Planning a wedding is something that should be the most exciting time of your life, can also be one of the most stressful times as well. There are so many little details that go into it, along with some huge details that cost a pretty penny. The average wedding costs $26,645, although most Americans spend less than $10,000. I don't know about you, but that is not pocket change for me. Buying anything that costs over $100 puts me in a cold sweat, and my anxiety goes through the roof. Some people may have no problem dropping tens of thousands on an event so huge, but for those of you like me, there are ways you can cut corners and customize your wedding on a budget.
The route you take on your catering can turn it into one of the biggest costs of your wedding. The average cost per plate can range from $20 to $100 a plate, depending on the package you choose. Sure, you could splurge on a high end four-course meal, but is that what you really want to spend your money on? If it is, then go ahead. I have been to weddings with fancy meals, and I have been to weddings with ham and turkey on buns with chips. I enjoyed both of them equally, because they had the right balance. If you choose to go cheap on the meal, maybe go the extra mile for appetizers or a unique dish that no one will forget.
The venue in which you host your wedding can either be the most expensive part of your costs, or one of the cheapest. If you have the land, or know someone who does, you can do a backyard wedding for little-to-no money. You can always look around your local hotels and community centers, they often rent out conference rooms for a price that is reasonable. They may be smaller than some larger properties, but you can make the most out of the room you have, and make it feel bigger than it is. You don't have to spend $6K for a weekend at an extravagant venue if that just isn't in the budget.
Depending on your personal wishes for your wedding, your dress can be something that you cut costs on. If you aren't too particular about what you wear on the night of your wedding, you can easily find discounted rates at consignment stores, or buy one second hand online. Better yet, maybe you can fit into your mom or grandma's wedding dress, and start a family tradition by passing it down generation to generation.
Decorations are the most time consuming aspect of wedding planners, from the flowers, to the tulle, and don't forget the candles! These seemingly small details can rack up a huge bill. Luckily, there are ways to buy them on a budget. If you have plenty of time to plan your wedding, start looking at craft stores for discounts and garage sales for previously used décor. Often times you will find people selling some of their decorations they used, which are usually in excellent condition. Remember, less is more. You don't have to go overboard on the decorations to make a big statement at your wedding. Find ways to utilize simplicity in your theme.
The good thing with wedding cakes is that you have so many options. You don't even have to go the traditional route if you don't want to. Truth be told, most people are stuffed when it's time for cake anyways, and it is usually just something to look at. Instead of ordering a huge intricate wedding cake, maybe just order a small one for show, with something else for the guests to eat. Some alternative options include cake pops and cupcakes, for example. If you want to go the traditional route, there are ways you can save money on your cake.
It is perfectly fine to cut costs and get some things cheaper than the rest. On the other hand, there are a few things that most brides agree you should not go cheap on. First, do not go cheap on a photographer, if you don't have confidence in their work. This is going to be your only way to look back on such a special way, and you don't want to be kicking yourself for hiring a cheap photographer with little experience. Secondly, most people agree that a DJ is worth the extra money. A good DJ will pump up the crowd, and make the reception a great experience with good songs, vibes, and games.
In a perfect world we would all be like the girls on the wedding shows who spend $50K on their weddings, but that's not the reality for most of us. It is hard to justify going overboard with spending on one night of your life, but you still want it to be special. Splurge in the areas that you think will be worth it, and don't feel afraid to go the cheap route when you can. After all, it is YOUR day to spend and do what you want with the one you love!