So, it’s finally happening. You are now engaged.
Now the fun part, getting ready for your big day. You have to plan everything from decor, to picking out a dress or tuxedo, to where to go for your honeymoon. All of that costs money and lots of it. If you’re doing this and you’re not exactly rolling in dough, here are some helpful tips on how to make your big day amazing.
When it comes to the reception, you want yourself and your guests to not only remember the ceremony, but also what came after, like the dancing and the food. Location of the venue can be a problem especially since most spots book early and cost a lot of money. Some venues are booked two plus years in advance and could rack up anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 or more. So where can you get the most bang for your buck?
- Check out local Veterans of Foreign Wars halls, better known as VFW halls or small banquet rooms at restaurants and hotels. Depending on how many people will be at the wedding, you shouldn’t have to shell out a lot of cash for a huge room that you will only use half of. VFWs could even cost under $1,000, and you might not have to book super early either.
- Public parks are a good spot for an outdoor reception, depending on the season. They make great spots for beautiful photos, but every city has different rules. Check with your parks and recreation department to learn any details about reserving space for an event.
- One spot that shouldn’t cost you a dime? Your own backyard. Throwing a party can be very simple as long as you have enough room and follow any noise ordinance laws. You can always rent a dance floor, tent and DJ equipment.
ENTERTAINMENT AND PHOTOGRAPHY/VIDEOGRAPHY
When it comes to dancing and recording the memories of your special day, you’ll find out early that those memories come with a price tag. Wedding photography packages cost on average $3,000 or more. Hiring a DJ for announcements and music can run around the same price, depending on where you live. Here are some wallet-friendly choices.
- For music, rent a microphone or buy an inexpensive one from Amazon. This goes for speakers as well. Have someone bring a laptop and with Spotify, Pandora or YouTube, you have a dance party available anytime, and have a groomsman be the DJ.
- For photo and video, include your friends and family by having them record your big day. Let them know in advance exactly what you want recorded or photographed, so there are no misunderstandings. Even better, get the guests involved by leaving film cameras on each table and have the guests take a few pictures. Then have the film developed while you’re away on your honeymoon. When you return, it will be great to see what candid shots were taken.
OUTFITS, ACCESSORIES, MAKEUP, AND HAIR
Looking great on your wedding day doesn’t have to break the bank. You can look like a goddess with very little. First determine what you want your dream dress to look like: the cut, the length, the style and the material are all key factors. Then figure out how much you are willing to spend before alterations, because there are almost always alterations that will need to be made.
Once you know your measurements, make sure you go a size bigger. Dresses are usually easier to take in than they are to let out. Below are some good, legit sites that can make your dream dress a reality. Not to mention accessories, because here is the truth ladies and gentlemen, a brand new dress without accessories can cost upwards of $1,500 and most extras cost well over $100 a piece.
- David’s Bridal: Wedding Dresses, Bridesmaids & Prom Gowns
- Amazon.com. Spend less. Smile more.
- Lulus: Cute Dresses, Tops, Shoes, Jewelry & Clothing for Women
- Torrid | Plus Size Fashion & Trendy Plus Size Clothing
- Azazie: Bridesmaid Dresses & Wedding Dresses
- Wish – Shopping Made Fun Be careful with this site, as their sizing runs small sometimes.
Consider going second-hand as well, or wear your mother’s wedding dress if she still has it.
- eBay: Electronics, Cars, Fashion, Collectibles & More
- Etsy – Shop for handmade, vintage, custom, and unique gifts for … You can get great prices on veils, headbands and gifts for the wedding at an affordable price.
For makeup and hair, go to Ulta or your local hair salon. Shop around, compare prices and service reviews. Even better, have your bridesmaid or maid of honor do your hair and makeup.
CATERING/CAKE AND EXTRAS
When it comes to feeding a large crowd, catering is most people’s first thought. Feeding the entire guest list, plus the wedding party might be something your wallet cannot handle, not to mention giving everyone in attendance a treat. When it comes to large crowds, here’s what to do.
- Party platters. Stock up on those, or make your own platter with fresh ingredients.
- Depending on what time of year your wedding is, barbeque style food is a great option to serve. Hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken, with various salads and cookies.
- For the cake, Walmart and Sam’s Club do serve wedding cakes at a great price. Have the cake for your party and sheet cake, with the same flavor, for your guests.
- For cutlery, go cheap. Why spend dollars on something that’s going to be tossed away anyway? Go to your local dollar store and stock up or spend a few extra bucks and go to Party City: Online Party Store with over 850 Store Locations.
HONEYMOON AND TRAVEL EXPENSES
To save the best for last, the trip you go on to celebrate with your new spouse. However your destination and the length of your trip doesn’t have to break the bank.
- Plan in advance. Some destinations can be cheaper and have better weather than others at specific times of the year. This includes what days you would choose to fly. Postponing your trip even a month or two can really help.
- Also look for vacation packages. Some places offer you special deals if you stay for a certain period of time. Some hotels might even offer free items if you mention that it’s your honeymoon.
- Another way to bundle is Expedia Travel: Vacation Homes, Hotels, Car Rentals, Flights & More.
- If you don’t want to stress over booking a trip yourself and hoping you got the best deal, see a travel agent. They can help you get amazing deals and take the stress away.
The bottom line is, your wedding day should be the best day of your life, so take advantage of every budget friendly opportunity that you can. Splurge on the honeymoon. Make everyone jealous that way, because even if you served everyone hot dogs with paper plates, you are going to Hawaii.