19 CRAZY RECIPES TO SAVE YOU TIME
19 Sneaky and Genius Ways to Save Money On Your Wedding
Congratulations: You're engaged! You've promised to spend the rest of your life with your soul mate, and now you're likely to spend tens of thousands of dollars celebrating that fact.
Yes, weddings are magical and filled with love and happiness, but they're also a major money suck. According to The Knot's annual Cost of Weddings report, the average cost of a wedding in 2015 was ,641, and that didn't even include a honeymoon. And if you got married in New York City, that average skyrocketed to a whopping ,299.
But before you go into panic mode, know that there are ways you can shrink your wedding bill without dashing your big-day dreams — or annoying your judgmental relatives. Various experts told Cosmopolitan.com that you should pick three things that really matter to you, whether that's the food, the music, or your dress, and then figure out ways to cut the budget on all the other stuff. Here are ways to slash prices on all that "other stuff," in ways that your guests won't even notice. (And if they do, who cares? You're the one who's having your dream wedding.)
Check unlikely sources for venues.According to Alan Fields, co-author of the bookBridal Bargains, your local chamber of commerce probably has a wealth of suggestions for event spaces that may not have the budget to advertise on wedding-planning websites. And your local farmers' market or street fair might feature some upstart bakers and flower sellers who could make the perfect vendors for your big day. It can be tough to figure out the average cost of vendors without reaching out to them directly, because the wedding industry is infuriating in that way. But sites like Wedding Spot provide rough estimates at popular venues across the country.
Hook an iPod up to some speakers for music.This is extremely controversial, Jessica Bishop, owner and editor of The Budget Savvy Bride, says. "I have a very contentious DJ crowd that absolutely hates me, but you can run an iPod for a wedding reception. I did it and it wasn't a big deal." But if music isn't one of your top priorities, it's an easy place to save money. Just load up an epic playlist and hook it up to a sound system for the night—but make sure you've enlisted a friend to intervene in case of technical difficulties. Need help coming up with a playlist? The data geniuses over at FiveThirtyEight, who usually focus on sports and elections, came up with a statistically amazing wedding playlist based on what thousands of readers said they love. In general, they found that nostalgia was key, so make sure all age groups get a dose of the songs they loved growing up.
Consider a winter wedding.Winter is considered the "off season" in most of the country, excluding Christmas and New Year's, making it 27 percent cheaper on average, according to a survey Fields conducted. It's also the time of year when your vendors are less busy. So you can get a great photographer who's usually booked years in advance. Plus, winter wonderland wedding photos are *magical* AF.
What to Wear
Dress for the back row.You might fall in love with a dress with lots of intricate beads and crystals all over it. But Stephanie Cain, an editor at The Knot, recommends considering silhouette instead of the tiniest details. After all, your relatives in the back row of the ceremony won't know about the bespoke lace trim — they'll just know you looked like a bride that day. "At the end of the day, no one is going to know if your dress cost ,000 or ,000," she said. The same goes if you spent at a thrift store for your gown. And saving money can free up funds for alterations and accessories, making the dress perfectly "you," and letting you privately gloat about how you saved a fortune and still look incredible.
Rent when you can.Grooms and groomsmen alike can rent their tuxes at a major discount, and can check out sites like Menguin and The Black Tux to do it all online. Renting is a great option for brides and bridesmaids too. Rent the Runway has designer-label white dresses perfect for a bride and lots of pretty options for bridesmaids — plus designer accessories at a massive discount. "Renting a Marchesa clutch is a lot cheaper than buying one," Cain says.
Keep an eye out for great deals on gowns.According to Cain, trunk shows at bridal salons can save you 15 percent or more on the dress of your dreams. And check the bridesmaid section for dresses that come in white: It could be the perfect, low-key wedding gown at a steal. Bishop recommends checking out consignment shops, whether in your town or on sites like Just Wed, for good deals. There are also charity shops, like the Bridal Garden in New York, that sell secondhand dresses and donate the proceeds to charity.
Look beyond gold and platinum for your rings.You might consider yellow gold, white gold, or even platinum for your wedding band. But Fields suggests looking beyond those metals for long-lasting rings that look identical, but at a fraction of the price. Palladium looks just like platinum or white gold, and titanium, stainless steel, and tungsten are also great affordable options.
