The wedding industry is expensive. I mean like HELLA expensive.
The average wedding in the United States costs around $35,329. Have you considered what you could do with $35,329?
If you're planning a wedding, you're probably aware that they're expensive. I'm also assuming if you're just a few years out of college like me, you do NOT have $35,329 lying around. Mostly because you have better things to pay off like student loans and credit cards.
So here are some tips to help you plan a wedding on a budget.
1. Hold it in a park or community center.
Parks and community centers are cheaper than big, fancy locations.
While you may not be thrilled with the location, remember that with enough decorations, you can turn a community center into a paradise. Outdoor weddings are the best because you can let nature be your decoration. Find a park with a kick butt view and run with it! Beach weddings are pretty cheap to plan too.
2. Consider a second-hand dress.
This option may not be for everyone.
But if you're up for it, consignment shops are definitely the place to look for a wedding dress in good condition that doesn't cost a fortune.
Another option is to buy a dress on sale. David's Bridal has some GREAT deals if you find them at the right time. Keep an eye out and definitely price search. Eventually, you will find the best dress for your money.
3. Use your connections.
Your old best friend from high school is a DJ? Ask them to work your wedding!
Mom's best friend is a caterer? Well, get her on the phone!
Those close to you and your family are WAY more likely to give you the best price for your wedding than a random stranger. Use this to your advantage. Discuss your vision for the wedding with your vendors. It'll give them the best chance of delivering something you love. Remember, if not everything is perfect, that is still OKAY!
4. Rent. Rent. Rent.
Rent everything. Rent the decorations, tables, chairs, arch, plates, silverware, tablecloths, chair cloths and basically everything else you can think of.
I promise there is a company out there somewhere that offers whatever you need. They generally have a large variety of colors too.
I mean, where else will you put those giant centerpieces when you're done with them? Keep it simple, and rent everything that you can. It's not like you will ever use it again.
5. Avoid long guest lists.
Weddings are generally priced per attendee.
Cut down your guest list so you do not have to pay for people you could honestly care less about.
That third cousin your mom is trying to make you invite because they held you once as a child? BYE.
Your father-in-law's coworkers that you nor your significant other have ever met? NOPE.
If you have not seen this person within the last two years and cannot contact them directly, cut them. Unless you find this person SUPER important in your life, you don't need to invite them.
6. Avoid real flowers.
Real arrangements are expensive and if you have allergies, they will probably just make you miserable anyways.
Try opting for fake flowers or something else like sea shells or feathers. Your centerpiece does not have to be a giant vase of flowers. Try candles instead. Line the walkway with those fake candles that still look like real candles. It's still SUPER pretty without all the expense and trouble of real arrangements.
7. DIY everything.
It doesn't have to be perfect.
Get everyone involved too. Give everyone their own special projects to be in charge of. Someone gets centerpieces, someone gets bouquets, someone gets decorations, etc. You get the idea.
As long as you're happy with it, who cares if it looks a little weird? The day is to please you, not the perfectionist jerks who attend.
8. Avoid the word “wedding” when dealing with vendors.
I have no idea why, but suddenly everything becomes twice as expensive when you mention wedding in your planning.
So be sure when you are talking to people you want to hire for the wedding, make sure you get the quote FIRST before you mention that it's for a wedding. It is much harder for them to overcharge you if you got a cheaper quote the first time.
I've done quite a bit of research on wedding planning if you haven't noticed. I am getting married later this year and some of the expenses from the wedding are absolutely horrifying.
It's not easy planning a wedding on a small budget, but it is possible. DIY will become your best friend and everyone gets to be a part of the preparations! But, with these tips, and some stingy planning, you can have a wedding on a budget that is also beautiful.
This piece was originally published on Unwritten.