Weddings are romantic, magical affairs that families can look back on for a lifetime - but they're certainly not cheap. In fact, the average couple spends around $30,000 per wedding, and that's not including the added costs of living in a big city. While the parents of the bride were once expected to get the tab, that tradition has changed along with the times. More adults have less money to contribute nowadays, and young people are more eager to pay for their weddings (and make all the crucial decisions) on their own.
This means couples are working harder than ever to plan their weddings on tight budgets. Young people haven't had as much time to work and save money, or they're already saddled with debts after just graduating from college. Young adults also haven't had as much time to work themselves into higher-paying jobs. Money should never stop anyone from having a great wedding, but thrifty wedding planners can strategically cut corners to keep their big days in the realm of feasibility.
Get Married On an "Off" Day
No one says you have to get married on a Saturday which is traditionally the day most people get married, but since it's on a weekend be prepared for everything to cost a little bit more. If you can get hitched during the week, you'll find that most of the details from the location to the band might be a little less expensive.
Forgo The Open Bar
Do you really need to see Uncle Frank in his full drunken glory out there on the dance floor doing the bunny hop all liquored up from the unlimited drink supply? No way. Try instead to have a signature cocktail and regular non-alcoholic beverages instead. Or, go with an all wine and beer bar. You can purchase wine in bulk from Trader Joe's and save a bundle. A keg isn't that pricey to rent from your local beverage store either.
Print Your Own Invitations
Professional invitations can cost upwards of $300 to $5000 if you aren't carefully. Yet with the technology today, it's just as easy to design and print your own invitations. There are tons of free apps and programs that will allow you to customize your fonts, colors, and even add pictures. Get creative and have fun doing it. You will save a bundle.
Hire a Photography Student
A good wedding photographer will cost you anywhere from $3000 to $10,000. With the advances in technology with all that digital photography brings, it really shouldn't. Call your local art school, and find out if any of the students would be willing to photograph a wedding. Trust me, their work is probably better, more creative, and more photo journalistic than a stodgy old photographer. Plus, they will probably charge way less, around $100 for the entire day. Have them put all the photos on a flash drive, and then print them yourself.
Think Outside the Box or Ballroom for a Venue
That fancy hotel is going to be pretty pricey per plate if you want your wedding there. So how about other venues in your town such as the local art museum, botanical gardens, or even the zoo? Many of those places have rooms that they rent out for wedding that will end up being way less expensive than a traditional venue.
You don't have to enter into holy matrimony swimming in extra debt, or putting out your parents into debt that they don't need either. It just takes a little bit of ingenuity, and some DIY effort to plan some of the wedding details yourself so that you can spend the money on things you need to start your marriage such as an amazing honeymoon, new car, or the down payment on that little starter home you have been looking at in the right neighborhood. Spending less money on your wedding won't make it any less special, you'll see and save a bunch!