When I was planning my wedding, cost was a big factor. While I wanted to enjoy the day and have it represent my partner and me, I didn't want to do it at a premium cost. So I SCOURED the internet to find ways to slash my budget.
The problem was that some of these “20 Ideas to Cut Your Budget” just weren't feasible. Part of my problem was that, to many, a “budget wedding” is a $20,000 wedding, and I was hoping for more of a $5,000 wedding. Another problem was that the “easiest” way to cut my budget was to invite fewer people, but the guest list already had NO wiggle room. Yet another frustration was that I had already budgeted for wedding cost-cutters like using vinyl tablecloths, serving beverages in cans and bottles, asking a cousin to take my photos, non-floral centrepieces, choosing one venue, wearing a non-wedding dress, barbecue catering, using a wedding cake alternative, and opting to be my own wedding day coordinator. To many, I already had the “budget wedding.”
While these things certainly saved money, they caused me a LOT of stress. I worried way too much about the table cloths looking cheap, whether or not Grandma would be pissed about having to drink out of a can, if the photos would turn out nice, and whether I had forgotten any details.
Here is where I think the biggest difficulties in planning a budget wedding lie: that it's really hard to find affirmation in choosing the “cheaper” way.
So here are my tips for planning a guilt-free “budget” wedding…
1. If you don't want something, then don't do it — and don't feel bad about it
That being said, there were moments during planning in which I felt very insecure about my decisions to not have certain things. Over time I realized that things weren't really all that important for me to have, and I saved a lot of money by sticking to my guns and simply doing without. Side note: Nobody mentioned the absence of ANY of the things I cut from the budget, so I really don't think they were greatly missed.
2. Focus on the big picture and forget about the details
This includes shifting conversations with family and friends to focus on the big rather than the little. Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and the internet have opened up the world to a level of extravagance that many of us lay people would not have been privy to in years past. They made me personally feel like my wedding wouldn't be complete without a five-tier chandelier made out of tiny paper cranes, a chocolate fountain, or personalized napkins. They also made my friends and family excited to try and persuade me to have a surprise dance number, a hanging lantern ceiling, and a sparkler send-off.
Now, I have NOTHING against any of these things, and it is very possible that one or all of these items fits into your big picture in a big way. But what I found was that it was really easy to get distracted from bigger projects, and focus instead on details that would simply be icing on the cake. Also, these little detail projects suck up a LOT of money. Had I done that paper crane chandelier I would have been out several hundred dollars and HOURS of time!
3. If you ask someone to do something, trust that they will do it well — don't project your insecurities onto their abilities
After delegating certain tasks to family and friends I was tempted to just do the job on my own anyways. I'd think, “I know that Lilian is bringing and setting up the appetizers during cocktail hour, but maybe I'll buy other appetizers and platters and plates and napkins JUST to make sure.” Those kind of thoughts were both unnecessary and untrusting of my friend. If you ask someone to do something, trust that they'll do it right and don't double-buy things they said they'd take care of.
4. Trust your instincts
It's your party, do what you want to, even if it means taking care of the details yourself. At most events I attend I am a coordinator. It's part of my job and a part of my personality. I KNEW that I would clash with a coordinator if I had hired one. So I coordinated my own wedding and I have no regrets that I did it. I saved a lot of money by trusting my instincts, and knowing what I was capable of.
I think throwing a budget wedding really comes down to deciding what is important to you, focusing on those things, and being confident in your decisions.
How are you saving money on your wedding? And what does “budget wedding” even mean these days?