It is possible to plan a wedding on a budget. (Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!) Before you dismiss the idea of a beautiful wedding on a less-than-stellar budget, use these tips to plan the perfect wedding in a wedding venue you can be proud of.
Choose a venue that doesn’t need a lot of décor.
If you want to keep your wedding décor costs down, look for a wedding venue that makes a statement even when empty. This keeps your wedding décor costs low, allowing you to prioritize your funds for other areas you care about, such as your dress, food, etc.
Look for a venue that lets you choose your own vendors (and costs).
If you want to be able to compare numbers from your wedding vendors, ask potential wedding venues if they have a policy that allows any vendors to come in. This policy puts you in the driver’s seat, allowing you to control who you work with (as long as they meet insurance requirements) and the costs to make sure you stay within budget.
Ask a lot of questions to make sure you don’t go over budget.
Some venues charge by the hour or add on additional fees that can make your budget number seem like a distant memory. When choosing your venue, use this list of wedding venue questions to make sure you have a complete list of all costs before you receive the bill. Another way to make sure you stick to your budget is to ask your venue if they hold a final wedding planning meeting that allows you to make last-minute adjustments so you know the final cost—and that it is within budget.
Pick a wedding date that’s off-season.
There are certain times of the year that are considered off-season for weddings, such as January, March, and November. To the contrary, June and October are considered busy times. If you’re flexible on wedding dates or haven’t chosen a date at all, let your budget lead you to the perfect day to get married (this tips can help you choose the perfect wedding date as well). You’ll get the perfect venue on the perfect day without busting the bank.
Hold your wedding on a Thursday, Friday, or Sunday.
If you have your heart set on a particular wedding venue but want to keep the site cost down, contact your wedding venue and ask if they offer a lower rate for non-Saturday weddings. Many wedding venues offer a lower cost for these non-peak days; if your venue doesn’t, choose a wedding venue that does so you can stay within your budget.
Don’t assume that a venue is too expensive.
It’s natural to see the pictures of a beautiful wedding venue and assume that there is no way that could fit in your wedding budget. Don’t assume anything until you’ve contacted the wedding venue. You never know if that wedding venue fits your budget—or if the cost of an off-season, non-Saturday wedding could be the right number for your wedding budget.
Eliminate your transportation costs.
Instead of booking two wedding venues, book one venue for your ceremony and your reception. Holding your wedding day at one place eliminates transportation costs and allows you to use your wedding décor for both your ceremony and reception. To make sure you still get beautiful wedding photos, shop around for venues where you can take beautiful wedding pictures without going off-site.
Limit your guest list.
It’s a logical connection: more guests, more cost. Use these tips to get to the perfect guest list, but keep your budget in mind. Estimate what the cost per guest is (approximately), and pare down your list to the right number that fits with your calculations. Some vendors may have a minimum cost or number of guests required, so be sure to ask before you count on a vendor that doesn’t fall within your budget.
Be smart about your bar policy.
To shave dollars off your wedding costs, consider minimizing your bar costs. In lieu of an open bar, cover the cost of your guests’ beer but ask they pay for hard drinks. For other ideas, ask your wedding venue staff for ideas on a suitable policy that’s suitable for your guests and your budget.
Look for venues that include staffing.
It’s a common misconception: if you hold your wedding venue at a bare bones wedding venue with a cheap venue fee, your overall wedding costs are going to be kept down. Instead, the opposite is often true: by the time you hire a bartender, fill the hall with décor to make it beautiful, and hire or buy anything else that’s not included, you’ve spent far more than you would spend at a wedding venue with a hall coordinator, bar staff,and all the other “must haves” of a beautiful wedding.