Although costs can quickly add up, there are some simple steps you can take to maximize your wedding budget and get the most out of every dollar you spend. The more flexible you are about certain details, the more you will be able to save while still enjoying a special day. Follow these tips to stay within your budget and host your dream wedding.

1. Lower Your Guest Count

While a low guest count is a relative concept and will vary from family to family, limiting your guest list is one of the simplest ways to cut costs. A lower guest count will certainly lessen your food/drink costs and could even help by reducing chairs, tables, linens, and centerpieces. In addition, hosting fewer guests will allow you to enjoy more quality time with those who do attend, instead of spending all night feeling like you need to make the rounds and mingle. Think about what makes sense for you and your guests–It’s all about balancing your priorities!

2. Choose Off-Peak Months/Days

While Saturday is a popular choice for many couples, there is no hard and fast rule that says you need to schedule your wedding for Saturday. If you are trying to make things more convenient for your guests who need to travel, keep in mind that they will probably be taking off time anyway to attend. Maybe a Friday wedding could make more sense–it might allow you to spend more time with family and friends on Saturday and Sunday before you leave for your honeymoon.

Spring and fall Saturdays tend to be busiest for weddings, but keeping your options open to consider off-peak days or seasons is likely to significantly increase your odds of finding an affordable option at a venue you love. You may even be able to score discounts from vendors during seasons when demand is a bit lower. As couples who were planning weddings for Spring 2020 have been forced to postpone due to public health concerns, we will likely see more weddings on non-Saturdays and during the “off-season.” Weekday weddings have been increasing in popularity and we expect that trend to continue–celebrate your love anytime!

3. Evaluate Your Style

When you envision your wedding, what kind of vibe do you imagine? Is it a lavish, formal affair in a ballroom or a quaint, charming garden party–or perhaps somewhere in between? If a less formal vibe seems more your style, you may be able to save some money on catering by choosing a time of day when your guests wouldn’t necessarily expect a full meal. Interactive food stations such as a biscuit bar, taco station, or ice cream bar add a playful, relaxed feeling and will be easier on your wallet than a plated steak meal.

Choose decor that speaks to your style, but remember that elaborate displays and huge floral arrangements can add up quickly. Maybe you can splurge on one accent piece and keep the rest relatively simple. Your florist will likely have suggestions for seasonal flowers that will fit your color scheme with options at several different price points. If you enjoy Pinterest and do-it-yourself crafts, you can save considerable cash by making some of the decors yourself. Maybe you can combine some homemade items with some decor from professional vendors. The options are endless!

4. Consolidate Alcohol Options

Offering guests an open bar with unlimited options can add up quickly. Consider only serving wine and beer and choose a couple of options from broad categories. Your bartender can help give suggestions about which options tend to work well. For example, you will be able to keep most people happy by serving white and red wine and a light and dark beer.

If you do choose to serve liquor, limit the options to a couple of signature drinks. Offering a wide variety of different liquors and mixers can get complicated for the bartender and expensive for you. Guests will appreciate anything you provide and won’t expect you to offer the same selection as their favorite bar.

5. Ask About Details

Don’t be afraid to ask your vendors about any discounts, deals, or packages that they might offer or be willing to negotiate. Oftentimes, vendors can bundle services and save you money. For example, you may be able to bundle photography and videography, your planner could provide florals/decor, or your caterer could provide dessert and/or bartending. For vendors who charge by the hour, such as photographers, look for ways to maximize their time while also making sure you get the services that are most important to you.

When you are comparing vendors, make sure you read contracts carefully and know the details about any service fees, delivery fees, taxes, and what level of service your package covers. Take catering as an example: you may find that your caterer charges extra for china versus disposable dishes or requires a fee for cutting the cake. You may be able to avoid some of those upcharges/fees, but it may require you to adjust the level of service provided. Planners can also be helpful in offering advice or weighing pros and cons when it comes down to some of the finer details. Ask your vendors for a cost breakdown so you know where your money is going and ask about ways to reduce costs.

At the Rand-Bryan House, we have years of experience helping couples plan for and host weddings that maximize their budget and help them celebrate in style. We look forward to helping you do the same. Contact us today to learn more.