How to control wedding costs

At the height of Wedding Mania, brides turn into monsters and grooms into wussies, or so all the television shows would have you believe.



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Contrary to the stories you may have heard, there are heaps of people who get married without wracking up a lot of negative karma or a lot of debt. How do they do it?

They do make a plan
Yup, there it is, the old “make a plan.” Smart wedding managers have a plan for everything from how much they’ll spend, to when they’ll get things done. Some people make a calendar leading up to their wedding day so that no detail, no matter how small, is missed. And some even have …. dare I say it …. a budget! They know what they’re prepared to pay for the various parts of their big day, and the have a 10-20% contingency fund.

They do not plan to borrow
A wedding is a consumer item not an investment. If you’re borrowing to pay for the par-tay, you’ve got some growing up to do. You can have as big a wedding as you can afford to pay for from savings and cash flow. Putting it on a credit card, using a line of credit, or financing it in some other way means you’ll end up with a wedding hangover far worse than the one you’ll have from all the champagne.

They do look for ways to save
Whether they choose to use a DJ over a live band, make their own wedding invitations, or depend on their dads to get ‘em to the church on time, they’re thinking about ways to manage their costs so that they can spend money on the things that matter the most to them.

They don’t try to impress their guests
One of the best ways to blow your budget is to try and outdo all the other weddings you’ve been invited to, or try and keep up with people who may have considerably more money to spend on a wedding. Don’t turn a very special event into a harrowing experience by focusing on all the wrong things. This should be about sharing your joy with family and friends, not about outshining anyone.

They do let their friends and family help
Whether your aunt makes the cake, your best friend does your photography or your cousin does your hair and makeup, when you let friends and family help make your day special, they feel special for being a part of the process.

Assuming you are not outrageously demanding to the point of making them sorry they ever got into the game, you can make your wedding wonderful and save a ton of money by asking those who can help to gift you their help as your wedding present.

They don’t fixate
If you’re getting married in December, don’t fixate on flowers that will cost a fortune. Don’t fixate on a particular dress. Don’t fixate on anything to the point where turn the wedding planning into a case for crazy shopping.

One girl I know bought six or seven pairs of shoes online because she couldn’t find the perfect pair. (No she didn’t return any of them.) Another was so determined to have a particular flower that to keep the peace her fiancé had the flowers flown in. Still another was so determined to have a certain band plan at the reception that she offered to double their normal rate to get them to cancel a gig they already had booked. The extremes to which some people will go to fulfill some aspect of their wedding dream seems to know no bounds.

Get over yourself. This isn’t just about you (although it is mostly about you) and if you turn it into a horrible experience, all that whispering you hear won’t be “oh, isn’t she beautiful”, it’ll be “hey, did you hear the stunt she pulled …”

4 comments on “How to control wedding costs

  1. Pingback: Quick And Easy Home Decorating On A Budget | Ways 2 Make Money

  2. Ahhh, too true. I would add to give yourself time, but not so much it starts to be your whole life. To me, a year is too long for an engagement, but three months is too short (that's what myself and my SIL planned it in)…aim for about six months. I can think of at least three ways I could have shaved at least $1000 off of my wedding if I'd just given myself a little more time:

    I could have shopped around for a better deal on flowers, decor and a cake.

    I could have ordered the other dress I looked at that was cheaper, suited me better, but would have taken too long to order in my size.

    I could have auditioned student musicians, instead of just booking the first one I found that was available with a track record.


  3. As a marriage commissioner, I see a lot of wonderful weddings. My advice is to 'be yourselves". Know who you really are and plan your wedding accordingly.

    Choose a venue that is comfortable for you and your guests. If you have never been to a yacht or private golf club, why get Uncle Joe to book his club for you?

    Why not have some fun decorating mum's SUV for the wedding and spare the expense of a limo?

    Why splurge on renting tuxes for the guys? You can buy a decent suit for almost the same $ and it can be used again. Or why bother – if the groom never wears a suit he is not likely to be at ease in one on the big day. Same goes for bridesmaid's dresses.

    One thing I might splurge on is a good photographer – even for a couple of hours. Great photos make great memories for you and your families and most adults do not look good in "candids".

    Being yourselves and having fun is a lot less expensive than putting on a big show.


  4. Or do as we did–get married in the living room of a family member and go out for dinner, afterwards…just the wedding party of about 8. That plan saved us enough to put a healthy down payment down on a house. This happened in 1987, admittedly. Both of us planned the foregoing plan. If people fight about wedding plans, I'd give their marriage even LESS than the usual 50 per cent chance of surviving until "death do us part".


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