Unique Budgeting Ideas for Saving Money on Weddings
Have a Destination Wedding
When most people hear the words "destination wedding," they don't think "budget wedding." In reality, having a wedding away from your home, even overseas, can actually end up saving you quite a bit, according to Michelle Joven-Molano, Banquet and Events Manager at the Boracay Regency Hotel in the Philippines. "For starters," says Joven-Molano, "you're likely to end up trimming your guest list, as some of your local friends and relatives won't be able to make the trip." Since most weddings are priced per person, this can be a way to reduce your budget -- without going through the uncomfortable process of deciding who is on the A list and who is not. If you live in a high-expense area, such as certain parts of California or New York, you can possibly even save a bundle by holding your ceremony in a lower-cost area. Travel expenses will obviously rise, but you can often more than balance the added costs with savings in food, beverage, favors and other areas.
Ask for Help Instead of Gifts
One of the age-old rituals attached to getting married is crafting an extensive wish list for gifts -- and going back to numerous stores after the wedding to return unwanted gifts. You can avoid this problem altogether and help save on your wedding by requesting donations of time, money or specific gifts. For example, "if you're having your wedding overseas," suggests Joven-Molano, "ask for plane tickets to help you reach your destination. If you plan on flying out your parents or other guests, see if anyone can donate air miles to get them to your event without any out-of-pocket expense. Rather than hiring a catering crew, ask the culinary-minded among your guests to kick in some time to help prepare meals. Review the talents of your invitees and ask that their gifts be their skills, rather than cash out of their wallets.
Consider Alternative Venues
For some weddings, the cost of a venue can be the single largest expense a couple will face. Part of the reason is that some places that are known as "wedding venues" mark up their prices considerably. There are plenty of beautiful places that don't charge an arm and a leg to host an event. If you're diligent, you might even find some that are free or very low-cost, such as outdoor parks or beaches. Some couples combine their weddings and honeymoons into a single event by having a wedding on a cruise ship. Cruise weddings can help your budget tremendously since you'll be able to bundle your reception venue, hotel, transportation and honeymoon costs into one affordable package. Another option would be to hold your wedding at a place that has special meaning for you but doesn't normally host events, such as a theater, playhouse or even a ball field.
You can't cut everything out of your wedding budget in an attempt to rein in costs, or else you won't have any wedding at all. By the same token, if you're trying to keep expenses under control, you may not be able to have everything you want. Find a happy medium with your spouse-to-be and decide together what the most important factors are in making your wedding memorable. Realize that some areas of your budget are likely more flexible than others. For example, food and beverage costs can be modified greatly depending on your own priorities. Some couples insist on serving a traditional, sit-down meal with expensive entrees, while others just provide finger food for their guests. Another area with large variability is entertainment, with options ranging from a 13-piece band to a portable music player. By choosing your priorities, you can more easily shift money from one area of your budget to another.