When I got engaged back in September, I couldn’t wait to start looking through bridal magazines and start planning the details of my special day. I am not oblivious to the cost of having a wedding, but I certainly did not want to spend a high amount either.

According to Reuters Online, the average cost of a U.S. wedding in 2017 is $27,021. That’s quite a dent in your wallet or your parent’s wallet. In the beginning of the planning stage, it’s crucial to at least set a budget. Everyone needs a starting point.

A free online tool that I like to use for my budget is The Wedding Wire’s Budget Tracker. It’s a great resource to estimate costs, track your spending, set up payments, and it provides lots of visual graphs.

To help you save a few dollars, I’d like to share with you some of the ways that I found to be helpful and effective with the planning.

Three Little Words – Do It Yourself

Some brides are extremely crafty, and others wouldn’t even know where to put a glue stick in a glue gun. That’s OK. DIY wedding items are not just about making pretty decorations.

It’s about finding what works for you. That could be supplying your own playlist, baking your own pastry favors, or printing off your own invitations. Plus, if you do have that Martha Stewart bridesmaid or relative – use them to your advantage!

One of my bridesmaids is a great sewer, and offered to make me a clutch for the day of the wedding. Its little things that you can do which will make all the financial difference

Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

Some might feel odd about reusing a wedding item, but think about the savings! I made my wedding band out of diamonds that I inherited from relatives and it turned out cheaper than buying a new one. Plus, it’s more sentimental. Also, there are great websites out there like The Recycled Bride and The Wedding Bee's Classifieds that showcase tons of great items for sale. Think about it, it’s just one day that you will be wearing that veil or sash. You might as well buy it from someone for less than from some bridal store.

Daily Deal Websites

You might think Groupon is just for dinners or daily outings, but think again. You can find lots of wedding deals on there from photography to floral. I recently bought a Groupon for a photobooth that saved me $1,000. If you are doing a destination wedding like myself, then you can even receive notification emails from that particular city and not just your hometown. Also, if you think you’ll need some bulk items like centerpiece vases or favors, why not order online through one of CeeCoupon’s affiliated retailers. I know, shameless plug on my part.

Use Other’s Ideas

With the rise of Pinterest and Etsy, start logging some time and check out what other people are doing. Often these websites can spark some great ideas in your head. I recently made my own cake topper for under twenty dollars, because I saw one that I liked on Etsy.

So, there are many ways you can trim your wedding costs without losing the fun factor. Be smart and realistic on what you can do. Your bank account will be thanking you in the long run!

Planning a Wedding on a Budget

As we said before, the average wedding cost is approximately $27,000, and with finances being a major concern for many couples, not every couple can stomach this price tag. Think about it – wedding dress, getting primped and pampered, accessories – before you know it, money will be flying out of your wedding account at light speed. This does not even take into account some of the more expensive details, namely the wedding venue and the cost of food and entertainment. Check out the average costs of a wedding, broken down by category:

Approximate Wedding Cost for 125 Guests

  • Ceremony $515.00
  • Reception $9,300.00
  • Attire $2,530.00
  • Flowers $1,075.00
  • Entertainment $3,600.00
  • Transportation & Lodging $540.00

SUBTOTAL $17,560.00

Have we scared you yet?

Fortunately, your dream wedding can be just as perfect as you imagined, even if you are watching what you spend. Just because you are on a budget does not mean your wedding needs to be cheap and drab. It is all about doing your research and planning a wedding that does not break the bank.

You can start planning your budget-friendly wedding by shopping at your favorite retailers through Couponvario.com. For instance, by shopping at FTD.com to purchase flowers for your wedding, you can save up to 20%. When you shop at top retailers, such as Macy’s to buy dress & alterations or bride's accessories, through Couponvario you can save money up to 10% off of your total purchases.

