It can feel good playing the big spender at your wedding and letting everyone know that you can afford lavish arrangements. The feeling can be quickly replaced by despair, once you pick up the pieces and see how little you have left. If you need to bring a little sanity to your wedding plans, you need to stay away from these huge wedding money wasters.
1. An expensive wedding venue
Wedding venue costs can be exorbitant enough to easily take over your wedding budget all by themselves. Sometimes, you can get in over your head even when you aren’t looking for an expensive place. Many venues try to reel people in by advertising low prices but building them up with expensive add-ons — china, furnishings, lighting options etc. It’s important to make sure that your venue doesn’t use up more than 20% of your budget.
Choosing an outdoor venue is the right way to save on decorations, thus you should consider some low-cost locations like your backyard, parks or forests. Another way to save you money is by choosing an all-inclusive package, which usually include reception, wedding and honeymoon. Bear in mind that having your wedding during an off-season will cut the expenses almost twice. On Saturdays wedding venues are more expensive as well.
2. Trying too hard to save money on the venue can be bad, too
A bare venue, such as a large loft in a building or an empty hall in a barely used part of a property, can go very cheaply. The problem with such low-end venues, though, is that it will be up to you to cart in everything that you need for your wedding: lighting, furniture, carpeting, cutlery and silverware. Often, you end up paying way more than you would if you picked a higher-priced venue that came with all the necessities included. Opt for moderate restaurants that already have neat ambiance. Bear in mind that sometimes it’s much less expensive to buy your own items such as silverware or tablecloths rather than renting them.
3. Indulgent entertainment
DJs, a string quartet and even a five-piece wedding band can liven up your wedding beautifully without costing much. If you need to indulge a special love of Elvis impersonators, jugglers or Middle Eastern belly dancers, though, you can easily run out of money. It’s important to keep your wedding entertainment expectations under control.
Wedding band, however, is not the only way to entertain your guests without huge expenses. A local college band is also a good option to consider. Young musicians will eagerly jump at a chance to get experience and such bands usually cost less than professionals. However, DJ’s performance is usually less expensive than a band’s one.
4. Inviting everyone
It can seem like the right thing to do to invite every relative and everyone that you’ve ever been friends with. But each additional guest can cost an extra $150 at the average venue. You can quickly inflate your final bill when you don’t have the heart to keep your guest list to a reasonable length. When making the guest list try to omit your coworkers, children, and separated couples. If you cannot decide on the number of guest use the rule of thumb: if you can spend more than two minutes with that person, invite them.
What’s the reason to invite 150 guests if you physically won’t be able to speak to everybody? Make a rough copy of the guest list and divide all the names into several major categories such as family members, relatives, best friends and coworkers. When you know the approximate number of people you can invite, it may be much easier to cut down on the last category. Don’t mark the invitation with “plus guest.” This way you will avoid extra people you don’t want to see at all.
5. Acquiring a sizable set of groomsmen and bridesmaids
At some weddings, the bride and groom show up with a small army of attendants. While it may feel good to have of large posse watching your back, they can cost money. Even if you don’t shell out for the dress, you have to think of paying for invitations, gifts, bouquets and places at tables. You can end up paying hundreds more.
While formal wedding require up to 10 bridesmaids and 10 groomsmen, you can easily reduce the number of them to just one groomsman and one bridesmaid. Weddings on a budget usually have no ring bearer or flower girl either. If you are afraid to offence your friends, vest them with certain roles. Some may help you with preparation, while others can perform an important role during the wedding ceremony.
6. The wedding attire
According to a recently published survey, half of all brides are uncomfortable spending more than $800 on their wedding dress. Yet, the average wedding dress costs around $1,100. It’s very easy to buy into the glamour-filled messages that the wedding industry sends out and to spend far more than you are comfortable with. But I think that wedding attire is an expense item you have plenty of opportunities to save some money on! Nothing will happen if you will buy your out-off-rack wedding dress in a budget-friendly department store or an outlet. If you feel good about once-worn or vintage dresses you can ask your mom for her gown. This way you will get free attire and you honor your mom as well. Other cost-conscious variants include a rented gown or a dress bought at the online auction.
7. Personalized wedding outfits
Personalized wedding outfits are big business these days. Wedding retailers offer custom-printed clothing for all involved, with formal wedding titles printed on. Everyone from the best men to the bridesmaids get monogrammed outfits to wear around while they help. Since these touches are a luxury, they come at a heavy premium. Moreover, you are not going to wear such clothes permanently, even though it’s fun to have something personalized at first. Thus, it’s not good spending money on such short-life pieces of clothing. Instead, you can order a pair of pajamas with “bride” and “groom” across your buttocks. You are going to wear this type of clothes at home and only two of you will admire the titles!
8. Making mementos of everything
Wedding service providers hardsell the idea that weddings need to be treasured and remembered with all kinds of keepsakes – tokens that you can hand down to your children one day. They try to sell you monogrammed pens, picture frames, toasting glasses, preserved wedding flowers and vases to help with this aim. While mementos are certainly important, you don’t need to spend anything on them.
A photo album and your wedding dress are obviously the most significant mementos of this day. If you are on a tight budget create your own album with the most significant photos. If you are not going to watch your wedding video regularly, you can easily skip this expense item. Rather than cluttering your room with heaps of mementos, spend this money on something really worthwhile.
9. Elaborate wedding invitations
Wedding invitations are so expensive that you can easily end up spending $20 on an invitation with the works. It’s much more reasonable go with mass-produced invitations designed by big-name designers such as Vera Wang. Ask you guests to respond via telephone or e-mail instead of adding a reply card or using usual postcards. However, with the abundance of arts and crafts supplies available out there, you can easily make your own wedding invitations. Surf the Internet to find interesting designs and invite your friends to assist you. Wedding invitations are commonly sent in more than one envelope, but this tradition is no longer rigid and you can use only one envelope, which helps to save some extra dollars.
10. An extra large wedding cake
With their special decorations, wedding cakes can start out as expensive as $8 a slice. It’s easy to make a wedding cake very expensive by ordering a larger size than you need. Too many couples order wedding cakes to serve 200 when they only have 100 guests. A large cake is impressive, but it’s much cheaper to order a small wedding cake and to serve the guests a separate, simply decorated sheet cake. You will significantly save your budget if you decide on a sheet cake. The ingredients are usually the same, but sheet cakes are plain and unpretentious in terms of decorations.
Eliminating the top wedding money wasters can be a valuable way to get more money where it counts — the life that you need to build after the guests go home. With hundreds of ideas out there you still can have a cheap yet marvelous wedding of your dream. Most brides regret having so many odd and useless items they had spent money on. It’s up to you what expense items to include or to remove from this list, but you just should be aware of these major wedding money wasters. What are the biggest wedding money wasters? Share your thoughts, please.