With the holidays behind us, we’re at the tail end of engagement season (commonly considered the time from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day). With nearly 40% of proposals occurring during this time of the year, there’s a good chance that you or someone you know has just gotten engaged or will be getting engaged soon—so congratulations are in order for the newly engaged and soon-to-be-engaged couples!
But once the excitement of the engagement subsides, many couples find that planning a wedding can be a challenge, particularly because of the financial implications. So let’s take a look at the Who, What, When, Where, and Wear (not necessarily in that order!) of how you can save when planning a wedding.
Choosing a date is usually one of the first decisions a newly engaged couple will make when they begin planning a wedding. While the venue (the Where) and its availability may determine when you’ll get married, the time of the year you choose can also affect your wedding budget. Generally, the winter months of January, February, and March are the least popular months for weddings (considered off-season), with spring to early summer and late summer to fall being the most popular times of the year to get married. Additionally, Saturdays are the most popular day of the week to host a wedding. The time of day you choose to hold your wedding can also affect your costs as some venues offer reduced pricing for morning/brunch or afternoon receptions, with evening receptions generally being more popular and therefore more expensive. So if you’re flexible with your season, day of the week, or time of day, you can usually save money by choosing less popular options.
The When and the Where of wedding planning often go hand-in-hand. Sometimes couples will have a dream venue or location in mind, and its availability will determine when they get married. As discussed in the When section, avoiding peak seasons can be a way to help lower wedding costs. You could accomplish this, for example, by selecting a venue near the beach for a wintertime wedding. Additionally, your negotiation skills can be useful when it comes to selecting a venue and keeping costs down, but it also helps to be realistic about what is and isn’t reasonable to negotiate. For example, if a venue offers certain options as standard, but you don’t need or want them—consider forgoing such options for a reduced price.
Another big ticket item when it comes to wedding planning can be what everyone will Wear—especially the bride. Wedding dresses can get pricier the more customized and individualized they are, but buying a pre-owned wedding gown can help you save money. Another option that can save you money is purchasing a sample wedding gown—many bridal salons offer sample gowns at discounted prices, and some even hold special sale events to sell off their sample inventory. Also consider borrowing a loved one’s dress as a way to save money—it can be your “something borrowed,” and if it needs no alterations, you may not have to spend any money at all on a gown!
You can also save on attire for your bridal party. While grooms and groomsmen have the option to rent tuxes and suits, there are now options to rent women’s formalwear too. There are a number of websites that offer women’s attire for rent—so renting bridesmaids dresses, mother-of-the-bride/groom gowns, and even a wedding dress can save you money when it comes to planning.
Once a date and venue are selected, many couples will often turn their attention to selecting vendors such as photographers, videographers, florists, DJs, officiants, and caterers. As mentioned in the Where section, your negotiation skills can be helpful when it comes to saving money booking vendors, but it helps to be realistic about what you can and can’t negotiate. It may help with costs if you research your options, shop around, and ask for recommendations from recently wed couples. Hiring family or friends who work in the catering, floral, photography, entertainment, etc., industries can also be an option to help save money.
Another Who to think about is who to invite. Carefully planning your guest list can help keep your head count, and overall costs, lower.
Beyond the date, venue, attire, and vendors, there are many other ways to cut costs associated with planning a wedding, such as:
- Save the stamp. Creating a personalized website that includes detailed information about the happy couple and their wedding has become very popular, and many companies offer free wedding websites. You can even choose to have your guests RSVP on your wedding website and save on the costs of printing and postage associated with reply cards
- Put your DIY skills to work. With a little effort, many of the items associated with a wedding can be handmade, including invitations, décor, and favors
- Bring on the buffet. Opting to serve food buffet style instead of individually plated meals can help keep costs down
- Fake the cake. The bigger and more elaborately decorated, the more expensive a wedding cake will be. Ordering a smaller display cake for ceremonial cutting but serving guests undecorated sheet cake cut in your venue’s kitchen can help keep your costs down. Or consider alternative types of desserts, like cupcakes or cake pops, which can even be homemade
As you can see, there are many ways you can save when it comes to planning a wedding. Regardless of if or how you choose to lower your costs, try not to stress and take the time to enjoy planning your special day with your future spouse. Congratulations—and happy wedding planning!
The information mentioned in this article is for informational purposes only, is intended to provide general guidance and does not constitute legal or tax advice. Each person’s situation is unique and may materially differ from the information provided herein. You should seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant and/or legal counsel to address your specific needs before any financial or other commitments regarding the issues related to your situation are made. Banco Popular North America does not make any representations or warranties as to the content contained herein and disclaims any and all liability resulting from any use of or reliance on such content.
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