It's amazing how fast wedding costs can exceed the planned budget. If you find yourself in the position of needing to trim back to make everything fit within your budget, consider the following:
- Avoid peak wedding days and seasons. You can save money by having your wedding during the months considered to be "off-season" (January-May and late October-November) and on a Thursday or Friday evening or Sunday during the day. Because these times are in less demand, many businesses and services provide what you are looking for at reduced prices. You're also more likely to get your first choices!
- Consider a daytime versus evening wedding. Saturday or Sunday daytime weddings are becoming popular. Considering a weekend daytime wedding gives additional options for your wedding date. Food and alcohol costs are considerably less for daytime events than evening events. People don't drink as much, if at all, and the food itself is far simpler and therefore less expensive.
- Cut back on the guest list. Guest lists can be the first thing to get out of control. Everyone wants to invite anybody and everybody they ever knew. Be firm with your figures of how many guests for each family. If that doesn't work, go back to the old formula of immediate family first, close personal friends second, etc., or have everyone review the list and cut back by 10%, 20%, or whatever is necessary to bring things back in line.
- Determine what is most important to you and put your money into that, but trim back on other areas. If fabulous flowers have always meant the most to you, spend a little less on your wedding gown or wear your mother's, sister's, or a friend's gown. If you've always wanted the most incredible dress in the world, cut back on the flower budget and have a DJ instead of a band.
- Don't be afraid to shop around. A little time on the phone could save you a lot of money. There can be a considerable difference in prices between different businesses for the same items or services. Just make sure that you are going to receive exactly the same item or level of service from the less-expensive company and that no short cuts are being taken at your expense.
If you're very clear about what budget you have to work with from the beginning, you'll find that the people in the wedding industry can be very helpful with all kinds of clever ideas on how to save money. Don't be afraid to ask for suggestions or ideas.