Planning a destination Montana wedding? Read these 6 tips!
April 16, 2015
10 Ways to Cut Back a Wedding Budget Without Being Tacky
March 12, 2015
1. Make a Budget & Stick To It:
Every wedding has a budget, whether the bride knows what it is or not! Your personal wedding budget is a combination of what you want the wedding to look like, what funds are available, and what you’re comfortable with spending. Set your budget at something that you feel good about. But keep in mind, a wedding IS an expensive event – when you go out to dinner with your friends, and you pick up the tab, do you cringe when you spend $50 per person? $100 per person? $200 per person? Remember that a wedding is the same thing as taking your family and friends out to dinner. But you’re ALSO providing the entertainment, the venue, the décor, etc. So be realistic about your expectations when setting a budget. For example: If you want a formal wedding with a 4 course dinner for 150 people, think about a minimum of $25,000. If you’re just having a backyard potluck for 50 people, $10,000 will go quite a long ways. When you figure out what budget you want to go with, STICK TO IT! Plan to spend the money, and don’t be afraid to splurge in certain categories, if you've planned it into the budget. Using a budget worksheet is really helpful, and so is hiring a wedding planner – they can help give you spending goals for each part of your budget to help keep you on track.
2. Cutting the Guest List:
This is by far the easiest way to cut down on spending. It’s not just food costs that are affected by the headcount. Let me break it down for you:
If a menu costs $40 per person, and you have 50 guests = $2000.
If you increase that headcount to 150 = $6000.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If we really did go from 50 to 150 people, these are just some examples of what else you need to take into account:
+ renting a table = $10 x 10 = $100
+ renting a chair = $5 x 100 = $500
+ renting a linen = $20 x 10 = $200
+ needing a bigger tent to accommodate more people = $500
+ needing a larger dance floor for more guests to dance = $250
+ needing an additional bartender and bar setup = $200
+ needing a bigger cake = $200
+ larger bar tab = $1500
+ extra porta potty = $75
So in addition to needing $4000 more for food, you’d also increase in other areas exponentially (in the range of $3500+ according to the quick numbers we crunched above).
3. Table Shapes Matter:
When it comes to your setup, most people don’t consider that rectangular tables are MUCH more space efficient than rounds. You can seat a lot more people in a space using rectangles. Less space used means potentially a smaller tent rental. That being said, linen rentals on round tables are typically less than linen rentals for rectangular tables (more fabric required). It’s all a personal preference, but do consider the shapes and sizes of tables if you’re trying to cut back on your budget.
4. Don't Go Crazy With TONS of Rental Items
Décor is what makes your wedding so personalized, and we LOVE adding it to our events! But if you’re trying to cut back on your budget, try to be more realistic about the space that décor is taking. More large décor means more space needed, which can mean a larger tent! Look at renting a few big accent pieces that have a dramatic flair. Go for quality over quantity if you’re trying to cut back.
5. Avoid Holidays
Holidays are more expensive, plain and simple, said wedding planner Yifat Oren. "You might think it's easier for people to get time off work, but they'll be spending more money all around on travel and accommodations, not to mention the challenges with availability during high season times," she said. In a smaller wedding market like Montana, quantities of rental items can be limited if you don’t plan ahead. Sometimes need to order from another vendor 3+ hours away. Now we’re talking about $500 - $1500 in delivery fees, depending on the item. Off season and weekdays are where you'll save the most money! If you love a specific venue and they're out of your price range, there's no harm in asking "is there another time of year when I could book you for less?"
6. Get On Your Vendors' Mailing And Social Media Lists
Sign up for all your potential vendors' email lists and follow them on social media in order to get the first scoop on deals, contests, and freebies, said Sharon Naylor, wedding expert and author of "The Bride's Guide To Freebies." You'll hear about clearance sales, "Pin It To Win It" contests on Pinterest, trunk shows and more deals you wouldn't have known about otherwise. "If you’re following them and keeping a good eye on them, you can cash in on some great stuff," Naylor said.
7. Extras ARE Extra
The cool thing about today’s weddings is that we’ve gotten away from traditional expectations. Every wedding is a customized ordeal. If you don’t want to print programs, that’s fine. If you don’t want to create a board that explains the menu, or give out menu cards, that’s ok too (although we still suggest labeling everything you serve, so guests know what it is). If you don’t want to offer wedding favors, that’s ok too. Each of these things costs money, albeit maybe $1 per piece. But for 100 people, cutting out these 3 things would save you $300. We suggest spending money on the things guests will really appreciate – the food, the beverage, the entertainment, and the small details that make your wedding special.
8. Gift Certificates
Be smart during the holidays & birthdays. Frequently, family and friends don’t know what to get you! Suggest a gift certificate to your wedding photographer, rental company, wedding planner, florist, etc! Saving $500 off a photographer is a HUGE deal if someone else is willing to buy it for you!
9. The Menu
A plated dinner is expensive because it requires plenty of staffing to ensure quick service. A buffet style dinner is expensive because people pile a surplus of food onto their plates, and a lot of food is wasted. To say that one is more expensive than the other depends on the actual food items you select. But there are ways to cut back and not be tacky:
Serve hors d’oeuvres only, and limit the time of the party (a lot of hors d’oeuvres will still be a lot of money, so shortening the time span prevents this!)
Serve beer & wine hosted. Some weddings add a specialty liquor cocktail, and that’s the only liquor available. This works really well. Cash bars are sometimes all people can afford, but in our opinion, a cash bar is not appropriate at a wedding.
Change the event time to earlier in the day and serve a brunch
Only serve cake and punch
10. Register With Your Vendors
Instead of registering for kitchen supplies you don't really need, think about including a card in your invitation, asking guests to forego a gift, and instead give money towards a service you really want, but can’t afford. This works with the “extras” like honeymoon and videographer. It would be incredibly tacky to include a card asking for your guests to help cover the cost of catering or flowers.