About a month ago we published a list of the five worst ways to save money on your wedding. This week, we thought we'd be a little more positive and talk about the BEST ways to save money. So many lists like this only seem to work if you're having a certain kind of wedding, or if by "budget" you mean spending $50,000 instead of $60,000. These ten tips are guaranteed to work for anyone, with any budget.
1. Talk about money
Yes, I know, this conversation SUCKS. But you have to talk about money with your fiancé(e), your parents, anyone involved in helping to pay for the wedding. You don't just have to talk about money for the wedding, you have to talk about money and your attitudes toward money, and what else you may be saving money for. Get it all out in the open.
2. Set a budget
You'd be surprised at how many people start planning a wedding without any idea of how much they're going to spend. That's a surefire way to overspend.
3. Keep a ledger
Whether you write it down in a notebook, on an Excel spreadsheet or on an actual ledger, you need to write down EVERY financial commitment you make to the wedding. If it's $20 for bridal show tickets or $1,000 for a dress, write it down and add it up every week or so.
4. Set priorities
Unless you have unlimited funds, you can't have the best caterer, the best band, and the most expensive dress. Personally, we vote for spending money on entertainment, but you have to make the priorities that work for you. You don't want to commit to an expensive caterer and then find that you don't have money left over for the band that you want.
5. Research and find reputable vendors
Nothing will waste more money than a disreputable vendor. A site like GigMasters is a great way to make sure you find vendors you can trust. Always ask for references, and make sure to follow up.
6. Talk to your vendors
Be honest with vendors about your budget. It's not about trying to haggle or get a bargain, it's about finding a solution that works. Let's say you find a photographer that you love, but you can't afford him. He may not be able to come down on his price, but maybe he can recommend a former assistant whose work he respects. Or, if you find a 10 piece band that you adore, but can't afford, the band leader may have a smaller combo that would work equally well for your needs.
7. Be realistic
You are not Catherine Middleton. You can not afford to bring trees into your church, two stunning designer dresses, a wedding brunch and two evening parties. That wedding you saw featured in Martha Stewart, not only did it have a planner, Martha brought in a stylist to perfect it. Your day doesn't have to be perfect, just perfect for you.
8. Don't reinvent the wheel
There's a reason no one else has ever staged a full three-ring circus in the middle of the reception, because it's expensive and unnecessary. Yes, you and your groom are unique, and your day should be unique, but trying to create something that's never been done before is going to be expensive and won't make the day any more special.
9. But, think outside the box
You don't have to totally re-imagine what a wedding is, but don't be afraid to do things your own way, especially if it will save you money. Can't afford a sit down dinner, have a breakfast wedding. The typical number of bridesmaids is five, but having just one will probably save you at least $150 each (more if you count the groomsmen).
10. Stop planning
Ahh, you're done, you have everything set. Then, you pick up a magazine. Suddenly you think, "Wait! Should I have a bigger bouquet?" The answer is no. Once you've made your decisions, stop reading blogs and articles. Second guessing yourself will never save you money.
Did we miss any great tips, share them in the comments below.
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