A Broke Bride Isn't a Happy Bride
Would you believe that Iand I had the wedding of my dreams for $10,000 and only spent about $1,500 of our own money on it?
I wondered all week if I should write this post because I am not by any means a financial guru. I'd like to think i'm pretty savvy and after having a conversation with a friend today about getting what you want for your wedding without going broke, now seems like the perfect time to let you in on some of my tips and tricks .
First and foremost, set a wedding budget.
It isn't glamorous but it will save you so much time and keep you in check. This is going to be an eye opening exercise into what really goes into planning a wedding but it is important that everything is covered. List everything and prioritize what is most important to you and what you want on your day.
Once you've set your budget and ready to start planning, my first tip is to pull out your inner business person and get ready to do some negotiating. You'd be surprised how much flexibility the wedding industry has. I'm going to use my own wedding as a case study.
We searched venues for a few weeks after getting engaged and I knew going into it that a Saturday wedding was not financially in the cards. Friday and off-season weddings are becoming more popular but they still don't come close to an on-season, Saturday wedding. We opted for Friday of Memorial Day weekend so we had more time off to enjoy with friends and family without taking off an extra day from work. In my mind, a hotel was not in my overall vision but despite that, we looked at a hotel. Let me tell you, once you see what a hotel that regularly does weddings has to offer, your vision, like mine, may change.
The hotel we ended up going with quoted us $12,000 for a Friday wedding including food, drinks, a champagne toast, credit towards a cake at a local bakery, and a free night in the presidential suite. A lot of great perks but, for a 75 person wedding there was no way we were going to be able to reach $12,000 in food and drink. We knew that and they knew that.
So, we went into business mode and negotiated.
That $12,000 ticket came down to $5,000 with all of those perks still included. Those little extras alone easily saved us $700. Always ask what they have to offer and if you're not satisfied, ask for more. It never hurts to ask.
I can't take full credit for my second tip, but it is one I now stand by. Get a credit card with benefits. If your significant other will ever be on board with you having a friend with benefits, a good credit card will be it.
In our case, we got a credit card for the hotel for where we were having the wedding and the deposit needed was the same amount needed to earn 2 FREE nights to any hotel in that chain anywhere in the world. Pay the deposit on the card and automatically earn 2 free hotel stays? Done and done.
From there on out, any purchase made at that hotel was used with the credit card and earning points towards free nights. After all was said and done, we earned a cool 7 day honeymoon. For. Free. All because we used the credit card and paid it off with the money we we would have used otherwise. (That part is key, pay off your debt!)
Other ways to save money is to DIY whatever you can, but be mindful of what will actually be cost effective and time worthy. And if it's not, just buy it and you can resell it later.
If there is someone who is willing to help out that will save you from writing a check, take it. Paying for a wedding is not the time to be too proud to take some help. If someone wants to help, let them. Especially if that person is a family member, it's usually as much of a gift to them to be able to help as it is to you to receive.
This tip is a little something for the fellas but ladies you can definitely do this, as well. Bachelor/ette parties are fun, but they are yet again a money sucking aspect of the wedding process. Instead, opt for a stag or hens party and make a little money from it. Host it at a bar or restaurant that you can get a good deal at for open bar and food for a few hours and sell tickets to get in. That ticket price should cover the food and bar plus a little more so for every ticket sold you're making $10-15. Once they're in, have donated raffle baskets and a 50/50 and let your guests have some fun with it. You'd be surprised how many free items you can from companies if you just ask and even if you have to throw in a little of your own money, the return will more than cover it.
And lastly, start looking at how much money you can estimate to receive at the wedding. The average now is about $75-100 per person so you should be able to estimate how much you can get back and put towards paying off that credit card or any other last minute expenses and use that number to fine tune your final personal budget.
So, after a small donation from family, some help along the way, earnings from the stag party and financial gifts at the wedding we were easily able to have an amazing wedding without breaking the bank and spend a nice week-long honeymoon stress free. I hope these little tips and tricks help and I'd love to hear more about what has worked for you!