Ditch the giant floral centerpiece."I challenge people when I'm speaking if they can remember any centerpiece at any wedding they have ever been to. The answer is universally no," says Meg Keene, editor of A Practical Wedding and author ofA Practical Wedding Planner. "Most memories I hear are about how they were so tall you couldn't talk to people on the other side of the table." Instead, opt for a few flowers in small vases, cheaper greens, or even just the table number. Your guests will get over it, and you can limit your flowers to just bouquets and boutonnieres.
Don't limit yourself to flower types you've heard of.You might think you have your heart set on roses and orchids, but all that goes out the window when you look at the price tag. Flowers like mums, Peruvian lilies, and Gerbera daisies are around 35 percent less expensive but achieve the same effect as more expensive flower types, Fields says."If you're sitting in the back of the ceremony and you see white flowers up there, you can't really tell if those are mums or roses or gardenias," he notes. "If people can't really see the difference, why spend three times as much?"
"Local" and "seasonal" are the words of the day.If your florist has to ship sunflowers from around the world because you absolutely must have them, it'll cost you. If you're having your wedding in spring, it'll save you cash to have flowers that grow in your region in the springtime. And if you want to go really DIY, you can skip the florist altogether and pick wildflowers for your bouquet.
Get décor that will be in lots of photos."Wedding magazines have given us this weird distorted images of weddings with teeny tiny objects," Keene says. "What happens is those little tiny objects are preserved in one picture. You're not going to cut a picture of your grandma in your album for a picture of a favor box." So instead of monogrammed napkins, spend your money on a cool backdrop for your ceremony that can turn into a photo booth backdrop during the reception.
Ditch the favors entirely.Your friends will thank you later for not sticking them with a "Leslie Loves Ben" beer koozie that they'll conveniently "lose" at the hotel room later that night. "Don't spend money on anything people will see after they've had their first drink," Keene says, quoting a piece of conventional wisdom she was once told. "It's excellent advice because at any party, once you've had the first drink, you're no longer thinking about aesthetic choices."
Food & Drink
Let caterers compete over you.Fields recommends picking a venue that doesn't include catering, because then you can pit caterers against each other to get you the best deal. If you tell Caterer A that a competitor is offering a similar package at a lower price, they may compromise to get your business.
Think local."Local" and "seasonal" doesn't just apply to your flowers. If you emphasize that you want vegetables that are in season that don't need to be flown in from somewhere exotic, you're likely to save money. And be sure you look at the ingredients on your menu. If you can negotiate with your caterer to have dishes like pasta, which are cheaper than, say, beef, you can save tons of money.
Streamline your dessert.The Knot's Cain says that more couples these days are serving wedding cake and a separate dessert course. But since people are likely up on the dance floor, the vast majority of that dessert is just getting thrown away, unnoticed. So opt for one or the other, not both — trust me, nobody will care.
Skip theCake Bossroutine.Sure, you might be obsessed with intricate frosting decorations on Pinterest. But think about it: Your guests are going to get a slice that probably lacks all that piping, anyway. Fields suggests you just have your florist scatter a few loose flowers onto your cake the day of, and save tons on your baker's bill.
Trick your guests with wedding cake.Fields recommends doing the ceremonial cake-cutting with a small, tiered cake in front of your guests. Then, let the caterers wheel away the cake to the kitchen — and then serve everyone a way cheaper sheet cake. This trick can save you up to 70 percent on your wedding cake.
Ditch the full bar.Fields says that caterers can really gouge you when it comes to offering a full bar for your guests. Your loved ones will be fine with beer, wine, and a few types of spirits and mixers, or one or two signature cocktails. Your sorority sister will live if she can't have her favorite type of gin in her G&T that day. Promise. But Cain warns not to make it a cash bar, because that might make your guests grumpy about having to pay up beyond your gift registry.
Bring the booze yourself.If your venue allows it, buy your alcohol yourself, Fields says. Just go to Costco or another big-box discount store and get a huge discount on liquor, wine, and beer. You can get cheaper wines and prosecco instead of champagne, and save tons of money without a single guest knowing about it. Just be sure to order more than you think you need, or else your bridal party may have to go on a beer run mid-reception.
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