Wedding on a Budget #1: 4 Tips to Plan an Affordable Wedding

This is the first in a series of four blog posts I’ll be writing that revolve
around having a beautiful wedding without breaking the bank.

Hello and happy (Black) Friday! If you’re a citizen of the United States and happened to stumble upon this blog post, I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday and I hope you have a marvelous shopping adventure today, if that’s your thing (count me out!)

Speaking of shopping … let’s talk budgets. Specifically, let’s talk WEDDING budgets.

I got engaged two months ago in the beautiful city of Nashville, Tennessee (insert unrealistic, weepy wishes of moving to Nashville here). Also, as most people in my life know, I love a good deal and hate paying too much for things that are, to be frank, not worth it. But weddings are expensive. For real. Like, “I-could-buy-a-really-nice-car-with-this-money” kind of expensive.

So what’s a budget-savvy bride-to-be to do?

Below are four tips to plan an affordable wedding that I’ve learned along the way so far. These are good things to keep in mind if you’re just starting out your planning and you need to seriously stick to a budget (which is probably all of us, let’s be real).

1. Prioritize

Unless you’re seriously loaded or okay with possibly going into debt for your wedding day (DON’T DO THIS), you need to prioritize. Before you plan anything, sit down with your future spouse and decide what is important to you and what isn’t. Once you figure that out, you’ll be able to map out your budget accordingly and it will make searching for vendors easier because you’ll know what you’re looking for and what price you’re looking to spend.

For example, our priorities were: good food and alcohol, an amazing photographer and a DJ that would ensure the night was a blast for every guest. These are the things we are spending the bigger chunks of our budget on.

The things we don’t care as much about are flowers, decorations, my wedding dress and our wedding bands. Obviously I don’t want those things to be crappy, but they aren’t our number one priority and we are willing to cut corners on those items for the sake of our bank accounts.


2. Budget

This one should be obvious. Budgeting is key when it comes to planning a wedding (and not cringing at the end when you see how much you spent).

The little things truly do add up, so I’ve been using WeddingWire to keep track of it all. WeddingWire also has great tools like a checklist, guest list, wedding website builder and more – all for free. You can even browse vendors, read their reviews and contact them right through the site.

However, budgeting is important during all parts of your life, not just your wedding day. If you’re looking to easily manage your money for free, check out Personal Capital’s personal finance software. It helps you stay on track financially by letting you see where your money’s going, understand your net worth and more. Definitely worth a shot, if you ask me.


3. Get Your Reporter On

Okay, this isn’t as weird as it sounds. When touring venues, be sure to come equipped with important questions, such as these, to ask. These questions will help you avoid any hidden fees and help you uncover any additional savings the venue might have. There’s a ton of fine print when it comes to planning a wedding, so come prepared and you’ll feel like you have all your bases covered.


4. Explore Alternatives

So remember how I said it’s important to prioritize and cut some corners on the things you don’t think are critical to having a great wedding day? Well … this tip is about learning how to cut those corners!

As I stated above, flowers, decorations, my wedding dress and our wedding bands just aren’t that important to us so we did some investigating and came up with some just-as-good alternatives that are WAY cheaper. We’ve decided to order “natural touch” silk flowers, make our own centerpieces, wedding dress shop on Black Friday weekend and visit a local rock and gem show to score some wholesale wedding bands. Together these changes will save us literally thousands of dollars. There are always alternatives out there, you just have to find them! (Side note: I’ll have more detailed information about my corner-cutting in future blog posts!)

Do you have any budget-friendly wedding tips? Feel free to leave a comment below!

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