The average American wedding seems to be on the rise every year. If you are like me, you can’t imagine or afford for that matter, a $25,000 wedding. Even if I could afford a $25,000 wedding, I don’t think I would want it. To me, spending that kind of money, for one day, is a lot. I’d rather have a car. There are ways to cut back on the “big day”, even though when shopping around, it may seem impossible.
1) Wedding Dress
According to Wikipedia (yes I am sourcing Wikipedia), the average wedding dress costs a whopping $1,075! $1,075 for a dress? I know you will get hundreds of pictures in that amazing dress, but then what? Could you imagine spending $1,075 on any outfit that you will wear for one day? Once you get sucked into a bridal shop though, $1,075 seems like a steal after looking at the other prices. My advice? Pick the dress of your dreams at a chain store, and then shop around on-line. You can save over 60% on a used dress. If you don’t feel like wearing someone else’s dress, don’t worry. There are many brides out there that can afford to purchase 3 dresses and they typically just wear one! There are also brides that have canceled their wedding, but are stuck with their $1,075 dress, that you can get for $400. There are also the thrifty shoppers out there that find their dress for $20 at Goodwill…I’m not that thrifty, but that would be amazing.
Your ceremony itself can cost $2,600. For those (like my Catholic self) that would like to get married in a church, things add up quickly. The church may be affordable, but items like decorations, musicians, flowers, etc. adds up fast. If you don’t desire to get married at a church. Look at having your ceremony at your reception hall. They may charge you $200 for a room flip, but in the long run it is a lot cheaper and it is already decorated.
If you decide to have your ceremony at a church, don’t spend money on the little things (bows, flowers, singers, etc.). A church is beautiful on it’s own. If you are getting married at a church, you must realize that and the only focus should be you and your significant other.
If you want to feed everyone a full meal, but can’t afford it, scale back your dinner guests. I deal with brides weekly that want to invite everyone, but can’t afford to. Invite your closest family to the intimate meal and your friends to the after party. Don’t attempt to feed everyone on your small budget. If you only have $2,000 for your reception, you can choose to do a small intimate dinner, or appetizers or dessert for everyone.
Make sure to check with your reception hall to see what their minimum is. At Maple Tavern in Maple Grove www.mapletavern.com/banquets/ we have a $1,500 minimum. That means that you have to spend at least $1,500 on food (or decorations) to have your wedding on a Saturday. Most places have a $5,000 or even $10,000 minimum.
Be careful though, because that doesn’t mean you can feed everyone at their venue for just $5,000. Look at their prices and check all of their fees. Make sure you aren’t being charged for items you don’t know about (plates, room fees, water glasses, service charges). It is always smart to ask for an estimate bill before booking a room. This will include all charges for X amount of guests.
A lot of community centers will have outside caterers. These caterers have to usually pay the community center a fee or percentage to have other food brought in (and alcohol). For this reason, their fees are a lot higher (for it costs the catering company more time and more money usually). It also costs you a room charge to hold your event at their communtiy center. Keep all of these in mind, before putting a deposit down. It will usually save you money to have your reception at a hall where the food is catered in house.
It is amazing how quickly things can add up for decorations (chair covers, centerpieces, etc.). There are many decoration rental places out there, but be careful, for it may be cheaper to buy them yourself online or at a consignment shop. A lot of venues, like Maple Tavern, will buy those decorations back from you to save you the time and money. This can save you hundreds, maybe thousands on decorations. There are many venues that can also do the decorating for you. Check their prices and decide if the money and your time is worth purchasing them from the venue. Many brides prefer it, for it is one less thing they have to do on the big day.
We all want the big wedding cake that can probably feed 500 people, but make sure to once again figure out if it is money well spent. If your wedding is at a banquet hall, like Maple Tavern, they will allow you to bring in an outside bakery certified cake for no fee. There are many places that you can get amazing cupcakes that are more reasonable than buying plates, forks, napkins, a knife or paying a “cake cutting fee” to have. If you are set on a gorgeous cake, just take a step back and see how much it will cost you in the end. Divide it by the number of guests you have, and see how much per person it is costing you. It may or may not be worth it. Many couples also are doing a mini cake for themselves and cupcakes or sheet cakes for their guests. Also ask yourself, the last wedding you were at…what kind of cake did they have?
For many different couples, the conversation about a bar at their wedding can be a big fight. Some feel the need to purchase all their guests alcohol, others do not want any at their reception because of family drinking or beliefs. Obviously it is a big money saver to just have a cash bar at your wedding. Check to see if the bar offers “happy hour” pricing during certain hours. Maple Tavern for example has happy hour all day Sundays (which many guests are having weddings on Sundays because everything seems to be more reasonable) as well as 3-6pm everyday. Having a “cocktail” hour would be very reasonable from say 5pm-6pm in those cases. $2 drinks with 200 guests would only cost you about $400 if everyone had a drink.
Many places though have very high fees for kegs, alcohol, etc. This is where many venues make a bulk of their money. Just be sure to check with your reception hall about all of these fees before making your deposit.
At Maple Tavern we strive to make your wedding the day of your dreams, at a price that won’t haunt you for the rest of your life. If you have any questions on how to make your wedding more affordable, or would like to see how reasonable your wedding at Maple Tavern could be email me at email@example.com!
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