I’m going to state the obvious here – weddings aren’t cheap, well, they aren’t for most people anyway. I remember my wife’s and my wedding like it was yesterday. We had an amazing day, the weather was good (for the most part anyway) and we got to spend the day with all of our closest family and friends. Having said that, the day wasn’t at all cheap and it flew by in what felt like record time. I swear that the day began and end within the space of about 3 hours, the entire thing was a bit of a whirlwind experience.
Anyway, if I was to have my time again I’m pretty sure I would like to do a few things differently in order to save money.
1 – Keep the Head Count Small
One of the biggest items for a wedding is the reception and catering for all your guests. Many venues will charge anywhere from $100 through to $300 per person. When you start counting all your friends, relatives, well wishers and that great aunt that you haven’t seen since you were a kid, then it all gets very pricey.
For our wedding we ended up having close to 100 people, and looking back at it I think we could have easily got away with 80 if we wanted to. The first thing I would do is cut out all the boyfriends and girlfriends – if you aren’t already married in, then sorry, but you miss out. We ended up catering for about 4 or 5 of these boyfriends and girlfriends who we will never see again – the reason, well they broke up didn’t they.
I also invited a heap of people from work, some I am still friends with, but many I haven’t seen or spoken to in ages – hardly seems worth it. I could have cut out an entire table of about 10 people right there.
Random relatives and well wishers. My mother insisted on inviting a handful of random people I barely knew to our wedding – I’m not joking even in the slightest. If I was to have my time again I would have just said no and been done with it – another 3 people gone from the list.
Then there are second cousins and what I will classify as “others” simply because i’m not sure how i’m related to these people – they could all pretty much not be there in my opinion – save another 5 to 10 people.
About the only group of people I wouldn’t change are the friends. For the most part all the friends we invited are still friends (there are one or two that are MIA) and so I don’t think I would change that at all.
2 – Don’t have the Wedding Ceremony on a Weekend
As soon as you mention the word wedding the price goes up about 20% in my experience. Then when you say wedding and say you want it on a Saturday or Sunday, be prepared to spend even more. To be fair, weekends are busy for all these wedding services people, and so they can charge what they please, but on weekdays, the game is a bit fairer as they have a lot less work on, so you can make some very tidy savings just by moving the date.
3 – Have an Outdoors Wedding
We got married in a church, and followed it up with a reception in a hall. Both were really nice and well presented, but it came at a cost, and neither was cheap. I now wonder if we would have been better to have the ceremony in a park or on the beach. I also know that many people have the reception in the backyard, so there are plenty of ways to save money there.
4 – Hire over Buying
I hired my suit for the wedding, as did my groomsmen. It was actually a pretty good day going out and trying on suits, and it cost us only a really small amount when compared to buying suits outright.
Wedding dresses are even more expensive than suits, and the funny thing is that you only ever really wear it once, whereas a suit can be worn many times over. If you can manage it, I would recommend looking at either secondhand wedding dresses, or hiring a wedding dress for the day, both of these options will save you heaps of money.
OK, so the list is hardly all inclusive, but it does show that there are plenty of things to consider when planning a wedding. So be smart and really think things through, you don’t want to go and waste money on things if you don’t have to.