Wedding planning season is here as couples race to plan the perfect nuptials in time for a summer wedding date.
But before you get too deep into planning, I want you to sit down and come up with a budget for your wedding. It can be $100 or it can be $30,000. I've been a guest at everything from courthouse ceremonies to weddings that seemed like the coronation of a king. It's whatever makes sense in your life.
Write down all the elements of a wedding you want -- flowers, DJ, wedding favors, etc. -- and then start prioritizing them. That way you get a feel for what's indispensable and what you can maybe do without.
There are many things you can do along the way that will help you save big money. There's even a blog called 2000dollarwedding.com dedicated to the idea of DIY weddings. These ideas from my staff and from the pages of Real Simple magazine can also help you plan a big day that's not so big on the wallet:
- When you call around to vendors, don't tell anybody you're getting quotes for a wedding. Call it a "party" because you'll likely get a lower quote.
- If you're planning on having alcohol, find a caterer who will let you purchase and bring it yourself, which avoids the tremendous markup.
- Make your own flowers out of paper instead of purchasing real ones. This move alone can save you more than $1,000.
- Buy dresses or suits that you can wear again. For the bridesmaids, try telling them a color (like navy or black) and encouraging them to wear an existing dress, rather than having them buy a one-time use only dress.
- Check the cakes at the bakery of your local grocery store, instead of a traditional baker. They can be much cheaper and just as nice. In fact, I went to one wedding where they did a cupcake cake. Everybody got a cupcake and the couple saved that way!
- Remember that *who* you are marrying is the most important thing.
As you can see, there are so many ways to save money on a wedding. The list is practically endless. Just don't do what I did to save money on the vehicle we drove off in.
My mother-in-law will probably never forgive me for renting a subcompact purple Mitsubishi that was $16 a day. I also remember the wedding photographer was so angry at me for ruining his exit shot. He wanted me to leave in his car, which was a Cadillac convertible. I said, "Nobody's going to believe that it was really me leaving in a Cadillac convertible!"
For further reading:
BEFORE YOU GET HITCHED
ON THE BIG DAY
AFTER YOU'RE MARRIED