When my husband and I got engaged, I had an elaborate wedding plan in mind. I knew the perfect venue and color of flowers that I wanted. There was a real image in my head, until I started adding up the cost and realizing that it would be 10 years before we could get married and remain debt-free. We ended up renting a large cabin in Blue Ridge, having a handful of guests and eating banana pudding instead of wedding cake. I literally would not change a thing, and as he always jokes, we are married just the same as if we had spent thousands and thousands of dollars on our wedding day. The point is, when we had to pick and choose the most important things to us, our wedding became a more realistic reflection of us as a couple. Here are a few ideas for having a dream wedding on a budget.
The one thing
Pick the one thing that means the very most to you for your big day-the one piece that makes the idea of your wedding day complete. It may be flowers, a dream venue or a photographer you have always wanted to have for your big day. By giving yourself one nonnegotiable choice, everything else can fall into budget categories below your one big splurge.
Making a big deal of guests
Although it is important to make guests feel welcome and entertained at your wedding, hosting and feeding them is usually one of the most expensive parts of getting married. If you trim down your guest list, you can save big. With fewer guests, you have the option of considering a smaller venue and lowering food costs significantly. Also, consider planning your wedding at a time of day when guests are less likely to expect to be wined and dined, such as early afternoon, when light hors d’oeuvres are more appropriate than a meal.
Areas of easy savings
If you are planning to keep your wedding on a budget, there are a few other tips and tricks to save big without much sacrifice on your part. Work with your florist to choose in-season flowers that are often already stocked. Many secondhand bridal boutiques are beginning to pop up, offering top-of-the-line gowns at prices below off-the-rack choices. And cutting down on your wedding party reduces the number of gifts you will need to buy.
Whether you decide to go all out and keep your third cousin you haven’t seen in seven years on your guest list or purchase the tallest three-tier cake your baker can deliver, make the event yours. Just be sure that the things you are spending those dollars on are meaningful to you and your soon-to-be spouse. You only get one day and you want it to be wonderful-but remember to consider that if you don’t spend wisely, those credit card bills will be rolling in a month after you say I do. And there is nothing romantic about debt.
Casey Davis is the founder of The Tennessee Bride, a wedding resource celebrating homemade marriages. For more inspiration, visit The Tennessee Bride on their blog, Instagram and Facebook. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.