(Photos by Sweetmint Photography)
They say that the average cost for a wedding in the U.S. is $25,000! I assume that if the average person is paying that much for a wedding, then either the bride and groom or the bride's parents are probably paying off wedding expenses accumulated on their credit cards for years after the wedding day.
Our youngest daughter was married last Saturday. She is the last of our three daughters to get married. Each one of our girls had a beautiful wedding. Each one was completely unique to them. Each one of their weddings cost well under $5000, for our portion of the expenses. I thought it would be fun to write a short series of posts on how to have a beautiful wedding on a budget. Today is the introduction to that series. Subsequent posts will be on the venue, decor, the wedding gown and clothes, and the wedding reception and food. Today let's talk about the budget.
Take a realistic look at what you can afford to spend.
Any budget starts with taking a realistic look at what you are able to spend. Looking at our budget, we told our youngest daughter that she had $3000 to spend on her wedding. We purposely gave her an amount lower than we knew we would spend because we knew that things always cost more than you expect them to and that there are always unexpected last minute expenses. For each of our girls, I kept a file with the receipts for all of their wedding expenses, from the wedding gown to the spools of ribbon used for decor and bouquets. That way we could keep tab on what we were actually spending and it's also a fun bit of history to look back on. (I still remember that my wedding dress cost $17 for the fabric and lace that my Mama used to sew my homemade gown.)
Decide who will pay for what.
For each one of our girls we told them that they were responsible for the expenses for the wedding photography. For each of our daughters' weddings, the grooms' parents generously picked up the cost for the photographer. Wedding photography is expensive, but a good photographer knows how to capture the magic of that day without being intrusive.
Tradition says that the groom's parents host the rehearsal dinner and pay for the bride's bouquet and the boutonniere's for the groomsmen. So, the groom's family is also spending a sizable amount of money on this special day.
The wedding party each paid for their own clothes for the wedding. The considerate bride and groom take that in to account when they are choosing what they want their bridal party to wear. Choosing something that they could/would want to wear again is always appreciated.
You can see that with the expenses that the grooms parents paid, and the expenses that the bridal party paid, the total expenses for our youngest daughter's wedding were probably closer to $5000-$6000, then to the $3000-$4000 that we, the bride's parents, spent. We could have trimmed that amount down some if we had been willing to do some of the following:
-reduce the size of the wedding (We already had a "smallish" wedding with approximately 170 in attendance. Our wedding venue size was limited to 150. About 120 people RSVP'd, but surprisingly about 170 people showed up. We had people standing during the wedding and reception because we didn't have enough chairs!)
-pick a free wedding venue (Know someone with a beautiful back yard? It never hurts to ask!)
-make the food yourself (I will write more about this in my post about the wedding reception and food. In our case, the groom's parents hosted the rehearsal dinner at a restaurant, but the wedding reception food was homemade by various family and friends.)
-find free flowers (If you get married in the right season, you may be able to gather all the flowers you need from your friends and family's backyards!)
I'm excited to share more of the fun, budget friendly ideas we implemented for our daughter's wedding. I'll be back here next week with more!