Planning a wedding? Below are strategies to have a memorable day without breaking the bank:
¨ Choose a Frugal Venue– Reduce the cost of getting married by addressing the largest expense, the reception. Consider holding it at a less expensive location (e.g., at home with a party tent or at a rented lodge, firehouse meeting hall, college campus building, library, or outdoor park pavilion instead of at an expensive hotel or catering hall).
¨ Choose an Off-Peak Time– Reduce the cost of a reception by holding a wedding in the late fall instead of the summer. The timing of a wedding reception and honeymoon can have a big impact on their cost. Another way to cut costs is to hold a wedding on a Thursday evening instead of a Saturday afternoon.
¨ Choose Less Expensive Meal Options– Reduce the cost of a reception by serving a buffet instead of a sit-down meal or a sit-down brunch instead of a dinner. Another low-cost option is a baked potato bar or foods prepared by the couple and their family. Limited liquor options instead of an open bar (e.g., wine only or a couple of kegs of beer) or non-alcoholic beverage only receptions will also reduce expenses considerably.
¨ Skip the Fancy Cake– Reduce this expense by substituting a nice dessert that is served right after dinner for a wedding cake. Another option, instead of an expensive tiered cake, is a fake cardboard tiered cake with a small top cake layer to cut for photos and a basic sheet cake to serve to guests.
¨ Follow “The Rule of Three”- Compare at least three providers of every wedding product or service (e.g., gown, gifts for the wedding party, DJ, photographer, reception hall, and honeymoon). Attend free or low-cost bridal shows to efficiently shop around for wedding-related products and services.
¨ Do Your Own Flower Arrangements– Purchase inexpensive vases for centerpieces and silk flowers for centerpieces and bouquets at a craft store (e.g., Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and A.C. Moore). Another alternative is for bridesmaids to carry something other than a bouquet (e.g., inexpensive lanterns or candles).
The Kansas State University Extension fact sheet With This Ring…We Plan! has additional information about planning a beautiful, but frugal, wedding.