Nine Money Saving Strategies for Getting Married on a Budget

With the year 2013 upon us, everyone is closely watching their budget and trying to survive financially as inflation has caused everything from apples to rent to rise in price.

If you are planning a wedding in 2013, then perhaps you are attempting to get married on a cash budget.

My wife and I went through this exact process five years ago.

money saved at the wedding is more spending money on the honeymoon

Remember, money saved at the wedding is more spending money on the honeymoon

 

Here are nine of our money saving strategies for getting married on a cash budget.

Go Off Season

The first thing that we learned is that if you get married in the off season, or the non-busy season, everything is cheaper.

My wife and I shopped around and wedding venue prices were about half the price in January compared to the prices in June.

Because of the lack of demand to get married at that time of year, most churches and wedding halls will offer a discounted price to fill their church on a Saturday during the winter.

Be sure to shop around and negotiate deals with each vendor you encounter, especially the less known vendors that aren’t as popular.

 

Pick a Weekday

Another cost saving option is to pick a weekday for your big day rather than a Saturday (or Sunday).

Thursday or Friday weddings have become quite popular and often come with discounted rates from wedding vendors because it is atypical of the flow of the wedding season.

Sometimes it pays to be different!

 

Cut Down the Guest List

The single biggest expense of a wedding is the cost of food at the wedding reception.

It is not unusual to pay $15 – $20 per plate at many wedding reception venues, so in order to minimize that cost, cut down on the number of guests that you want to invite to the wedding.

An easy way to think about who to cut out, after immediate family is invited, is to consider cutting the names of friends who live farther than 50 miles away from where you are currently living.

If you follow the advice of getting married during the week or the off season, there is a good chance that they will not come anyway.

Another way to cut down on the guest list is to think about the people who will drink the most at your wedding and exclude them from the guest list.

This will save a lot of money if you choose to have an open bar or offer free beer at the reception hall.

 

Cash Bar or Tickets Please

Avoid an expensive reception bill by not having an open bar or covered drinks.

Use a cash bar system where everybody pays for whatever they purchase or use a ticket system to limit the amount of drinks that you purchase for your guests.

My wife and I set a drink budget for our entire wedding at $500.

We purchased that many tickets ahead of time and handed out tickets to friends and family on a case by case basis.

Everything else was purchased by the guests themselves.

 

Look For Hotel Extras

When my wife and I got married, we chose a reception hall at a local hotel specifically because it included a honeymoon suite, as well as a lot of extras that allowed us to save a lot of money on our special wedding day.

These extras can save a lot of money and time.

Check out wedding vendors that include complimentary table centerpieces, extra linen and napkin color choices, complimentary cutting of the wedding cake, free music for the social hour before the start of the wedding reception and other extra items that can really add up in the long run.

If you are considering getting married in the Minneapolis area, then the Americas Best Shakopee Hotel has many of these items that you can use for free with the use of their wedding banquet room.

 

Flowers and Grocers

While specialty flower shops offer the rare and exclusive flower options, they also rarely come with a cheap price tag.

For a better budget alternative, check the flower prices from your local grocery stores.

It may sound unusual, but grocery stores can often get a great deal from flower vendors because they can buy flowers in bulk, especially if you purchase from a chain of grocery stores such as Mega Pick ‘n Save.

 

Shop in Bulk for Tuxedos

When picking out the tuxedos for the guys, pick a tuxedo rental store that gives a free tux to the groom with all the guys renting a tux at that same store.

This is a simple way to save $100 – $150 or more when the groom gets his tuxedo for free.

While shopping around, ask about other free second day returns for the tuxedos or for discounts on cleaning the tuxes if they get damaged or dirty during the wedding reception.

 

Share the Love

The final strategy I have to share is to share the love.

Network with other friends who have gotten married recently and see if you can borrow their unity candle holder, their bridal crown, extra jewelry, or any of the other little extras that are on your list that you need to purchase for your big day.

Party stores will sell each of these items to you for $20 – $50 each, but if you can borrow a friend’s side candles for the day, the savings will add up quickly.

 

The Final Word

No matter where you get married, be sure to stick to a cash budget and don’t go into debt. Financial worries and stress are one of the top causes of divorce among couples in America.

Don’t fall into the trap of swiping a credit card for your big day.

Stick to a budget and follow these strategies to have a happy, rewarding and affordable wedding day.

 

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Chris Wensink is the Director of Information Technology for Heyde Companies, owners of the Americas Best Value Inn and Suites of Shakopee, MN. He is a husband and father of two children living in Chippewa Falls, WI. For more information about the wedding options, visit the hotel Minneapolis wedding venues page now.

Chris – who has written posts on GeekandJock.