Personal finance became an interest of mine in throughout 2016. I’ve always been ok with money but it never worried me to spend without thinking. Now that I have more responsibilities in my life, it’s become apparent that there’s so much more for me to learn.
At the moment I’m juggling a mortgage, car expenses and bills. I’ve just finished paying my braces off so am now saving for jaw surgery and for home renovations.
I’m also saving for a wedding.
I’m no stranger to wedding blogs. I’ve read a lot of articles about DIY and saving money when it comes to weddings but none of them seem to resonate with me.
My biggest issue is that the tips always seem to be really generic and focus on changing what you may want completely. I get so frustrated by the ‘Have a cocktail reception instead of a sit down dinner’ or ‘Buy a second hand or off the rack dress’ or ‘Hire an up and coming/student photographer for 2 hours’ because it’s not always practical advice.
Whilst they are worth considering, what happens if you do actually want a 3 course sit down dinner? What if you don’t want a second hand dress or want to design your own? What do you do if you want an established photographer for 12 hours because you want to capture every moment of your day?
These tips are in line with those articles you read where couples have amazing looking weddings for $3000.
Except the reason it’s $3000 is because the groom’s mother is a caterer, his step father owns a picturesque winery, the brides aunt is a dress maker, the maid of honours’ cousin is a florist and a family friend is a photographer and their services are gifts to the bride and groom. These articles don’t really provide you with any real help on how to save money on a wedding except to know people. Whilst I think it’s great to utilise what you can, not everyone has family and friends who have the skills or resources to help when trying to keep costs down. And perhaps not everyone wants to ask favours of their family and friends.
But in saying all that, here are some tips that I think are actually helpful
- If you are not attached to a date, consider an off-peak month. Many venues have cheaper rates and also a lower minimum as they just want to have their venue filled. You may also be able to negotiate some freebies or upgrades. This is also something to consider if you have a dream venue in mind but not enough people to reach their minimum requirements.
- Look into different days. Saturdays are the most sought after so venues can charge a significant amount more. I chose a Friday as it ends up being $120 pp rather than $170 pp as it would have been on a Saturday.
- Book early – the venues that I looked at tended to have prices for each year. We locked in a venue for 2018 and because we booked so early, we locked in the 2016 price.
- Consider all options if you’re unsure of what you want. Look into a sit down dinner, a cocktail reception and a high tea. You can also look into a courthouse wedding with a lunch, brunch or bbq afterwards. There are so many options now that accommodate all budgets.
- Do what you want and not what you’re supposed to do. My sister and husband didn’t have a cake at their wedding and guess what? Not a single guest noticed.
- Weigh up your options between a venue that’s all inclusive and one where you have to organise the lot and compare whether there’s a saving to be made. Also consider the work you will need to do on your part and whether you want to accommodate that.
- Packages vs bar tab. You know your guests best. If they’re big drinkers a package may be a cheaper option for you. If they’re not, it may be worth getting a bar tab. There’s also options like a cash bar, BYO or a dry wedding.
- Think of the season. If your heart isn’t set on something really specific, seasonal foods and flowers may be a cheaper option than trying to get something out of season.
- Be true to yourself. Don’t think you are going to DIY everything if you hate crafty things. I love to think that I’ll DIY but I’m lazy and don’t want to stress about it so I picked a venue that does everything for me.
- If you want an established photographer that’s too expensive, look at the packages available and see if you can get one tailor made for what you want. Many photographers will happily work with you to see if they can accommodate your budget.
- Think about your bridal party and what you want to pay for. It could be everything or it could be nothing or it could be bits and pieces. But decide early on what you want to do to make it easier on your budget and for your bridal party as well.
- Ask questions. I asked a million questions before deciding on my venue because I wanted to know exactly what I could and couldn’t do. The worst the venue could say to something that I knew wasn’t included was no.
- Look at non-wedding specific vendors. I looked into cars and was appalled at how expensive wedding cars were. I then looked at chauffeurs and they were about 1/3 of the cost.
- If booking with a venue, ask if they have any deals with hotels nearby. My venue has 3 hotels they have a partnership with so myself with my fiance and my guests can have discounted rates should we choose to stay at a hotel.
These are just some things to consider when planning your wedding. I’m sure there are a lot more but these are the ones that I personally found the most helpful when trying to work out a budget.
I’d love to hear any other tips you have!