Big Wedding on a Small Budget

12/27/2017 Michelle Graven

Written by Michelle Graven

Large or small?  Inside or outside?  Destination or backyard? There is an overwhelming amount of stress that comes with planning a wedding. The first thing to do is stop and enjoy the moment. Bask in your happiness, then sit down with your partner and decide what type of wedding you want. You have been scrolling and pinning on Pinterest and of course you have seen how to DIY basically everything, but we came up with four ideas to help cut costs in other areas.


Limit the List

Once the family hears of your engagement, you are going to be flooded with names and addresses of people you are “supposed” to invite. Look at your budget and determine how many guests you can actually afford to have at the wedding. Write down everyone that you want to invite, and then start cutting to fit your budget. An easy way to start cutting is working with percentages. Allow 50% of the guests go to the bride and groom, 25% to bride’s parents and 25% to groom’s parents. Make sure you tell your parents the rules before they start inviting their friends! If you need more help, check out The Knot’s ultimate guide to cutting your list.


Stock the Bar Yourself

Open bar? Limited bar? Cash bar? The cost of an open bar or even limited bar can easily break a wedding budget. The average cost for an open bar is roughly $3000. A better option is stocking the bar yourself. Not only will you be cutting costs, you will be able to personalize your drink menu. One important factor to check is if your venue charges a corkage fee. You may also need to purchase extra insurance, so talk with your caterer and venue to see what is covered. A good rule of thumb is to prepare for each guest to drink one to two drinks per hour. Check out this formula to help you better estimate how much booze to purchase.


Free Advertising

When you hire services for the reception, offer to advertise for them. In some cases, you will get a reduced rate. Simply display the name and contact information of the business at a table.  Since everyone always asks, “Who did you flowers,” now you can refer them directly.


Reach out to the local university

Check out your local university’s music department to find lower-cost musicians. Not only are you getting a cheaper rate, you are also helping students gain experience. Don’t forget to look for photographers there as well. There are many talented students and recent grads that are looking for more opportunities and they likely will have fresh ideas.


Planning a wedding on a budget is stressful. The most important tip is to plan ahead. The earlier you start planning the better off you will be because you will be able to shop around and find the best sales and discounts. We know it’s easier said than done, but try not to stress. Everything will be okay in the end. Congratulations and best wishes on your big day!



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