The idea of a wedding on a budget may make you recoil in horror – this is supposed to be your dream day, an amazing event to celebrate your life together, not a dreary affair with sawdust chicken and moonshine wine. What if I told you that you can create a budget for your wedding and then create a dream wedding within that budget that will have everyone smiling and you reflecting fondly on the memories for years to come?
Be Realistic About Living Your Dream
The average wedding cost in 2015 was $32,641. But do you have that much cash stashed in your freezer? I’m guessing not. If you do, we need to talk… but I digress!
To create a wedding budget, I suggest you assess your funds and determine how much of your savings you can use now and how much more you can save before the wedding date to cover your costs. Then be realistic. Do you need to spend your maximum budget? Can you set a lower budget to ensure unexpected costs don’t derail your attempts to avoid excessive debt? I recommend you itemize everything to ensure you don’t go over budget. This can also help you avoid going into debt and having to borrow money to cover your costs.
Spending a lot of money on a wedding may seem like a good idea at the time, but as time passes, and arguments over money and debt grow, you may reconsider. Sticking to a budget now will allow you to start your marriage with less debt and greater finances to fund your dreams together – like a house, a maternity leave, or simply a vacation to reconnect with each other every year.
Here are a few tips to help you reduce costs, have fun together, and stick to your wedding budget:
Reconsider your Guest List and Your Date
Pair down your guest list as much as you can. As much as you’d love Aunt Jeanie’s daughter to join you, do you want to be paying for her meal for the next year?
Scout a Different Location
Niagara is filled with amazing wineries and other gorgeous wedding venues. All of them would be amazing options, but some of them may be pricey. Do you know someone with a great backyard? Or does a friend or family member own a local restaurant or venue that you could use? Look beyond traditional venues – consider terraces, gazebos, and other places like breweries and barns.
Dress the Part
Consignment stores can offer hidden treasures for brides. The average wedding dress can cost $2500, but online and local consignment stores, like Second Dance, can offer dresses for a fraction of that with no less style. Online shopping can also help you find your dream dress, and you can have it shipped to you and then tailored locally to save costs.
Feed the Masses
Look local and think beyond the traditional catered affair. A food truck is a fun option for an outdoor wedding (look at that: less expensive venue + less expensive food = less debt and more smiles). Perhaps a family member or friend has a killer appetizer recipe they could use to “cater” for you? Are you friends with a restaurant owner who could cater for you?
Wet the Whistles
If you choose an alternative venue, the cost savings can add up as you’re able to purchase and supply your own alcohol. Niagara is filled with amazing wineries and a growing craft beer market any number of which may offer you wine or beer in bulk at a reduced rate.
Decorate the Do
We are lucky to live in Niagara – home of many great greenhouses and florists. Source out your flowers locally and save a bunch of money and consider alternative arrangements – think a hand-tied bouquet of flowers from your grandmother’s green thumb to your sweaty palms.
Capture the Moment
Instead of hiring a professional photographer to record the whole event, use a pro for a few photos and recruit your guests and the smartphones they’re looking at anyway, to capture special moments from your wedding. Guests can email you their photos and you can create a unique and personalized wedding album that will have you smiling at the memories of everyone’s happiness on your special day.
Honeymoon at Home
Consider a staycation in our beloved Niagara. People travel here from around the globe for their honeymoons – it really can be a magical place to celebrate your love. Look beyond the motel strips and check out a local BnB on the Wine Route. Find romance in a sunset stroll in a part of Niagara you have never seen. Get creative and enjoy yourselves wherever you are – because that’s what its really about anyway!