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Staying on a budget after the "YES!": Part II

Date posted:  3/23/16 09:00:00 AM

When it comes to celebrating the union of two people in love, money is important, but shouldn’t be the focus of the event. However, with the average wedding costing more than $30,000, budgeting has become essential for couples everywhere.

Saving money on your wedding means you’ll have more income to use toward starting a life together. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median selling price of a home in December 2015 was $288,900, which means the average cost of a wedding would provide a healthy down payment on a new property.

Budgeting doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice a memorable day. Follow these tips when planning your wedding to ensure you make the most cost-effective decisions:

Determine what is important

One of the first things you and your fiancée should do is to prioritize what is most important to you both on your special day, suggested Bankrate. Knowing from the start what you want out of your wedding makes planning and budgeting easier.

“This will help to determine where to go all out, and where it's fair game to cut corners,” said Kathleen Kennedy, an event planner, chef and stylist, according to Bankrate. “For instance, if it is important to you that the wedding and reception be held at the restaurant where you had your first date or you know you must have a specific designer gown or a certain DJ that you really like; then you can fit that into your budget and decide to save money in other areas.”

A good way to approach this task is to sit down with your future husband or wife and create a list separately of what aspects are most and least important to you. After completing this, compare your lists. If you both have guests as one of the most important components to your day and the venue as the least important, you can adjust your budget to reflect this.

Consider digital invitations

Technology influences our society a great deal. More individuals are on smart phones than ever before and the rise of the Internet makes connecting with loved ones easier than it’s ever been. Brides, a publication for wedding planners, suggested sending digital invites. Hire a graphic artist who can create a customized digital design for a beautiful yet affordable invitation.

For guests who might not appreciate or see a digital invite, such as grandparents, send a hard copy of the design to their homes.

Keep your guest list small

While it might be tempting to invite everyone you know to celebrate your marriage to the love of your life, it isn’t the most responsible financial decision. Reducing your guest list can be one of the most cost-effective ways to save money on your big day. The more people you invite, the larger the venue you will need and the more food and drink you will need to provide for your guests.

“Don’t invite more guests than you can spend one minute of time with,” suggested Rev. Roger Coleman of Clergy Services Inc., according to Bankrate. “If you invite 300 guests, spending one minute with each would take over five hours.”

Food options to consider

There are many options when it comes to the food you serve at your wedding. From a formally plated and served meal to a buffet, the price and ritzy nature of the food depends a great deal on your preferences. If the food is more important to you and your future husband or wife, invest in a fancier, plated meal and cut down on the costs of another component of the wedding. However, if you aren’t as concerned with the food, consider a less-expensive option like a buffet or heavy hors d’oeovres.

Be respectful of time

Long gaps between the ceremony and reception can annoy guests and wind up costing you money. Since professional photographers and musicians typically charge for the extra time, scheduling your day with time in mind can help you stay within your budget.

In addition, you may want to book a photographer for only a few hours at a time, suggested Bridal Guide. Determine if you really want photographs capturing every moment from getting ready to the last relative on the dance floor.

“Schedule toasts, the cake cutting and bouquet toss for soon after dinner, so the photographer can capture those moments and leave,” said Jody Zorn of Zorn Photography, according to Bridal Guide.

Paying for a wedding can be a substantial expense. However, it doesn’t always have to be. By trimming certain aspects of your wedding that aren’t as important to you, you’ll have money for what truly matters at the end of the day.