Before you get the wrong impression, these ideas for cheap weddings are cheap only when it comes to cost! A cheap wedding doesn’t mean you need to skimp on quality or impact! In fact, many of the couples I work with are happy to create an intimate wedding at a price that they can afford.
These ideas for affordable ways to make your wedding memorable could be part of the most elaborate of weddings, and still make an impact.
Sticking to your wedding budget doesn’t have to feel cheap, so when I say “cheap wedding”, I only mean it in the most economic sense of the word!
The costs of weddings are on the rise and many people getting married are looking for ways to have a cheaper wedding. According to The Knot, the average cost of a wedding today is $32,641.00. For those of you who do not want to spend that much, I am proposing 10 different ways to help you have a cheap wedding!
The Wedding Ring
Let’s face it, the first cost of a wedding usually happens long before the wedding itself - the Engagement Ring! We have all heard of the four C's of diamond purchasing - Carat, Cut, Color, and Clarity. We grew up hearing these words on advertisements and were convinced that more is better – at least in the eyes of everyone else who looks at your ring. For those bold and brave enough to entertain the idea that less can be more, the engagement ring doesn’t have to break the bank.
Many of us assume that an engagement ring or wedding band is truly an investment but, if you’ve ever tried to sell a previously owned wedding ring, like that new car you just drove off the sales lot, you know you only get pennies on the dollar. Your engagement ring is “priceless” only to you. So – let the buyer beware – know what you are buying and be willing to pay the cost, plus taxes and insurance.
For those of you that do not want to spend your life’s savings on a shiny rock, you’re in luck, you have options.
Lots of small stones can be just as shiny and dazzling as one big one, and much cheaper. Semi-precious stones are beautiful and can be mixed in with diamonds for a unique and non-traditional look. Or convert a family heirloom! Grandma’s wedding ring can be reset, and updated for a new more cost-conscious bride-to-be.
Save the Date – When is peak wedding season?
When choosing the date and time for your wedding you should keep in mind that, weddings have a low and a high season. Generally, people prefer to get married in the spring and fall when the weather tends to be milder. June and October are the most popular months to get married, with the winter months of January, February and March tending to be the least popular and, therefore, cheaper.
Careful selection of your wedding date can help cut the overall cost of the big day.
Weddings also tend to happen more often on Fridays and Saturdays. Consequently, wedding vendors raise their prices for Friday and Saturday bookings. You might get a discount if you choose to have a wedding during the middle of the week or on a Sunday.
Timing, they say, is everything. The time of day is another thing to consider when trying to cut costs for your wedding. An afternoon or morning ceremony and reception is much cheaper than having evening festivities because food and alcohol consumption are cheaper during the morning and afternoon than they are during the evening.
Having a morning or afternoon wedding may not be your first choice, but it is cheaper than an evening wedding.
Your Wedding Guest List
Obviously, the fewer people you invite, the less money you will spend. The number on this list affects not only the venues you choose, the amount of food and alcohol you buy, and the decorations, but also sets the overall tone of your wedding.
Is your wedding small and intimate or a big joyful bash for all your friends?
This decision should not be taken lightly. It affects the hearts of all your family and friends and is likely one of the most important wedding planning decisions you will make once you have set your budget. It’s up to you how you want to spend your money and what type of wedding you choose to have, but make it knowing that wherever you draw the line, there are choices you can make to have a cheap wedding.
Choosing An Affordable Wedding Venue
When choosing the spot for the ceremony, you can pick a place that does not charge an astronomical fee. If you are set on an outdoor wedding, you might think of a public place, like a park or a beach, if the city allows. Public spaces may charge less to rent than a private outdoor event space.
If you choose a wedding venue that is already decorated, either by nature or a talented designer, it will save you money you would otherwise have spent to beautify the space. Quaint old churches or barns don’t need much extra embellishment to set the scene for your wedding ceremony. A venue that looks good “as is” can help you manage your budget for a cheap wedding.
A venue that is capable of having both the ceremony and reception can significantly cut your costs. This also saves your guests time and transportation hassle by not making them go to two different places. An all-in-one wedding venue, somewhere you can get ready and stay all the way through the reception without getting in your car, cuts down on cost and stress.
Finding an Affordable Wedding Dress
Did you know that some bridal salons will rent you a wedding dress for 24 or 48 hours? Let’s face it – dresses can cost thousands of dollars. The average wedding dress cost $1517 in 2016, and that was up $137 from two years prior.
You are only going to wear it for a couple of hours and the chances are, your future daughter isn’t going to want to wear your wedding dress after it sat in the garage for more than two decades.
