Let’s face it: Weddings are all about the bells and whistles, which means there’s lots of room for economizing and doing things creatively. For many young people, particularly those who are footing the bill themselves, getting started in life as a married couple is an expensive proposition. As such, you may decide it’s better to be smart with your income and save for the future rather than planning and funding a “storybook” wedding. Besides, you can have a memorable wedding at home surrounded by close friends and loved ones rather than your father’s boss’ brother-in-law, third cousins, and an array of people you’d swear just wandered in off the street. Here are a few ideas to help make your special day fun without blowing the budget.
Prune That Guest List
A small guest list means a smaller outlay of cash, so why not focus on the people who really mean the most to you? Sure, you’ll get fewer wedding gifts, but who needs three waffle irons and two toaster ovens anyway? Don’t let mom and dad pressure you to include their doubles partners from the club either. Remember, this is your day. Keeping it low key and low budget almost always makes good sense. Besides, wouldn’t you rather have more money to put toward a truly awesome and memorable honeymoon?
Handle the Food Arrangements Yourself
If you’re limiting the guest list to your nearest and dearest friends and relatives, you probably have a really good feel for the kind of food they like. That knowledge will come in handy if you or a relative is handling the cooking. Admittedly, it’s a lot of work and preparation to make sure
there’s plenty to go around, so catering might be your best option. Do some out-of-the-box brainstorming and consider having it catered by a popular local restaurant, preferably a place that’s well-known to your guests. Do some investigating — you might find that that Greek place everyone loves actually does catering or will for a special occasion. And forego those fancy chafing dishes and fancy China; paper or plastic ware will work just fine.
Back Off the Flowers
If you’re getting married at home, use the occasion to show off the natural beauty of your well-landscaped backyard. Enlist the family for a day of mowing, edging the lawn, trimming trees, pruning bushes, and planting a few strategically placed flowers. Consider adding an arbour or pergola, which makes a beautiful focal point for your outdoor ceremony. You could decorate your own prefab arbour or go all out with a professionally made trellis.
Avoid investing heavily in floral arrangements, especially if you’re tying the knot in a natural setting. Try restricting it to a rose for each bridesmaid and a bouquet for the bride. If you have something more florally elaborate in mind, use the opportunity to get creative and make your own distinctive arrangements rather than leaving it all in the florist’s hands.
If you’re getting married at home, your house (or your parent’s) will serve as storage space, planning/meeting HQ, chapel, and guest lodgings during the run-up period to the big day, so it’s important to stay organized. Try designating one area — may be the dining room or den — as a staging area while the kitchen serves as home base for food items and supplies. Tables and chairs should be kept out of the elements in a safe place, perhaps the basement or garage (this is also probably the best place to store your tent supplies). Ultimately, the most important thing is knowing where the individual elements of your wedding are stored so the whole show can be put together quickly, easily, and with as little stress as possible.
Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life, but that doesn’t mean you have to go into hock over it. Your friends and family will have a good time just being there whether you choose to go big budget or minimalist. The key is to make it personal and intimate.
Tips for Cost-Conscious Couples
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