Are you engaged and eager to plan your wedding, but concerned about the costs involved?
There’s probably something you’d like for your wedding celebration that might be just a little extravagant (and hence over-the-budget): for instance, a statement floral wall; not one, but two magnificent bridal dresses; and a live band rather than simply a DJ.
However, the problem is that these unique embellishments can oftentimes become extremely expensive.
Pro Tip: Knowing your goals and spending your wedding budget wisely are essential when it comes to wedding preparation. Making a list of your goals and establishing a budget should thus be the first step in your wedding planning process.
You’ve come to the right place because The Aleit Academy and a|WEDDING by Tatum, a leading wedding planner in South Africa, have teamed up to create the perfect been-there-done-that list of tips on how to cut costs while organising your dream wedding.
With the help of this list, you could potentially save tens of thousands of rands while putting together the perfect setting for your nuptials.
Here are 12 wedding money saving tips while planning your dream wedding, without having to sacrifice a single ounce of style:
1. Think Beyond Weekends
Saturdays tend to be the most popular day for weddings, therefore given the high demand for wedding requests, it also tends to be the most expensive day of the week when it comes to venue hire and other factors.
The first and most important piece of advice for #WeddingSaving is to consider having it on a weekday (Monday through Thursday) to avoid paying for a venue.
Likewise, think about choosing a date outside of the traditional high-demand wedding season.
The price increases in direct proportion to demand, so if you’re on a tight budget, holding your big day outside of the normal wedding season of September to March will save you money.
Make sure, however, that you have a backup plan in case of bad weather! It’s certainly a risk, but one that’s worth it!
2. Embrace “All-inclusive”
Want to get the most out of your wedding budget plan?
Two key words should jump out at you: “all-inclusive.” In addition to the event spaces, all-inclusive venues provide a wide range of extras including on-site planning, catering, booze, personnel, rentals, cake, guest housing, and more.
These extras also often include tables, chairs, cutlery, crockery, glasses, and sound equipment.
All-inclusive packages can provide tremendous value since they include all of these services under one roof.
If you are hiring chairs because your venue doesn’t come with any, we suggest that you consider doing the ceremony and reception at the same location – just make sure that you have staff to help move them from the ceremony to the reception area as soon as you are done.
Additionally, we suggest that you consider selecting a location that is close to home (or at least close to your chosen suppliers), since this will save you a lot of money on supplier delivery and pickup costs.
3. Streamline Your Stationery
It costs a small fortune to create save-the-date and invitation designs, print them, and then distribute them.
We recommend going paperless for all the above, including your invitations to the engagement party and the rehearsal dinner.
Digital invitations are eco-friendly and available in a broad range of fashionable styles, and the same goes for printed menus on your tables.
If you would like to include a menu somewhere at the venue, rather create and print a single A2 or A1 board to display at the venue.
Or, consider creating a QR code to a menu design that’s available to view in a Google Drive – there are plenty of free QR code creators online, but just make sure that the link to your design is open to anyone.
4. Find Flowers on a Budget
Consider alternatives to your standard, run-of-the-mill wedding flowers like roses.
With large blooms like hydrangeas, sunflowers, and dahlias, a striking arrangement can only require a few stems.
And if you’d really like to step out of the box, why not do away with flowers altogether?
For a cost-effective design that is also timeless and high in elegance, try utilising greenery on its own (like Myrtle or Silver Dollar Eucalyptus).
Even better, gather this material for yourself and give it to your florist for use on your special day.
If you’re set on a specific look and feel for your décor, consider creating one focal point with this look (for example, a hanging floral chandelier over the dance floor and/or a very detailed look for the bridal table) and keep the rest of the décor to a minimum.
Several candles on your tables are also an amazing way to keep floral décor to a minimum while also making a massive statement.
Pro Tip: Use your floral arrangements from the ceremony during the reception to repurpose them. The ceremony’s floral surrounds (such as the arch) can also look stunning next to or behind the bridal table.
5. Cut the Cake Costs
You don’t need to splurge on a four-tiered, fondant-covered cake.
Why not have an ice cream station and as a couple, share a cone instead of cutting the cake?
You can also use this budget-friendly dessert trend: the doughnut wall!
The same rules apply – sharing is caring – and this can also make for an adorable photo opportunity.
6. Score on Second Shooter Savings
You can save a lot of money by not booking a second shooter or photographer to assist on your wedding day.
Trust your photographer to fly solo and do her/his thing!
Some can even do both the photos and the video at the same time – otherwise, get a friend who loves social media to take a couple of video clips of the day so that you can create your own Instagram Reel later.
7. Cut the Additional Décor
Instead of hiring a second area for your dance floor, we suggest thinking of more inventive ways to “label” the dance floor.
Consider using vinyl stickers or positioning the DJ booth and tables in such a way that it’s fairly easy to see where the dance floor is located.
Stemless wine glasses are also a good option if you need to rent glassware since they can be used to serve everything from wine to hard liquor and mixers.
If you want to avoid paying for additional glassware rental, you can also consider offering only ciders and beers during your pre-drinks (or any other drinks that already come in a bottle or can).
8. Cut the Expensive Entertainment
Live entertainment would be nice during the ceremony and pre-drinks, but this is also a great place to save money.
We recommend having your DJ play soft background music instead – just make sure you brief them carefully – or simply create a playlist of your own for them to play.
If the venue has a built-in sound system, you can even ditch the DJ entirely and set up playlists for different parts of the day.
Put a friend in charge of changing playlists when needed, and voilà!
That’s your music sorted.
9. Forget the Party Favours
Consider skipping the guest gift idea altogether; it’s just an unnecessary expense and trust us when we say that at the end of the day, nobody is going to miss them.
You’ve already given your guests a beautiful day to remember, so forget about the party favours and put that money towards something more important.
10. Skip the Three-course Meal
A three-course meal is not necessary.
Canapés or a harvest table during pre-drinks can serve as your “starter”, and thereafter, only a main course and perhaps a shared dessert is needed (saves you a crockery hiring fee and creates less wastage).
Alternatively, you can also just serve a buffet – it’s still classy, it encourages conversation and sharing, and it can save you money on staffing costs.
If you think your visitors might still want something to eat later, provide them with an inexpensive midnight snack!
Toasted cheese sandwiches are usually a hit, as are popcorn and churros.
11. Shop for Bridesmaids Dresses
Bridesmaid dresses don’t have to be specially made; look around for less expensive options ahead of time so that none of your guests will have the same dress, or perhaps consider a colour scheme that each bridesmaid can work with – this will allow them to select any dress that suits their body type but is also within your colour range and give them a budget.
Alternatively, you can also ask them to purchase their dresses, especially if they’re allowed to choose the style.
12. Limit the Alcohol on Your Special Day
If you are set on having an open bar, we suggest limiting hard liquors to only being served from a certain hour.
Alternatively, you can also opt for the in-between option where you ask the bar to only charge guests a discounted fee and you cover the difference.
However, with that being said, we believe that taking this course is entirely unnecessary.
These days guests are often more than happy to pay for their beverages, so why not ask them to cover the balance of the tab if you provide only a few pre-drinks and wine on the tables?
Our Final Thoughts
Remember: It’s your day, and what matters most are the vows you and your partner intend to make in front of your friends and family.
Spending a fortune on your wedding day won’t demonstrate your love for one another, but it can leave you broke.
It is quite feasible to host a gorgeous, fashionable, and reasonably-priced wedding on a tight budget!
We hope that these wedding money saving tips will help you organise the low-cost wedding of your dreams.
Please contact us at email@example.com if you have any other inventive ideas on ways to save money.