Renting a gown for a day or two is one of the cheapest ways to pay for your wedding dress. You will still get to wear a beautiful dress which will be preserved in photographs and on social media instead of in a box in your closet or basement!
Another option that bridal salons are offering is to purchase a sample dress. This is much cheaper than custom ordering your dress – and much quicker! You don’t have to wait 4 to 6 months for your dress to arrive. Bridal salons want to move merchandise just like other retailers, so watch for sales on last season’s collections when the new season arrives.
Not all brides want a traditional dress from a bridal salon.
One great way to have a cheap wedding is to buy your dress “off the rack”. Who needs all that formality? You could just wear a beautiful sundress or a sexy cocktail dress, especially if you are a second-time bride. As long as the bride feels beautiful in her dress, it doesn’t matter how much she paid for it.
Bridal Flowers and Other Decorations
In the search for a cheaper wedding? Look no further than your flower budget. Yes, they look and smell beautiful, but couples spend so much money on fresh flowers, it’s outrageous. The average couple spends $2061 on flowers.
There must be a way to have cheaper wedding flowers!
Once again, a venue that is already decorated is helpful in keeping costs low. But, if you want to decorate, you should consider using artificial flowers and garland, especially if you are trying to cover a large amount of space such as an archway or trellis. You can still use fresh flowers but use them sparingly – like in the bouquet. Table arrangements can be enhanced with candles, greenery and other seasonal décor.
Artificial flowers can also be reused or even sold on local, social media sites made just for that purpose. Those sites are good places to look for used decorations such as votives, vases and linens. Watch someone new who is looking to build a good reputation and will work for less money.
Affordable Wedding Photographers
Don’t be afraid to try someone new. It is easy to shop around and see different photographers’ work, now that we all have easy access to the internet and social media. Find someone whose work you like, but who is just starting out and may be willing to do the work for less – maybe someone who doesn’t have the overhead of a large, more established business.
Professional photographers usually work by the hour and by the amount of quality digital photos you want them to produce. Keeping these numbers lower will help you on your way to a cheap wedding!
Couples who want to skip the professional photographer altogether greatly benefit from today’s technological advances. Many people have a high-quality camera in their phone and those guests will be recording every moment of your big day for you. You don’t even have to rely on them to send you the photos, just sign up for a photo-sharing event on an app like “Veri” and invite all your guests to share their photos!
You can also ask a friend or relative to stream your wedding for free using Facebook Live or Twitter.
Wedding Food on a Budget
The number of guests and the choice of venue, will, in many cases, limit your food options. But, if given a choice, pick your own caterer and do a casual buffet with easy food everyone enjoys like pasta or barbeque. Being able to BYOB is key to a cheap wedding! Check if your venue charges a corkage fee, or like many, are happy for you to stock the bar.
Shows like Cake Hunters and Cupcake Wars have made our expectations of wedding cakes pretty unrealistic – multiple tiers that require a forklift to move and their own dramatic reveals with music and elaborate suspensions that drop from the ceiling. Thankfully, naked cakes are making a comeback. They are a lot less work for the bakery and still look beautiful. Or you can cut out the large cake entirely and have individual dessert servings, like cupcakes and other bite-sized treats.
Cheap Wedding Entertainment – Music & Favors
Live entertainment is fabulous, but it can be quite pricey. Hiring a DJ is much less expensive than hiring a live band. When you find a wedding DJ with the personality that matches your crowd’s energy it can be just as much fun as live music. One advantage of a DJ is being able to create your own playlist so that you have lots of different types of music at your reception with a little something for everyone.
Wedding favors, also a little something for everyone, are items that are easily crossed off the list on your way to a cheap wedding. If you absolutely feel that you must give your guests a favor, choose something you buy in bulk or something that doesn’t have to be personalized or individually wrapped and try to keep the unit price to under $1.00.
Are all of these decisions stressing you out? Are you running out of time to visit all of the vendors? Do you need some advice from an expert? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to hire a wedding planner.
Wedding planners can be a godsend to stressed-out couples, but the cost needs to be factored in just like the other items above. Thankfully, many wedding planners charge by the hour, so they can help you only as much as you need. They can even just help coordinate everything on the “day of” the wedding. Finding a wedding planner you trust and who understands what is important to you is key.
When you work with a wedding planner, you may end up saving money as most wedding planners have a network of florists, venues and caterers they work with, and they have negotiated special rates for their clients.
You deserve to have the wedding of your dreams without budget nightmares. Hopefully, you have some great ideas and are on your way to having a fabulous cheap wedding!