It happens to couples all the time: they find a bit of money-saving advice and apply it to their wedding planning, but still find themselves pushing the limit of their budget. There are tips and tricks all over the place that seem to make sense, but when it comes to your wedding, one size most certainly doesn't fit all.
So how do you know if a money-saving tactic is going to be effective for you? Well, it takes some thought and willingness to pinpoint what means the most to you and your betrothed on your wedding day. To help you sort through the confusion, we've broken down five of the most commonly touted ways to save and filled you in on the parts that get left out so you can figure out what works best for you.
1. Weddings are cheaper if they aren't on a Saturday.
The whole truth: Wedding venues are almost universally cheaper if they're not booked on a Saturday night, but other big vendors like your photographer or caterer aren't as likely to dole out the discounts for an off-peak day. Regardless, the difference in price can easily be worth shifting your schedule. For example, Belltower Chapel and Gardens in Fort Worth, who graciously puts their pricing online, charges a full $1,000 less on Fridays and Sundays than Saturday nights- a savings of just under 25% of the prime time pricing. If a Saturday makes the most sense for you, check out their morning rates (brunch reception!). They're even cheaper than Friday or Sunday. Rates are often slashed even further if you opt to wed on a weekday, but be sure to check that your desired venue offers that as an option.
2. You can save by getting married during the off-peak season.
The whole truth: Can is the operative here. What constitutes peak and off-peak season are often ambiguous in different parts of the country. A June wedding is a coveted booking in the Northeast, but through most of the South, the temperatures are nearing (or exceeding) 100 by mid-year. The idea of peak/off-peak season and whether or not it really exists in your area is largely determined by the region's weather and tourism. If you live someplace where people are likely to vacation, the months they aren't visiting are most likely to yield discounts. If your hometown (or desired wedding locale) has extreme temperatures for several months a year, you're looking at the times when most people think the weather sucks. Here in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, discounts of 20% or more can be found at many of the most sought-after venues in July and August ... if you don't mind the heat! Keep in mind that not all venues will advertise the savings they're willing to pass on. If you know you're booking during the off season, it never hurts to ask.
3. Cutting the guest list will save thousands.
The whole truth: You're serving fewer meals and drinks, but half the guests does not mean half the budget. The Broke-Ass Bride Real Bride contributor Amy does a great job breaking down the dose of reality she got when she started examining the costs. "Is having 50 people cheaper than having 250 people? Likely yes, but the difference between 50 and 100 isn’t as much as you might think," she explains. "Sometimes, there is a minimum you have to spend at a venue or a minimum number of people you have to pay for which can put you on the hook even if you want to keep it small." She goes on to explain that you may be saving on food, the bar and stationery, but your venue, photographer, entertainment and attire will cost what they cost regardless of how many people are there.
4. If you want to save on decor, skip fresh flowers.
The whole truth: Depending on how you want to decorate, fresh flowers might be an economical choice. Quality faux florals can easily surpass the cost of their genuine counterparts. Take this hydrangea stem for example- At $10 a piece, you're much better off ordering 25 ivory hydrangeas for less than $6 a piece. Candles and candleholders can add up quickly, too. There are plenty of ways to design a gorgeous day without relying on florals, but if they're something you care about, don't rule them out!
5. Decorate a fake cake and keep a sheet cake in the kitchen.
I'm not exactly sure where this got started, but it's almost never a money saver. Ornate icing, whether on a styrofoam block or delicious cake, costs money and the extra sheet cake isn't free. Opting for a smaller display cake with a secret stash in the kitchen will certainly save you a few bucks, but if you want five tiers with sculpted fondant, you'll be paying for the labor accordingly! Instead of trying to fake it, opt for a simple, smooth icing or a naked cake and add flowers for a personalized touch.
When it comes to ways to save money, remember that most of the ideas come from couples who have been in your shoes, but what works for one doesn't necessarily work for all. Keep an open dialogue with your partner about what matters to you both and choose the plan that makes the most sense for you. Need help knowing what works and what doesn't? Shoot us an email and we'll be happy to help!