We’re deep into the wedding season, and all the love in the air may inspire you to pop the big question to your significant other, or to talk about the idea of getting married. However, before you get too excited, it’s important to consider the costs of hosting a wedding, and decide the kind of event you’ll host. According to a recent report from the popular wedding magazine and website The Knot, the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. runs close to $34,000 – and this includes the cost of an engagement ring. With that information, you can still have your ideal wedding, especially if you begin budgeting immediately and saving as much money as possible.
Here are a few successful tips on budgeting for your perfect wedding and save money in the process:
Who’s going to pay? Traditionally, the family of the bride pays for the wedding costs. However, times have changed, and many couples are getting married after living independent of family, or they’re waiting until they’re older and might have a well-paying job. Regardless, it is important to determine early on who will be paying for the big day, so there’s no confusion down the line. First, talk it over with your parents and ask if they’re willing to contribute to the cost of the wedding, and if so, what they can comfortably afford to pay; you can also ask both sets of parents to cover the cost of a specific part of the wedding, such as flowers or photography. Once you’ve done that, talk to your partner about what you both can pay for.
Keep your guest list short. This is one of the easiest ways to cut costs on your big day – don’t invite too many people. Studies have shown that the average spending per guest is roughly $200, though that can vary if you choose a less expensive caterer or a no-host bar. Consider this – every guest will receive an invitation, a catered meal, a slice of wedding cake, wedding favors, and their choice of beverages (champagne can put a dent in your budget if you’re buying the good stuff), so choose your guest list wisely.
Consider a non-traditional day for your wedding. Saturday has always been the most popular day for weddings, as you’re more likely to receive “yes” RSVPs, and churches are generally not open for events on Sundays. If you’re looking to save money, consider scheduling your wedding on a Friday, which is becoming more common; if you’re not getting married in a church, Sunday is also a good day to host a wedding, as most people have the day off. The time in which you schedule your wedding can also play a role in saving money – if you have a midday wedding, you can easily host a buffet lunch, which is less expensive than a more elaborate dinner.