| July 16, 2012

Planning an affordable wedding

One of the last scenarios newlyweds may want to fall into is taking years to pay off debt related to their weddings. Lavish ceremonies and receptions can cost as much as tens of thousands of dollars, and leave couples financially strapped for years to come after the honeymoon is over. However, there are several ways for couples to keep costs low and still have a dream wedding.

Similar to any big financial undertaking, such as buying a home or a vehicle, it’s crucial that couples decide how much they can afford. Placing a cap on how much they are willing to shell out can help partners establish a money management plan and better decide which aspects of the wedding to prioritize.

For example, some may want to focus less on the ceremony and more on the dinner and entertainment, while others may funnel more resources into the dress and decorations. It can be more affordable to focus on the more practical aspects of the wedding, such as hiring a good photographer, than the smaller details, such as place settings and flowers.

The date of the wedding will also play a large role in how much couples spend. May through October are the most popular months for getting married, according to GalTime, meaning that these months will also be the most expensive. This is largely because caterers, photographers, planners, florists and booking agents will be at their busiest, and less likely to negotiate good prices. Instead, couples should consider getting married during the offseason to save money on all wedding categories and provide a unique experience for guests.

Lastly, food costs are one of the biggest expenditures for couples during a reception. Those who are trying to save money can lower the price by opting for a buffet style setting, rather than a sit-down dinner. In addition, buffets give individuals much more flexibility in what they choose to serve, rather than fixed menus, which can also lower costs. The same is true when it comes to purchasing a wedding cake. Going to well-known, top-of-the-line bakeries can cost couples hundreds to thousands of dollars for a cake. Individuals may instead consider a cupcake tower or dessert bar, rather than a four-tiered cake. For those who are set on having a single cake, consider visiting a smaller bakery to complete the job. They often do comparable work for half the price.

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