Other tips to consider when planning your wedding on a budget:

  • Cut the guest list in half. This will cut your costs on catering and invitations, which can be expensive. You’ll also save on decorations and centerpieces, which can be costly as well
  • Have your wedding at a friend or family member’s house. Having your wedding at a resort, hotel, or even a church can be VERY expensive. Not to mention you’ll have to worry about booking fees and possible scheduling problems. A good friend or a family member would be more than happy to accommodate you on your big day, and you can’t beat the cost: FREE!
  • Read wedding books and magazines instead of hiring a wedding planner. Hiring a wedding planner can be awfully expensive. According to Cost Helper, the average cost of hiring a wedding planner is $3,262. Don’t open your wallet – open some books and magazines instead and take notes on how to plan your perfect wedding on a budget.
  • Have a friend do your hair and makeup. Getting your hair and makeup done professionally can make a sizeable dent in your wedding budget. Instead of going to a salon or hiring a professional makeup artist, have your friends help you with your hair and makeup. They will be more than happy to do so, and again, you can’t beat the cost!
  • Don’t get too fancy with the food and photography. You do not have to serve a sit down dinner at your wedding. Setup a wedding buffet and let your guests serve themselves. In addition, hiring a professional photographer can set you back thousands of dollars. A good idea would be to ask someone you know that is skilled with a camera to shoot your wedding for you – this can be done in lieu of a wedding gift. Or, you could put out a bunch of disposable cameras and let your wedding guests shoot the wedding and reception. 

Here are some tips to save from our friend:

  • Buy wholesale flowers (whatever is fresh) and arrange them with a bunch of friends. Maybe have the bridal party's boquets made, but arrange the centerpieces yourself.
  • Have a morning wedding with a brunch reception. Have a lunchtime wedding. Cheaper food and cheaper venue rental.
  • Use people's skills in lieu of gifts. Have a friend that plays an instrument? Processional/recessional music done. Have a friend that likes to bake? Cupcakes done. Have a bossy friend? Day-of coordinating done (you will never appreciate her bossiness more).
  • Don't be precious about the food or drinks. Sam Adams is good beer and pizza is good food. Don't spend $35 on vegetable wellington. Get good inexpensive food and normal beer and wine. Or potluck.
  • Sam's Club will accept returns on unopened beer and wine. Do not underestimate how much this can save you.
  • A lot of guys own suits, very few own tuxes. Wear suits rather than ill-fitting rented tuxes still smelling of last weeks prom.
  • Nobody will notice what you arrive or leave in. Skip the limo and the horse drawn carriage, they're schedule killers anyway.
  • Remember that super awesome wedding favor you got at your cousin's wedding last month? Of course not, because wedding favors suck. Nobody on Earth needs a beer koozy with your face on it.
  • Oh my God, you have to do X! It's tradition! No it's not. Nothing you think is tradition is actually tradition. Bouquet toss, not tradition. Cocktail hour, not tradition. Favors, not tradition. Cake, not tradition. Chair sash, not tradition. Altar, not tradition.
  • Side note- why are weddings the one time in your life that chairs need sashes? Our house is dressed up nice for Christmas every year and we've never had chair sashes. No sashes at prom, no sashes at funerals, no sashes at Christenings, no sashes at Presidential Inaugurals, no sashes at graduation.
  • Photographer - forget it, spend the money. It's going to cost $5,000. I know it sounds like an insane amount of money, that's because it is. But don't think your family or friends can do this because it is really high pressure and really difficult. You will always wish you had great photos from that day. Unless you don't care about photos, then screw it and don't have any photographer. With the photographer you have to be all in or all out.
  • Do Not try to save money by picking stuff up instead of delivery. Delivery sounds expensive until you are in the middle of setting up a hall, then it's worth 10 times what you spent.
  •  See that cute ivory bridesmaids dress for $99? That would make a very pretty wedding dress for way cheaper.

As you can see, the path to having the wedding of your dreams does not have to be an expensive one. When it comes to planning your wedding on a tight budget, it is all about doing your research and using your creativity. Ask for help when you need it. You’d be surprised at the connections certain friends and family members have in the service and entertainment industry.

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