In 2018, the average price tag for a wedding in the US was approximately $38,000. For some, a wedding budget of that size isn't feasible. However, there are multiple ways for a newly engaged couple to conserve costs for their big day that don't require them to skimp on what's most important to them. Listed below are ten of my tried and true tips that I offer to clients for them to save a little more money on their dream day.
Pick an “off season” date
Dates in “off season” months can significantly save you money on your venue cost. If you’re flexible on your wedding day, choosing a date in January, February, July, or August can save you hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars on your venue cost.
Have your wedding on a weekday evening or Sunday
While the amount of attendees may dwindle due to the choice of day, venues typically have a lower cost for events that occur Sunday-Thursday as Friday and Saturday nights are the most requested days for social events.
Choose a municipal venue
Venues that are owned by municipalities (town, county, or city government agencies), are typically less expensive than venues owned by a sole proprietor or a private group. While prices for municipal venues are lower for residents of the municipality than those who are not, overall, they are usually still more economical than privately owned venues.
Book a wedding manager (formerly known as a Day of Coordinator)
On your very special day, you cannot be the guest of honor and the person in charge at the same time. It would be absolutely maddening trying to do so, and you wouldn’t have any time to enjoy the day that you worked so hard and spent so much time on planning. Your wedding manager will be the first person in the venue on your wedding day and the last person out, supervising all vendors and event day activities to make sure the day goes off without a hitch. Click here to inquire about Purple Crane's Wedding Management service.
Keep a small guest list
The bigger your guest list, the more money you’ll spend for your guests to attend. Remember, for each attendee, food, beverage, and decor will have to be accounted for. A guest list of 100 individuals or less will make it easier to stay on budget versus a guest list of 200.
Keep the invite design simple or use electronic invites
The cost of intricately styled invites can rise quickly once the cost of postage is added. Therefore, keeping invites simple keep costs in line. Minted offers an innovative all-in-one invite concept that combines the invite and the RSVP into one card. Click here to view some samples. For an environmentally friendly invite process, consider using electronic invites from a provider such as Paperless Post.
Consider a buffet instead of a plated dinner
By utilizing a buffet, the catering cost per person is considerably less than if each guest is served a plated dinner. Buffets allow for large quantities of the same food offering to be served at the same time with guests serving themselves, hence reducing the cost. Plated dinners require a considerable amount of labor from catering staff. In terms of time, catering staff must work 2 to 3 times longer to prepare for a plated dinner instead of a buffet and the cost of labor alone, using a guest count of approximately 150 people, can add an additional $300-$1,000 to your total catering cost.
Limit alcohol offerings
Having an open bar at a wedding can get to be on the pricey side depending on the number of guests and the caliber (top shelf, house, etc.) of spirits served. In order to control costs, consider having a signature cocktail—a two or three ingredient mixed drink—as your only alcohol offering. Popular signature cocktails served at weddings include mint juleps, pink ladies, and margaritas. A great idea is to make sure that the cocktail fits in with the season your wedding is taking place. If you don’t wish to have a signature cocktail, consider serving beer and wine. A selection of dark and light beers paired with red, white, and rosé wines will certainly suffice. If you have the budget to hire a licensed and insured bartender (which I highly recommend), consider a cash bar where guests take care of the costs of their beverage selections.
Be mindful of decor and floral costs
There is no doubt that flowers and lighting can take a blank venue space from ordinary to extraordinary. Drapery and strategically placed candles can turn a mundane, white-walled room into a soft, intimate setting like this. When choosing decor, think of items that can make a grand statement with a small footprint. Consider using up lighting around the perimeter of the room to give a dramatic effect. Instead of utilizing draping for the entire event space, think about having it only behind the area where the bridal party will sit. Instead of placing a floral centerpiece on every table, consider alternating live floral centerpieces with still centerpieces (i.e. candles, lanterns, submersible luminaries, etc.). With bouquets and boutonnieres, try using flowers that are easily attainable. For examples, roses, daisies, and carnations are all low cost flowers that come in a variety of colors that will be sure to fit your wedding day color scheme. Filling in the bouquets with baby’s breath, lemon leaf, and wax flowers will certainly net you multiple pieces at a cost that won’t break the bank.
Bypass the favors
Unless your wedding favor is an item that can be reused multiple times (i.e. stemless wine glasses, pint glasses, etc.), it can end up being an expensive, disposable item. Therefore, save funds and forego the favors. If you would like to provide reusable favors to your guests, speak with your wedding manager and he or she can certainly give you some ideas of what will be nicely received.
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