Tips for Planning an Engagement and Wedding: On a Budget
Just because you don’t have a huge lump of cash set aside for the extravagant wedding of your dreams, doesn’t mean you can’t have the wedding of your dreams. There are a wide variety of options from the rings to the venue that don’t have to break the bank. In fact, if you’re a bit savvy and resourceful, as I know you are, you can plan a very classy wedding on a small budget of a few thousand dollars.
Looking at engagement rings in a traditional department store or mall jewelry store setting can blind you with shininess, as well as the price tags. Checking online options, perhaps a bit less obvious to some but can be your saving grace, especially if you’re looking for affordable engagement rings and other affordable and budget friendly items on your engagement and wedding checklist. Perhaps start with scoping out venue options, as this determines your date and party size. Consider parks, renting houses that are event-friendly, and other traditional wedding venues, but perhaps on a non-Saturday date. With some resourcefulness and a bit of time searching around for the right place, you can certainly save a ton if you’re willing to be creative. Let’s look at a few highlights from a wedding for 60 guests:
- Invitations: although not the most traditional route, creating an event on Facebook to invite and manage the details of the big day, since it’s free and most guests are most likely active Facebook users, can save you several hundred dollars, depending on your guest list size.
- Groom’s suit & bride’s dress – Instead of renting a tux, you can buy a custom suit, or buy a suit and have it tailored, for a few hundred bucks. For the bride’s dress – consider a non-traditional, yet custom and beautiful option of separate bottom and top matches. Checking online resources like Etsy and Amazon can yield you very inexpensive and gorgeous results.
- Food for 60-70. Call around to your local favorite restaurants and ask what their catering per person cost is. Chances are, it can be around $10-12/person for food. If you live in an area with delivery, the delivery charge will vary but it can save around $23/person compared to the standard $35/plate chicken breast and two sides options. Food trucks are another option if you have a bigger budget and larger guest list you’d like to have for your big day.
- All the decorative and usable stuff: glasses, plates, yard games, tables & linens, chairs, etc can be rented from a local business to your venue, for a fraction of the cost to buy or rent them from traditional venues.
- Music: If you subscribe to any music service, you can create your own commercial free playlist. It’ll cost you a bit of time, but is incomparable to the cost of a DJ that’ll play the same tracks you’ll provide, or play a selection of their own. If you want to be in control of what you’re hearing throughout the ceremony, DIY and save a ton of dough!
- Flowers: Check your local grocery store for fresh flowers, then compare the total you’d spend there to the total a florist might charge. If you have some friends and family and a few hours to make everything with fresh floral and greenery, you can save hundreds, if not thousands.
- Photography: This is often one of the heftiest costs of any wedding event, and rightfully so, the photos will capture every special moment for you and your beloved to look at for years and years to come, remembering your special day all over again. An alternate option is to allow your guests to take photos as much as they’d like, and share the photos with you on social media using a designated personalized hashtag.
- Cake: Do you know anyone that enjoys baking, and does it as a side hobby? Unless you require an insanely intricate wedding cake, chances are, you can find someone local and small that will be more than happy to make this for your wedding day, for much less than larger operations.
If you’re planning your wedding, consider less expensive but tasteful options for everything on your list. More than likely, you can have the day you envision, without going into debt or bankrupting your bank accounts, for a few hours of fun and celebration. If you’re wedding planning, or have been putting it off due to the typical astronomical costs, I hope something in this list helped you break it down into not-so-scary pieces and shows how achievable it actually can be, with a little resourcefulness and mindful planning!