How to Control the Cost of Your Wedding

Have a stylish wedding on a budget

By Jonathan Croswell

Beautiful Bride with Roses
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The high cost of weddings forces many couples to establish a budget at the start of wedding planning. It can be a hassle to get what you want while keeping under budget, and fees charged by many wedding vendors can make costs jump considerably when the post-wedding bills come in. You can keep control of costs by knowing the options available to you and keeping a sharp eye on the bills--and your vendors.

  • What You Need to Know
  • Meet with all vendors prior to signing contracts or reaching agreements and ask them what the "door" cost will be. This is different than the quote they will give you in preliminary meetings, which will leave out several hidden charges that you will be hit with after the wedding.
  • The door cost is the total amount you will be charged, including all fees. Almost all vendors have hidden fees, usually accounting for setup and cleanup fees, but the most common ones are caterers, videographers and photographers.
  • See if you can find alternatives to renting items and equipment.

Step 1:

Do not give single guests the option of bringing a date. You have no control over how many people will get invited this way, and extra additions to the guest list will add up quickly. Some guests may not like it, but it's your wedding and your bill, and there's no etiquette rules stipulating they be allowed to bring guests.

Step 2:

Avoid renting when you can, especially on smaller items such as water pitchers, that are often overpriced and can add up quickly. Seek out other ways to obtain the items necessary, whether you are borrowing from friends or even purchasing -- in many cases, buying items can be cheaper than renting, particularly if you put them up for resale afterward.

Step 3:

Talk to friends and family who have already put on weddings and ask if they have any items that you could reuse. This includes big ticket items, like a wedding gown, as well as smaller purchases, such as vases.

Step 4:

Consider making your own centerpieces and decorations. Even if you do not have experience in these areas, you can put together simple displays that look nice and will cost much less.

Step 5:

Limit the alcohol you will pay for. An open bar will cost you loads of money. Choose a cash bar, or purchase your own alcohol to keep bar costs low.

Step 6:

Keep cost multiplication in mind. Doling out an extra $2 or $3 per person seems insignificant, but when your guest list is 200 people long, this could quickly add $400 to 600 to your bill.

  • Tips & Warnings
  • Keep a close eye on your budget. If you're working with a wedding planner, make sure you know exactly how much he is spending at all times.
  • Consider having the wedding and reception at your house, or a family member's house, instead of renting a venue.
  • Consider having a very small ceremony and reception, for close friends and family only. You can celebrate with other friends at a bar or restaurant another time.

About the Author

Jonathan Croswell is a freelance writer who has worked on regional wedding publications.

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Planning Reminder:

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Do the budget boogaloo

Figure out if one set of parents would like to cover, say, the rehearsal dinner, and another will foot the bill for the band, booze and food. You and your betrothed will need to cover the rest. Or, if you're covering the whole shebang, get ready for some finance finessing.

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