Birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries are fun family affairs, but none of them can compare to the grandeur of a wedding. Weddings the ultimate celebration of love and commitment. They’re also very expensive. Families routinely spend thousands of dollars to organize the perfect wedding. While some may find the figures excessive, a few would argue that it is money well spent.
And then came the pandemic. With the economy in tatters, millions of people have had to downsize to make ends meet. Many hit pause on their wedding plans. According to a recent wedding study, the 2020 average cost of a wedding (including the reception) is $19,000, a far cry from $28,000 for 2019. $19,000 is still a lot of money, which is why need to ask: Why are weddings so expensive?
Wedding costs are heavily influenced by the guest count. Venues and vendors typically charge by the head, and the more guests you have, the more you’ll have to pay. You also need a team of skilled vendors to make your wedding day unforgettable. It takes real skill to design the venue, create the bouquet, and bake the cake, among other things.
But just because you’re cost-cutting doesn’t mean your wedding has to look and feel cheap. You can still organize a beautiful wedding on a tight budget. Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Set a hard spending limit
Most weddings are too expensive to be shouldered by one person alone, and in many cases, the planning process becomes a multi-family affair. For instance, you can split the wedding costs between the two families. This system is simple and easy to understand. However, some people may want to have a say in the decision process. You can ask them to pay for a specific part of the wedding, such as the venue or the catering.
Whichever system you choose, it’s important to put a cap on your spending. That means you need to set a hard budget to prevent spending creep. Planning a wedding is often an emotional affair and the price tag is rarely considered in the decision-making process. Be realistic about your finances and do not take out a loan to pay for your wedding.
2. Downsize your wedding
Spending creep happens when you don’t rein in your expenses. Think about your plans for your wedding. Do you really need a $2,000 wedding cake? Can you defend spending $3,000 on flowers? You need to make a few sacrifices if you want to get out of this with zero debt. Otherwise, you could be stuck with credit card bills that would take you years to pay off.
Downsizing your wedding need not be painful. You can still have everything you want if you’re smart with your choices. For instance, instead of a ballroom in a hotel, you might want to look for barn venues for weddings. Swap out your expensive cake for something simpler (and cheaper).
3. Ask for help from friends and family
Cutting the guest list often seems like a painful but necessary method of minimizing spending. Wedding costs are directly tied to the number of guests, but that’s only if you’re paying for everything. But what if there was a way to involve everyone you love while keeping costs down? Asking help from your friends and family is a great way to save money while involving everyone.
Let’s say you’re throwing a backyard wedding. You can ask your friends to contribute flowers or food. You can even involve the entire community in setting up the venue and putting up decorations. It all depends on how far you’re willing to go to save money.
4. Take advantage of deals
In the days before the pandemic, costs tended to fluctuate depending on the month or even the week of your wedding. You can expect to pay top dollar if you want a wedding in June. On the other hand, you can save money if you want a winter wedding. However, the pandemic has upended the wedding industry, which forced vendors to lower their prices if they want to attract clients.
You can easily lower costs by taking advantage of deep discounts from vendors. If you already have an existing contract with your vendors, you can always renegotiate for lower rates. It may seem opportunistic, but a percentage of something is better than 100 percent of nothing.
A final word
Everyone deserves to have the perfect wedding, even if you’re on a budget. As long as you are strict with your money and make smarter decisions, you can organize a budget wedding that is just as memorable as an expensive one.