The average wedding in 2020 cost about $19,000.00. While that’s about $10,000 less than the average couple spent in 2019, it’s still a hefty chunk of change. If you’re looking for ways to save on your big day, check out these ideas that could protect your bottom line without sacrificing the vision you have for the day you finally get to say, “I do.”
1. Pick a “less desirable” date
Choosing your date can be one of the most difficult parts of wedding planning. One thing to understand is that there are certain times of year and even specific dates that are in high demand and will therefore cost more money. The unpredictability of weather in Kansas means venues tend to have more availability in January, February and March. Late summer and early fall, on the other hand, book up months or even years in advance in many locations. That’s because 40% of all weddings take place in September, October, and November.
Weekends are also busy, and bookings come at a premium. If you absolutely need a weekend, Friday and Sunday is cheaper than a Saturday. See if you can make a midweek ceremony and reception work — you’ll love how such a simple shift benefits your budget.
2. Cut the guest list
One of the easiest ways you can save money on your wedding is to simply invite less people. Wedding math is based on a per-person formula. Caterers charge per plate, it also means more expense when it comes to all the detail cost from, Save The Dates, invitations, florals, linens, napkins, decor and bar packages.
Instead of a huge blow-out affair, you can:
Limit your guest list to a certain number, say 100 to 150 people, and explain to those who don’t “make the cut” that you’re on a budget but appreciate their well wishes as you start your new life together
If you want more of a intimate wedding/reception invite only close friends and immediate family and then livestream the ceremony for others to watch online
If your wedding is taking place at a church, invite a larger crowd to the ceremony and have a much smaller reception.
3. Switch up your menu
The average wedding budget includes about $7500.00 just for catering — that’s about $50 per person. But you can whittle down that number significantly by inviting fewer people (see above) or by changing what your guests will eat.
Sit-down dinners have been the convention choice for wedding fare for ages, with buffet-style service increasing in popularity over the last couple decades. The problem with sit-down dinners is that they can be overly formal or even stuffy. If you’re going for a black-tie vibe, maybe formal is fine, but for a more relaxed wedding, the confines of a three-course meal might not work. And that’s not even mentioning the added expense.
To save money on catering:
Schedule a breakfast or brunch reception instead of dinner
Offer passed apps and cocktails instead of a full meal
Work with your caterer to include locally sourced, in-season foods to save money on transportation fees and out-of-season markups
Opt for less-expensive cuts of meat that can still taste delicious in the right hands
Bring in the food trucks and give guests tickets to use at each vendor
Instead of an open bar, limit alcohol to a few types of liquor, wine, and beer or stick with one or two signature cocktails, sparkling water, and soda
Have a theme that embraces more affordable food options, such as a picnic-style reception, BBQ, Taco Tuesday, summer fun (bring on the pasta salads, brats, and burgers!), or comfort food (mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and fried chicken — oh my!)
4. Look for an all-in-one venue
A venue that has its own furniture, linens, decor, and preferred vendors with discounted rates will help in saving you thousands of dollars in out of pocket expense. Better yet, if the venue has it's own designing/planning/coordinating team in house, your guaranteed to have it all taken care of for you while you, your besties, and most of all your family can sit back and enjoy your magical day!