Since we are both in our early twenties and don’t have a lot to spend, we were hoping to keep our wedding as small as possible. So here are some tactics you could try to cut down your costs without diminishing your experience or that of your guests.
Avoid an enormous guest list.
Although you might be tempted to throw everyone you know on your guest list, that isn’t always a great idea. With each addition you make, you’re adding additional costs while also making your wedding less intimate. To save as much as you can, try inviting fewer people and making the event more intimate.
Ask relatives for wedding help and no wedding gifts.
Ask family and friends to offer help or services that align with their talents in lieu of a gift is a great way to keep your wedding on a budget. You might have friends and relatives who are into music, photography, catering etc.
Celebrate few ceremonies at home or outside
Renting a building or function hall for your ceremony and reception can be very expensive. Instead, consider using your own home for your ceremony, or perhaps a public park with a beautiful view. In each case, you can also have your reception outdoors, creating a picturesque, memorable ceremony while eliminating the cost of renting a venue.
Do the catering yourself, or hire a family-owned restaurant
Handle the food preparations by yourself. This drastically reduced the food costs for the ceremony. If this isn’t your forte, look around your community for a family-owned restaurant and ask the owners directly to cater your wedding. Family-owned restaurants are always the first place to check – they will almost always go the extra mile to make your wedding special and are generally more understanding of your particular budget needs.
Go minimal with the flowers.
Instead of spending boatloads of money on flowers that will die shortly after the reception, go with fake flowers instead. It’s likely that no one will even notice, and you could save a bundle by making the arrangements yourself well ahead of time.
Make your own invitations
With a quality home printer and some time, you can make very classy invitations on your own. With your picture, classic font, and simple text it will look stylish and will not cost much at all.
Stock the bar yourself
Alcohol is a big expense when it comes to a lot of weddings, and it’s also a big variable you can play around with to cut costs. Instead of opting for a full open bar, for instance, you can save money offering just beer and wine, or a free cocktail hour followed by a cash bar. If you do rent a function hall, ask if they’ll let you supply your own alcohol instead of using the venues, which can be a big money-saver If you want to offer a full bar, pick up the standard liquors like vodka, gin, rum, and whiskey, plus a few mixers and soft drinks like sodas and juice.
Display ‘vendor cards’ in exchange for reduced rates.
If you’re hiring people to provide services for your reception (musicians, a DJ, florists, caterers, photographers, etc.), offer to advertise for them in exchange for reduced rates. At the reception, put a small card by each person’s place setting that lists the businesses responsible for each service at the wedding, along with their contact information. Since this tends to be very effective advertising, many businesses will happily provide services at reduced rates in exchange for this opportunity.
Plan a simple honeymoon
A huge, over-the-top honeymoon might sound fun, but it’s far, far cheaper to stay closer to home. You could even just hop in the car and spend a week or two seeing all of the local sights you’ve never had time to see until now. Whatever you do, just enjoy this time together.
Involve your closest friends and family in the preparations
As you’re brainstorming cheap wedding ideas, you should get your closest friends and family involved with the details. Quite often, they’ll have surprisingly good ideas that can save you money and effort. Good friends and family are always there to help, and they’ll be especially happy to contribute to such a joyful occasion — so you might as well take advantage of their generosity.
Start planning way before!
When you’re trying to have a wedding on a budget, it’s important to plan ahead. List everything you can think of and walk through these items step by step. The earlier you get started – and the more things you think about early on – the less “last-minute stress” you’ll have, and the more time you’ll have to find sales and discounts and research other good ideas.
Something will probably go wrong at the last minute – a little detail of some sort won’t work out. Don’t worry about it. Just assume something little is going to go wrong and avoid the urge to throw money at the problem. Most likely, no one will even notice the little issue, and quite often someone in your wedding party (or someone helping out) will come up with a pretty good solution to fix things.