So, you’re engaged. First of all, congratulations! Second of all, how the heck are you going to pay for it? The average wedding these days is around $27,000—and that’s a lot of money. You could flat out buy a very nice car for that money. Or put the down payment on a house. Most of us don’t just have that kind of cash laying around, so when it comes to wedding planning, budgeting and knowing where to cut corners is a must.
Consider your plans for the ceremony and reception. Do you want to do both? It’s certainly not unheard of to have a private ceremony and a more public reception afterwards, and it could save you money. Marie-Josee Drouin and hubby Henry Kravis went this route, surprising guests with their marriage announcement at a dinner party later in the evening.
If you want to have a larger ceremony and reception, it’s vital to find a good price on the venue(s). About half of the average wedding budget gets spent on the rental and the food. Consider which season you’re getting married in, what kind of food to serve, and be sure to compare prices before you decide. This includes alcohol—which can really run up a tab when you’ve got an open bar.
Whatever you can create yourself, you should. That goes for creating wedding invitations (or asking a crafty friend to) and any party favors you plan on giving out. They don’t have to be elaborate or expensive—sometimes simple is better!
Entertainment can be pricy, too. Live entertainment is generally more expensive than a DJ, and a DJ will be more expensive than creating your own playlist on an iPod and asking a friend to be the announcer. Consider which of these options works best for your budget.
Lastly, think about how much is reasonable to spend on a dress. While a gorgeous designer dress would be amazing, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find a beautiful dress at a fraction of the price. It’s easy to spend thousands of dollars here, but keep in mind that you’ll likely only wear it once.