Every year, there are about 2.4 million weddings, and the average ceremony and reception in the U.S. runs for a staggering $31,213. Thanks to dream wedding boards on Pinterest and high expectations for cocktail hour (spending on alcohol for receptions rose from 60 to 76% in 2010 and spending is only going up!) — among other things — wedding day expenses aren’t likely to go down any time soon. There is some good news for soon-to-be newly weds, however: It is entirely possible to have a elegant and memorable wedding without budgets getting too crazy. Here’s how to do it:
Beware “Wedding Markup”
Wedding packages, wedding plans, and nice wedding places often come with a high price tag simply because they are for a wedding. For that reason, it may be worth looking into unusual wedding venues and cheap wedding reception halls. A bed and breakfast, for example, may charge considerably less because they are unaccustomed to throwing weddings — and they want the pictures and good publicity that comes along with it. Cheap wedding reception halls are another option. Really, it’s all in the decor. Even the simplest hall can look beautiful and high-class with the right flowers, centerpieces, and accents.
Write It Down
The most surefire way for any budget to get out of hand is to spend recklessly. Yes, it’s your wedding day — but that doesn’t mean you can let any and all expenses go unchecked. Always write down what you spend. There are convenient and free apps to help you meticulously keep track. TheKnot.com, for instance, offers a free mobile application that tracks expenses and breaks them up into appropriate categories.
A Note On Wedding Favors
Keep costs here modest. There’s no shame in it. Most people will forget to pick them up anyway — especially if you have an open bar or otherwise freely pour the alcohol. Offer simple and inexpensive favors, or a small donation in your guests’ names.
It is 100% possible to have a beautiful and memorable wedding on a budget. To do it, be mindful about markups, carefully track spending every step of the way, and opt for inexpensive wedding favors.