Financial Fitness Friday: Weddings
Hi! I’m Ashley, Financial Education Coordinator for Credit Union 1! Check out my blog every Friday for fun tips and tricks to help you manage your finances.
Oy vey! Planning a wedding is hard work and it costs a lot to put one of those shindigs on too! Believe me, I know because I got married this year in Anchorage and my wallet is still on fire. Take these tips as you will and feel free to modify them; these are just things I did to help cut costs.
Planning is the best tool you can have…and a budget. You and your fiancé, parents or whoever is paying for the wedding need to set a budget. We planned to pay for it on our own so we looked at our budget and figured out how much we could save in the 16 months we had until the day. We also took into consideration we’d be getting our PFD’s, tax returns and holiday/birthday gift money. So now that you’ve decided on a budget – stick to it. I fell off the bandwagon towards the end of the engagement and it cost us about $400-$600 extra. Ouch. So decide what the 2 things are that matter the most to you that you are OK with spending the most money on and commit to pinching pennies everywhere else. We decided we wanted amazing food and amazing pictures so catering and the photographer were our splurge areas.
Flowers – they’re a staple at every wedding and they can look great whether they’re everywhere and elaborate, or simple and less of a focal point. Since flowers can get very pricey, I didn’t get the roses I had originally wanted and instead got gerbera daisies. I also had a friend make the arrangements so I was able to order the flowers in bulk from a wholesaler to save major bucks. Including flowers, ribbon, floral tape and pins we only spent $200! Don’t have a friend who has floral experience? Don’t worry! Bouquets and boutonnieres are very easy to make. Grab some flowers and some friends and have a party! Teach yourself and enlist the bridesmaids or family members to this task.
Cake – this can also be a huge focal point of the reception or something to have fun with and be creative! Depending on where you’re having your reception, you may not be able to make your own cake or dessert so check the policies before you get your mind set on bringing your own. Our reception venue required a “commercially” made dessert. Instead of a big ole cake that is super expensive, we had brownies made! For the “cake cutting” purpose, we had a tiramisu cake (the grooms request) made as well and cut that. Each guest got a brownie and were able to decorate it to their taste as we provided fudge and caramel sauce for drizzling and sprinkles to jazz it up a bit. $350 is all it took and people loved it. I’ve seen cupcakes, cake pops and cookies at receptions so ask your baker what their cheapest options are and add your own flair to it!
Venue – wedding and reception venues can also steal quite a few Benjamin’s from your wallet. If you belong to a church sometimes they’ll have smaller fees but if you don’t, sometimes the fees are quite steep. Maybe a church wedding isn’t what you’re going for, that’s ok too! We held ours in the back yard of a family member = free. Check into public parks because usually they’re pretty cheap too! Looking to keep the reception and wedding in the same place? Ask if they can give you a discount. Sometimes if you reach a certain spending threshold (we’ll say, $3000 spent on food) they’ll chop the room rental in half or give it to you for free. That could be a savings of $800 or more!
Sure there is a bunch of other ways to cut costs and do-it-yourself tricks but these are the ones I used so hopefully you’ll find them helpful! Do you have tips and tricks for others to try to keep wedding costs at bay? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!