14 tips to help rein in a blown-out wedding budget

It’s no secret that weddings can be a costly affair. From the reception venue down to the bomboniere, it’s easy to blow out even the strictest budget.

It’s important not to lose sight though that your wedding is merely one day in a long and happy marriage, so it pays to be smart when it comes to costs. Follow Bride Tasmania’s tips on reining in a blown-out budget.

1. Prioritise

Make a list of the most important things you want for your big day and have your fiancé do the same. Is your heart set on a 400+ guest list or would you prefer to secure your dream location but which only has space for 100? Knowing your priorities before the planning starts will help you decide what to spend money on, and what you don’t mind doing cheaply or doing without.

2. Trim the guest list

This is difficult but sometimes necessary if the cost per guest is going to break your budget. Cross off names who might feel obligated to come to the wedding if they are invited, but would not have their feelings hurt if they are not asked to attend.

3. Reduce the number of people in your bridal party

Having a large bridal party adds a slew of extra costs – from their thank you gifts to the bridesmaids’ hair, make-up, and (for generous brides-to-be) dresses. For especially thrifty couples, it may be worth doing away with a bridal party all together.

4. Save on photography

Professionally posed and properly lit photos are one of the few beautiful keepsakes you’ll have from your special day, but getting them doesn’t have to break the bank. Choose an experienced photographer who will include all of the images on a CD for one low price. Then you can make as many inexpensive copies as you need rather than pay a huge reprint fee to the photographer.

5. Consider a country or small town wedding

Venues, catering, and florists tend to be cheaper in smaller towns than in large metropolitan areas. 

6. Avoid having a Saturday wedding

Fridays are popular wedding days but may cost a lot less than a Saturday event. For even greater savings, choose a weekday evening for your wedding. Schedule the wedding to allow guests time to arrive at the ceremony after the workday has ended.

7. Have your ceremony and reception in the same location

Cut out the travel (and car hire fees) between the church and reception venue by holding your nuptials at the same location as your reception. You may also be able to negotiate a cheaper price for using more than one service provided at a particular location. 

8. Hire students to save on your music budget

If you don’t know any musicians yourself, call local school music departments rather then browsing the internet. Students will be cheaper than professionals.

9. Ask friends to lend their talents by helping out with your invites

Ask a friend with pretty penmanship to address your invitations instead of hiring a calligrapher. 

10. Make use of the internet

Use an online service for RSVPs and simply include the web address on your invitations, saving the need for RSVP cards and extra postage. 

11. Make smart choices on flowers

Choose flowers that are in season. Buy the flowers in bulk at a market and arrange them yourself. Or, some trade schools that train florists will arrange wedding bouquets for the cost of the flowers.

12. Have cupcakes instead of a traditional wedding cake

Wedding cupcakes are a popular choice and they’re not hard to make yourself. Or enlist the help of family or friends who having the baking touch.

13. Alter a dress

Look for a dress at a secondhand store or eBay and have it altered. Ensure the fabric is in good condition. 

14. Consider a non-traditional dress

Consider a non-traditional dress that you could wear again after the wedding. This will make the cost easier to justify. The days of strictly white dresses are gone, with many brides opting for a coloured dress. You can easily get a longer dress altered to cocktail length and then use that for other formal gathers for years to come.

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