1. Reduce Your Guest List
The size of your guests list is the number one factor which will affect whether your wedding is affordable or not. Think of it this way, most of the cost associated with a wedding is associated with the wedding reception. If you have more guests, you will need to pay for a larger sized venue and you will need to pay for more food and more drinks for those guests. More guests translate into more costs for plates, napkins, tables, chairs, and all other variable costs. If your ceremony and reception are in two different places, you may need to pay more to transport your guests between the two venues. Typically, wedding costs can be accounted for on a cost per person basis. If the cost per person is $100, with 200 guests, the cost would be $20,000. If you instead have 50 guests, the cost would be $5,000. So pick your guest list carefully.
Also, you may want to spare your guests. How many times have you been invited to a wedding you did not really want to go to from someone you did not know very well? Choose carefully and invite people you really want and care about to the wedding. Obviously, your wedding is also important to your parents and family as well. They will also have a say in the guest list. Limit the number of people you and your spouse’s family are allowed to invite.
2. Choose an Affordable Venue
Another critical decision in whether you will have an affordable wedding is the choice of venue. Venue fees alone can comprise a significant percentage of a wedding budget. Some venues charge thousands of dollars just for the venue alone. If you are able to find a venue which is free or charges a rate below $1,000, you could save a significant amount of money.
The location of your wedding reception is also important in determining whether you will be able to have an affordable wedding. Some wedding reception venues will require you to use the in-house caterer (such as a hotel) and then you will be locked in to the prices the venue charges for food, drinks and gratuity. Or the venue may charge you for bringing in an outside caterer. Or the wedding reception site may limit your selection of catering vendors and other services (DJ, band, florist), to a select list. These vendors may be more expensive than if you were able to pick your vendors on the open market.
You should also consider which services are included with the venue and which are not. If there are no tables, chairs, umbrellas (if it is hot or outdoors), linens, and other necessities, you may have to contract these services from another vendor, which could create more logistical challenges and increase costs.
The choice of your wedding venue will make a significant impact on whether you will be able to have an affordable wedding.
3. Pick an Off Peak Month
Summer months are the most popular time for a wedding. June is the single most popular month for a wedding with over 100,000 weddings in the United States alone. The next most popular month is August, then September and finally October. With popularity comes increased demand and increased pricing. If you get married instead in the months of November, January or February, it will be easier to have an affordable wedding. The month of December is a popular month due to days off from Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Think carefully about when your wedding is. You may be able to shave off 20 to 40% off your costs if you choose an off peak month.
4. Choose a Day Other Than Saturday
Another important decision which affects whether or not you will be able to have an affordable wedding is your selection of day of the week. Saturday is the most popular day for a wedding. If you are able to have your wedding on a Friday or Sunday instead, that will greatly reduce the cost of your wedding. You will be more likely to have an affordable wedding.
5. Choose a Time Other Than Evening
Generally, weddings that occur in the morning or midday are more inexpensive. Providing a nice wedding brunch or midday meal is more affordable than having to provide food and drinks for dinner. Venues will also give better pricing if you have your wedding earlier in the day and leave the site before 4pm versus if you need the venue for later in the day.