A wedding is a time to celebrate the eternal joy of the sacred ordinance of marriage. So why does planning a wedding make you want to pull your hair out? Flowers, photographers, tuxedos, invitations—it all adds up. And before you know it, you’re going into debt for a would-be happy occasion that is quickly turning you into a basket case.
The Big Picture: Budgets Are Key
Here are some words of advice from Valerie Rasmussen, editor-in-chief of Utah Bride and Groom magazine, on planning an affordable wedding:
• Decide on a budget
Set a budget immediately. The budget needs to list every possible expense incurred during the wedding planning process. Even with a $10,000 budget, you can easily spend $3,000 on a gown (typically the first item purchased), thinking you have plenty to spend. But once you factor in reception venue, food, drinks, décor, invitations, entertainment and so on, the budget gets devoured quickly.
• Hire the pros
Hiring a wedding planner seems counterintuitive, right? But guess what their number one job is? Keeping you within your budget—no matter how large or small it may be. And that budget will include them. You’d be surprised how helpful it is to have a professional taking care of last-minute snags, leaving you free to enjoy the day. DIY may still be the cheapest way to go, and if you’re the crafty-Kathy type, then work your magic—but remember that you can’t DIY it all.
• Cut the guest list
This one gets tricky at LDS weddings because we want to include all of our ward members (past and present), family, and friends. But in general, the guests speak with the bride and groom for a few minutes and then enjoy only a few appetizing refreshments. With a smaller guest list, the reception can be more intimate, less stressful, more appetizing, and less expensive.
Small and Simple Things: Creative Ways to Save
Check out these imaginative ideas for making your wedding beautiful, unique and inexpensive.
• Find antique fabric of sentimental value and hire a seamstress to repurpose it into your dream wedding dress. Grandma’s lacy drapes and tablecloths can provide a very unique and beautiful design. You get a modest dress that soon becomes a treasured, family heirloom. And you avoid buying an expensive gown that may need sleeves added to it—yet another pricey expenditure.
• Use glass jars or test tubes for a quaint, outdoor reception. Fill them with anything from flowers to tea lights and hang them with twine around the venue area. This saves you from paying for expensive vases and flower arrangements.
• Collect flowers that match the wedding colors from your own and from friends’ gardens (with their permission, of course!). Have bowls of the flower petals for the guests to toss in the air as the bride and groom leave the reception. You avoid spending extra cash on pricey sparklers or bubbles.