessed with the ever popular and expensive peonies for your wedding there’s a nifty trick you can do with roses to get the look without the price. Take a rose and blow into the center of it and then fold it out petal by petal. You end up with the gorgeous full look of a peony at a much lower price tag.
- Minimize bar costs. If you plan on having alcohol at your wedding it’s an expense that can add up quickly. Ask your venue if you can supply your own drinks and if they say yes buy wine and beer in bulk at stores that have a flexible return policy like Costco or Bevmo. If your venue doesn’t allow you to bring in your own alcohol narrow the bar to beer and wine only. No one will miss the hard alcohol, least of all your wallet.
- Don’t go crazy on favors. It’s easy to get caught up in the importance of having the right favor at your wedding to represent you and your new husband’s union but honestly they are often the most forgotten about and even left behind item for your guests so opt to keep them cheap and simple. You can hand out matches with your names on them or do a candy or cookie bar as a favor that doubles as dessert.
- Get married in off season. Summer and fall are the most popular times of year to have a wedding and venue prices reflect it. Many venues offer off season discounts on their prices at a third or even half the cost. Consider getting married during the less popular winter months of December through February. Bonus, since there’s less weddings during that time of year odds are more of your guests will be able to make it.
Most importantly, don’t forget the true meaning of your wedding. It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers and all the little details but ultimately the wedding day is about you pledging to stand by the love of your life forever. If you focus on each-other a lot of the expensive add-ons will matter much less.