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Top 10 Ways to Save Thousands on the Wedding Budget

Weddings can become awfully expensive.... and when you are just starting out on your brand new journey together - the last thing any couple needs is more debt! From college loans, new home, vehicles, family and much more that you are already paying on... to add more debt for a one day event seems totally ridiculous! While everyone dreams of the picture perfect event, the lavish details, the breathtaking decor, sinfully delicious delicacies, jawdropping dresses, and entertainment to boot - doing it on a budget seems nearly impossible!

But it doesn't have to be! Here are the top 10 ways you can save thousands on your day of event without giving up anything you want!

10) Forgo the rehearsal dinner and host a brunch the day of the wedding instead...

Rehearsals usually take 10 minutes... travel for out of town bridal party members, costs for being on the road , missing work, gas/airline/travel expenses, food while traveling can add up pretty quick for the immediate family and bridal party members. Then an expensive dinner the night before can put a pinch on finances as well.... To help both the family paying the tab as well as all bridal party members - skip the night before rehearsal dinner. Instead have your rehearsal the morning of the event, followed by an exquisite brunch that will keep your party full and happy throughout the day - until the reception occurs. Many times party members skip the morning breakfast trying to help with set up, getting ready, pictures, etc - and they don't eat! This will help prevent any issues that day with HANGRY people in your pics, keep everyone happy and will cost half as much as dinner the night before. PLUS it saves the bridal party on a full day of extra travel expenses having to come in early for a 10 minute rehearsal the day prior..... (Going this route will save usually a few hundred dollars on your food tab- plus even more for your bridal party travelling)

9) Decor (Rentals vs. Pinterest DIY projects)

Everyone loves pinterest when preparing for their weddings! However - love those pictures - but love saving money even more. Take those pictures to local rental facilities....don't invest in purchasing all of the materials into creating every piece of decor yourself. The time, effort and cost to create from scratch is hardly ever a money saving endeavor. Most rental facilities now offer tons of decor for relatively cheap compared to the cost of purchasing and making.... What are you going to do with 30 handcreated centerpieces once your event is over? The rental facilities will bring in, set up and come back and tear down all of your decor for the day - you never have to lift a finger - and costs to rent vs. purchasing the materials and making can be quite a savings! Plus you'll not have to stress over all of the hauling in, setting up and taking down the day of your wedding! (save hundreds by renting)

8) Attire

Allowing your bridal party as well as the bride and groom to look for end of season sales and closeout bargains can be a great way to help everyone save some extra dough. Giving the bridal party the opportunity to purchase mismatch attire that will suit their own shape, sizes, and styles that truly flatter their figures, and will allow them to reuse again after your event is over - is a wonderful thank you to them for participating! (typically saving a few hundred dollars per person)

7) Photography - Wedding PLUS Engagement Packages

When searching for your photographer, consider looking for one who will offer free engagement sessions. Typically you'll pay for your engagement photos- but take this time as the perfect opportunity to find your dream team photography company for your wedding. You need to be sure that you are comfortable with this crew - so come wedding day you know each other enough to understand what is expected and be compatible behind the scenes. If you are thrilled with your engagement photos - many photographers will credit you back the cost of your session when you purchase the wedding package from them! (usually a $300-800 savings pending photographer and packages)

6) Inclusive Vendors

There are tons of wedding day service providers now that are partnering up and offering one stop shopping! Pending your needs - you can save a ton by ordering multiple packages from one company compared to hiring individuals for every service needed. There are several here in the CNY region that offer coordination/planning, officiant, photography/videography, photobooth, live music, graphic art work and much more all under one roof. One stop shopping can save typically upwards of $1000 or more when booking multiple vendors this way.

5) Travel/Honeymoon Savings

If you are hosting your event anytime over the weekend - save your travel plans until beginning of the week. Friends and family are all travelling to be with you for your event... use your weekend to actually have the time to visit and enjoy them while they are here! Leaving for a honeymoon or stay-cation can wait until Monday or Tuesday - when airfare and travel costs are much cheaper. Hotel stays are also better priced coming in at the beginning of the week as well. You'll easily save a few hundred dollars and up by waiting that extra day and spending it with family instead of leaving immediately following the event.

4) Seasonal/Off Day/Spur of the Moment Discounts

There's several ways to keep some extra bucks in your pockets when you plan ahead! Choosing Your Date is the biggest one! Look at off season (NY would be Nov- April dates) as well as off days (any days other than Saturdays). By finding alternative days you're willing to host your wedding - instead of prime Saturdays during the main wedding season - almost all vendors will give you discounts! A 5-15% discount from vendors is average for any bookings on off days. Add this up against an average of 5-8 different vendors - and you've already saved over $1500! Same goes for off season - additional discounts are taken if you're willing to host during the typical down time of year... If you are trying to pull a fast wedding together in under 6 months from you anticipated date - many vendors will be willing to give additional discounts if you are filling in any dates not yet taken... as much as 50% off of services and venues - if you are flexible with dates and needs! This can literally save you several thousand on your entire event!

3) Rentals vs. Disposables

Depending on your priorities... the fine china, silverware and crystal glasses may be expected for your event... However, if you're savy and do a little research - you can find some incredible disposables out there that look like the real thing! By utilizing chinet or disposables for your dining, silver and glass ware- you typically save nearly $2000 for the average size wedding instead of renting the breakables. Not only does it save on the rental fees, but will also save from the caterers who will charge another fee on top of rentals for having to handle all of the unpacking, setting, then bussing, scraping, washing and re-crating. With how advanced things have become - many times you can't even tell the difference!

2) Serving Style

You typically have 4 options when it comes to your dinner.... buffet, stations, family style or sit down. You will find the cheapest is always buffet. It's easy, least amount of staff, and prep and cleanup is much simpler and less time consuming. Stations can be relatively the same cost - pending on if you keep the same staff numbers for serving - or if you decide you want all stations to be served for you.

When getting into the family style and sit down offerings - you will see a 2-4 times the cost increase. As the amount of staff, the need for tons of additional ovens, warmers, grills, and more are all needed behind the scenes, and labor intensity is a significant factor. By keeping to the buffet or stations - you typically save about $4000 or more pending caterer/packages/options by having the exact same menu but offering as a buffet instead of sit down served and plated affair.

1) Alcohol

Hands down the biggest cost for any wedding is when you decide to serve liquor/alcohol at your event. While NYS law mandates that you have an alcohol license for any mass gathering event - some facilities are willing to allow you to bring in your own beverages - but then hire them to serve and license the event for you. Going this route for an average size wedding of 150 can usually save a few thousand dollars off of a typical open bar bill from the caterer! IF byob is not an option - then consider some alternatives...

do not provide alcohol during the typical "cocktail hour" preceding dinner. Most people will binge drink when they first arrive - and most have been on the road travelling and have not been eating. This will lead to huge issues with people overdoing it on arrival and consuming way more alcohol than they should on an empty stomach! Keep alcoholic beverages served just during the reception. You can also choose not to have open bar - but only provide wine and beer. If you decide your group just has to have some liquor options - signature drinks have been an amazing way to still offer a few liquor options - but without having to go the route of full open bar. This alone can save upwards of $1000 if you are providing your beverages for just the signature drinks and not full open bar!

So easily looking through your options here - you can save a few hundred to upwards of $5000+ just on your bar alone!

While the average CNY wedding is between $28-35,000 - you can easily cut your costs in half - just by following a few or all of the above mentioned ideas! Everyone loves to save money! But it's even better when you are saving thousands that can be reinvested into your future together!

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