Whatever your wedding budget, you don’t have to resort to DIY bouquets to come in on target (unless you want to, of course!). Read these 10 tips and save money where it counts without sacrificing on style.
1. Follow the Rule of Three
Choose the three elements of your wedding that are most important to you (maybe your wedding dress, caterer and band, for example), then allocate a little extra money for them. Next, pick three things that fall low on your priority list (like linens, flowers and invitations), and budget accordingly.
2. Trim the Guest List
We know it’s tough, but one of the fastest and most effective ways to lower your wedding cost is to pare down the invitees. Think of it this way: At $100 a head, taking 10 guests off the guest list saves $1,000! Also consider the size of your wedding party: Gifts, hair and makeup are cheaper for two or three than for 10.
If you’re having trouble deciding who to cut, set yourself some ground rules and stick to them. To help you get started, consider crossing out any potential guests that you’ve never spoken to, met or heard of, or that are under 12 years old. Anyone whose bedtime occurs before 9 p.m. will miss the cake cutting anyway, and definitely won’t be offended if they’re left out. Only invite friends’ significant others if the couple in question has been dating for more than a year or are currently living together. Otherwise, it’s okay to say no to plus-ones.
3. Pass on Pricey Details
Glamorous details on items that you’re indifferent to spike costs without adding any fun to your day (do you really need an ice sculpture?). Free yourself of the pressure to upgrade and instead make honest choices based on what you want. As a general rule, before you sign a contract, look through the itemized list of what you’re buying and, ask yourself, “Will anyone notice if we don’t do this?”
4. Consider Printing Costs
Including two shades of ink on your wedding invitation might match your color scheme, but, trust us, it’ll add significantly to printing costs. Details that are fun in theory, but are actually unnecessary and super expensive in reality (for example, square invites require extra postage), may need to get the boot.
5. Rent a Smaller Ride
Town Cars will shuttle your wedding party to the reception just as effectively as a stretch limousine.
6. Skip the Special Effects
If you’re happy with simple wedding pictures, pass on options like sepia tones, multiple exposures and split frames.
7. Swap Out Flowers
Flowers are known to be an expensive wedding detail. To reduce floral costs, choose wedding flowers that are in season and pick locally grown flowers rather than blooms that need to be flown in from far away. For example, if you exchange Black Magic roses for more reasonably priced, deeply colored dahlias in all your bouquets and table arrangements, you can actually save a few dollars a stem.
8. Simplify Your Menu
Reduce the number of overall dinner courses (making three fabulous courses costs less than serving five individual courses) and keep your menu simple. Just like with florals, stick with the local, seasonally ingredients—and don’t overdo it.
9. Save the Good Stuff for Later
Have the caterers bring out the fancy Dom Perignon for the first toast, but then switch to a less expensive sparkling for the rest of the night. No one will ever see the bottle or know the difference—bubbles are bubbles!
10. Pare Down the Cake Extras
Order a small, beautiful cake that’s exactly what you want, but have several sheet cakes of the same flavor at the ready to cut for your guests. Stay away from tiers, handmade sugar flowers or special molded shapes. To customize and add variety, try having your caterer drizzle each plate with a flavored sauce (triple berry, dark chocolate or salted caramel, anyone?). Finally, choose buttercream over fondant: it’s so much tastier and much less expensive.