Your wedding is one of the biggest days of your life. You’ve been dreaming of the perfect day since you were little, and that means a lot will go into planning your nuptials. A wedding also often comes with a big price tag and a big pile of clutter at the end. How do you have your dream day without creating a lot of unnecessary waste and keep to a reasonable budget? Read on for my top 6 tips I learned when planning my wedding.
1. Pick the Right Venue
Choosing a venue can be hard, but it’s important to find a place you love and also fits your budget. A big issue I came across at many venues was minimum guest counts required to book the venue. If you’re planning a small wedding, this can really throw your budget out the window. The venue will likely be the most expensive thing you book for your wedding and will dictate the atmosphere of the day. So keep looking until you find something that works for you. We finally came across a smaller venue (La Grange de la Gatineau) which didn’t have the high fees some of the bigger venues had. They allowed us to provide our own alcohol which saved us hundreds of dollars. The venue also required very minimal decorations which helped cut back on our post-wedding clutter!
2. Limit the Guest List
Start by sitting down with your partner and deciding on your ideal number of guests and what fits into your budget. I started by making a list of all our close friends and family. This gave us an idea of how many people we wanted to invite. Then I broke it down into 3 lists: my family, my partners family, and our friends. I found this helped to balance out our guest list. Keep in mind, the more people you invite the more meals, favours, and drinks you’ll have to pay for. Once you have your number of guests, stick with it! This was definitely one of the hardest tasks for me. There will always be family pressures and people you “should” invite. In the end, it’s your wedding day and I strongly believe it’s important to know and like all your guests!
3. Flowers and Decor
Your wedding decorations can easily blow your budget! For flowers, do your research and get quotes until you find someone that will work within your budget. To cut costs and reduce waste, use flowers sparingly as accents and pops of colour. For our wedding, we had only a small bundle of flowers in the centerpieces and mixed in candles, jars and twinkle lights to give the effect of a larger centerpiece. At the main table, we put the bridal bouquets into jars so we could display them rather than buying more flowers. To get the look of a lot of flowers without the big price tag, find a venue that has surrounding gardens or beautiful decor to get a similar effect.
This may be the biggest party you plan, and afterwards the amount of stuff you are left with can be overwhelming. Make sure to check with your venue to see if they have decor you can to avoid having to buy everything new. You can also rent decor items which can be returned after the ceremony if your budget allows it.
4. Photography and DJ
These are two big expenses when it comes to planning a wedding. Once again it’s important to do your research and get quotes! If you have a small budget, look into student photographers or newly graduated professionals to get discounted prices. Always be sure to ask for references and examples of work, but often young professionals are eager to expand their portfolio and will do great work. If you don’t want to settle on an amateur, there are other ways to save some money. Opt out of getting engagement photos, limit the time you book your vendors for, and say no to extras they may offer such as photo books or additional speakers and lighting. If your DJ is good, your guests will have a great time dancing even without fancy dance floor lighting. And for photography, there are a lot of places online you can make an album yourself for a fraction of the price. I used Shutterfly, which helped me make a beautiful wedding album for only $50! Plus they have plenty of sales so you can save even more if you’re willing to wait.
5. The Extras
Little things that aren’t accounted for in your wedding budget can really add up. Try taking on some DIY crafts and asking friends for help to balance things out. If you know and trust someone with a task, ask them if they would like to help you, most people will be excited to contribute! For me, I got my sister do my hair and makeup and our friends made our wedding cake. We also made all of our centerpieces and decorations ourselves. We used dollar store items and decorations the venue already had. Then I tasked my mom and venue coordinator to set everything up. We saved a ton of money not hiring someone to decorate! If you have specific decorations in mind, check out online resale websites to find some great deals instead of buying new!
Help cut waste and stop the cycle of buying new by reselling things you won’t use again after the wedding. For decorations, start by asking the venue if they want to buy any of your decorations for future events. Our wedding venue loved our decor and ended up buying our string lights and half the decorations. Plus it feels really good when the venue is giving you money afterwards! Other items can be posted online, there are a lot of wedding resale or trade sites depending where you live. I used Kijiji and Ebay to sell the items I didn’t need.
If you’re planning a wedding, try some of these tips to help cut costs and reduce clutter.