One thing is sure, weddings aren’t cheap. Depending on where you will be getting married, the costs of your wedding can vary significantly. The good news is that there are plenty of small tricks that can also significantly cut the costs of your big day. We have summed up the costs you can expect along with useful budget-friendly tips so your big day can be the best day of your life.
The Average Cost of a Wedding
In the U.S., the average cost of a wedding was $24,723 or $51 per plate. If you include the engagement ring and similar adjacent costs, you quickly end up with $33,900, which was the average in 2019, according to the latest Real Weddings study from The Knot. Although this is just $31 less than the average cost of a wedding in 2018, it is a significant drop from 2016 when couples spent $35,309 on average. The trend towards spending less is evident as people are becoming more cost-conscious. Moreover, the beauty of the wedding planning industry is an immense variety of alternatives. On the other hand, the cost of food alone can easily exceed $100 per plate when it comes to decadent receptions. Therefore, planning with a list of priorities is vital if you want to maximize the value of your ‘investment’ as your wedding will be a memory that you will treasure for a lifetime.
Budget-Friendly Wedding Tips
When making a list of your priorities, it’s helpful to know that more than half of the couples who got married during the past decade agreed that spending on the dress, the wedding cake and photography were worth the money. On the other hand, almost half of them also through wedding planners weren’t worth the cost, whereas 36.7% thought the same as videography and 36.1% for wedding favors.
- Engagement Rings
So if we start with the process from the beginning, we have to consider the engagement ring as a special category. In 2019, the median American spent 4% of their pretax salary on an engagement ring. Its price can go as high as 1 million. The good news is that the engagement rings come in all shapes and sizes. Out of the four C’s which stand for color, clarity, carat and cut, you only don’t want to compromise on cut. It leaves you with plenty of affordable options.
- Invitation Cards
Invitations cost $4.13 each on average, whereas fancier options start at $15. You can always opt to save by making DIY cards, “print your own” invitations or even choose entirely free electronic invitations and send them out as emails.
- Wedding Dress
If a simple white dress won’t do that you can buy anywhere, you have other options as well. A second-hand wedding dress isn’t for everyone, but it’s a budget-friendly option, just like a sample gown that has been tried on in the store. As for accessories, you can save money by using family heirlooms that will have you covered for both “something old” and “something borrowed.”
- The Venue
The venue will likely be the most significant contributor to your overall cost. But if you pick an off-peak date such as January or February and skip Saturday, you can significantly minimize this expense. The second thing is that a venue comes with additional costs such as equipment and decorations. Flowers and other decorations can quickly add up in terms of cost, so make sure to ask your venue what comes free of charge, so you don’t end up doubling the cost. Ask your friends and family to help set up decorations. Maybe someone you know got married recently and has centerpieces left that you can borrow.
- Music Jockey
Wedding favors alone cost $179 on average. This is generally an expense that can be cut altogether just by doing something a bit more thoughtful. For example, you give your guests copies of a CD with your favorite songs that are both low-cost and memorable.
Speaking of music, the average cost of having a band at your reception was $3,094. The average price of having a DJ spin your night away is about 70% cheaper.
Having photos taken is expensive as well, $1,952 on average per wedding, excluding the cost of a videographer. Adding a photo booth to your wedding costs $237 on average. Alternatively, some couples put out disposable cameras for guests to snap their memorable moments.
- Food and Drinks
Speaking of food, you can always simplify drinks. As for the cake, you could order a half slice for each guest as most people only eat half anyway. Another option is to order a smaller version of the beautiful cake for the presentation and feed the masses with a non-aesthetic kind from the kitchen. Also, there’s no rule that says you have to serve the cake at your wedding. Who says you cannot serve pie or ice cream, which we all love!
The bottom line is that there are no rules. Be creative as this is your day!
There are more than 100 things you can regularly do that will significantly improve your budget so you can afford your wedding must-haves. No matter where you are on your financial journey, you need to know that it’s possible for anyone to turn their financial life around and start saving money. Sometimes all it takes is that first step in the right direction to get things moving in your favor.
- Reduce Your Usage of Energy
One big way to save money is to cut down on the amount of television you watch drastically. There are a lot of benefits to this as this will also lead to more time to focus on your priorities in life, less exposure to spending-inducing ads and a lower electric bill, maybe even a lower cable bill if you downgrade your subscription.
Speaking of the electricity, both big and small changes in your energy usage can help you cut your electricity bill in half. Start with making sure you chose the right provider. With so many options out there when it comes to Dallas electricity rates, choosing the rate that fits your usage best can save you several hundreds of dollars alone. Moreover, if you add good habits such as turning off the lights when you leave your house or install LEDs that use far less electricity, you will save even more money in the process.
- Avoid Impulse Buying
When going to a grocery store, make sure you have a list with you to avoid making impulse buys. Drink plenty of water as not only will your health and mood benefit, but being hydrated implies you’ll eat less and spend less on food and beverages. Be practical and buy gifts for a holiday two days after a holiday has passed. You’ll be covered for next year and at a fraction of the cost.
Takeaway As you start the wedding planning process, focus and write down what is important to you. It’s always a good idea to practice some thoughtful self-reflection by thinking what is it that you particularly enjoyed or didn’t care about at the weddings you attended? This is a highly personal event, one whose memory should last a lifetime, so you should listen to your gut. Take a bit of friendly or expert advice into account, but only you know what is best for you.