Few things are as confusing, time consuming and difficult as making a wedding plan. Add to it the word affordable and the heads shall spin a few times more. But with a bit of guidance, planning the perfect wedding could be just as enjoyable as the wedding itself! Here’s to it:
Let’s see first the average amount that you need to shell out for your wedding. It can range anywhere between $20,000 and $30,000; however, if you are careful about a few details, you may make your budget stick to the lower limits. As an example, you do not need the most expensive custom-made wedding gown; you may save on the most elegant invitation cards by rejecting the gold leaves or you do not require the top photographer from the industry. What we are speaking about are suitable alternatives that shall still make your wedding an unique and a special one. And if you are still hell bent on the abovementioned, you are welcome; it’s just that you shall run into a debt(s) unless you have the cash ready for the purpose. So put everything into one single perspective – What stays with you (apart from the memory and your spouse) after your wedding day is over?
The rings, definitely; the bridal gown (packed and tucked neatly in a corner of the wardrobe) and the photo/video albums. Out of these three, the bridal gown can be rented (at a fraction of the cost of buying one) but not the videos and the rings. So put your money on something that’s worth a lifetime – in this case, the photo/videographer(s) and your wedding rings. And if you still want to possess your own wedding gown, there are bargain ones that are available.
Now that you have decided upon what you should and should not, it’s time to create a wedding package within a sane budget. It shall keep costs from spiraling out of control. The same applies to the guest list. You do not need to invite everybody, just consider those with whom you really care to share.
Next comes the overlooked but significant costs, one of which can is tipping. Tipping follows a set rule; it’s 15 to 20% of the bill amount. For the caterers, the limo drivers, the photographers and other service providers, this is going to be sufficient.
To cut costs further, know in the first place who’s paying for what. The groom need not pay on items the bride’s family is paying for and vice versa. So fix it like this:
- Catering services (food, cake, alcohol, hors d’oeuvre): 40% of the total wedding budget.
- Reception Facilities: 3% of the total wedding budget.
- Flowers: 8% of the total wedding budget.
- Entertainment: 10% of the total wedding budget.
- Clothing: 14% of the total wedding budget.
- Photo/Videography: 7% of the total wedding budget.
- Invitations and other printed supplies: 4% of the total wedding budget.
- Gifts: 4% of the total wedding budget.
- Transportation: 2% of the total wedding budget.
- Miscellaneous items: 8% of the total wedding budget.
Alongside, these three tips may prove handy:
- A buffet works out cheaper than a proper eight-course dinner.
- Stop the Bar services during dinner; even better, an alcohol-free reception.
- Off-season weddings between November and April work out cheaper for the reception site. If you can’t, then opt for the weekdays instead of Saturdays.
Cheap wedding destinations
If you plan to have a destination wedding, the first rule of thumb for a reduced cost is a small guest list comprising only those who matter. Off-peak seasons (before May and after October) shall decrease the rates even if it’s a package deal offering discounted prices for the hotels, the cars, the photographers and airfare. Any renowned wedding planner can choose for you the best wedding destination based on these criteria.
Best Wedding packages
The best wedding packages are not necessarily the all-inclusive, though some very good deals do exist. Ideally speaking, the best-packaged deals shall provide you with a romantic location, associated legal documents, a marriage license and the marriage minister, a photo/videographer, the wedding cake, food and accommodation, the reception dinner and champagne. Anything more you need is to be paid separately, from the personal assistants and rehearsal dinners to floral decoration, private transportation and hairstylists. Consult a professional wedding planner if calculating all that seems a tough task to you. It can save you a lot of money (anything between $5000 to $15,000), which you can invest elsewhere to strengthen the financial securities for your new family 40 years down the line. Even if you earn an average of 10% a year and obtain compound interest, it can go to a whopping half a million! Ask your financial planner and notice the difference you can make compared to others.