From the moment you announce your engagement, people offer up their opinion on how your wedding “has to be”. The Bachelor Party “has to be” in Vegas. Your wedding dress “has to be” designer. Your wedding cake “has to be” from that chic boutique bakery. Add these items up, and the price tag can swell out of control. With all these “must-haves,” it’s no wonder that the average wedding in Canada can cost as much as $30,000.
Your wedding day is important, but so are your financial goals. It isn’t worth the burden of a massive debt-load. Starting your married life together with a large debt can cause strain in your relationship as newlyweds. A review of 115 studies about divorce found couples who splurge on weddings are more likely to get divorced than couples who stick to one within their means.
The good news is that your big day does not have to come with a hefty price tag. A cost-conscious celebration does not mean that you have to skimp on things that are important to you; instead, it encourages you to create a budget, research cost-effective alternatives, and get a little creative.
To get you started, we’re sharing four smart and savvy tips for planning your dream wedding on a budget.
To save money, start with the biggest fish: the venue. You can drastically reduce this cost by hosting the wedding celebration in your backyard. Added bonus: if you spend a little money on landscaping or floral features to freshen up the area, you’ll be able to enjoy the investment in your outdoor space even after the wedding is over!
Alternatively, if you have a family member or friend with a nice, well-sized backyard, ask them if they would consider lending you the space for a day.
You can use the money you save on the venue for decorations, table settings, food, or wherever else your budget calls for. Remember that the weather can be unpredictable, so be sure to rent a tent to enjoy the outdoors without rain spoiling the day.
It’s time to tackle the next significant expense: the food. There are a few options here. You could contact a local catering company or your favourite restaurant. This can be less expensive than the food catering packages offered through wedding venues. If you’re comfortable with buffet-style serving, this can also help limit the number of staff required to plate and distribute food.
Want to get a little more creative? Consider a potluck. In place of a gift, you could ask family and friends to help you create various dishes. Yes, this will take a little planning and organizing, but the financial savings are worth it. Plus, the home cooking adds a nice personal touch to the wedding and brings your community together.
We’ve finally arrived at the P-word: Pinterest, that is. Pinterest can serve as a fantastic source of inspiration while planning your wedding and is an excellent resource if you’re planning to DIY elements of your décor. If you have specific themes or colours in mind, start by searching for these keywords. Pinterest will reveal hundreds of décor options, with each image linked to its respective website, where you’ll find complete instructions to recreate it on your own.
Making your decorations can be fun, especially when you enlist your bridal party or groomsmen to help. Serve up some great food and drinks while your team helps you cut, paste, spray paint, or decoupage the night away!
You can also reach out to friends who have tied the knot and see if they have any leftover decorations or props to integrate into your décor. Sites such as Wedding Recycle let you browse and purchase everything from used wedding décor to wedding dresses, bridal accessories, wedding favours, and more!
The latest trend: the minimalist wedding! Following in the footsteps of Marie Kondo, brides and grooms aren’t only simplifying their homes, but they’re adopting the “less is more” approach when it comes to their wedding, too. Paring down the fluff, frills, and clutter can not only create a beautiful, clean backdrop for your wedding, but it eliminates a lot of unnecessary expenses.
Below are some ideas for creating the perfect, budget-friendly minimalist wedding:
- Paring down the wedding guest list and the wedding party to an exclusive, intimate group.
- Choose unadorned venues for minimalist or organic backdrops, such as a clean industrial space, a forest clearing, or a sprawling meadow.
- Look for seasonal, simple florals. Greenery is becoming a popular, cost-effective alternative to floral arrangements and can create a fresh, clean aesthetic.
- Instead of dealing with an onslaught of wedding gifts (great, another toaster!), couples can request that guests donate to a favourite charity. Scaling back while giving back is always a win-win.
Time Equals Money
These tips can help you save some money while still having a wedding that celebrates you as a couple. That said, minimizing the cost of your wedding requires one thing: elbow grease. By taking the DIY route, you are saving money but spending your time. Be sure to budget your time when you start your wedding planning so that you don’t feel overwhelmed with a list of to-dos a week before your big day. This extra effort will pay off when the money you save can help pay for your honeymoon or a down payment on your first home together.
There are lots of ways to have your dream wedding without breaking the bank. Be creative and have fun with it, you’ll find that some of the quaintest and simplest weddings are the most memorable – and enjoyable.
To wedded bliss!