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Dear Birdy: How do I have my dream wedding without breaking the bank?

Dear Birdy,

I’m writing because while I am so excited to marry my husband, the wedding has put us in a difficult place, financially. Both of our families want us to have a big wedding and in doing so, they have both offered to contribute 5k (so 10k total). While we are eternally grateful, it’s still not enough for the amount of people they want there. We both have big families so the wedding will probably be about 200 guests total. My question is, how can we have our dream wedding without breaking the bank?


Money Troubles 

Dear Money Troubles,

First of all, congratulations on your upcoming wedding! Finding someone to spend the rest of your life with is no easy feat - of course you want to celebrate! We know how much of a spectacle weddings have become, between the flowers, cake, music and venue, weddings can cost as much as a down payment on a house.

And while finding everlasting love is worthy of a fabulous celebration, we don’t want you to put your life in financial ruin in doing so. Below, we’ve compiled a list of simple yet impactful ways to help save some coins during your big day.

Set a Realistic Budget

Start by determining how much you can afford to spend on your wedding. Be honest with yourselves about what you can comfortably afford without going into debt. Once you have a budget in mind, stick to it as closely as possible throughout the planning process.

Prioritize Your Expenses

Think about the parts of your wedding that are most important to you and allocate a larger portion of your budget to those areas. Whether it's the venue, photography, or music, focusing on your priorities will ensure you get the most bang for your buck where it matters most.

Choose the Right Venue

The venue can be one of the most hefty expenses for a wedding. Consider non-traditional venues such as parks, beaches, or even a friend's backyard, which can be more affordable than traditional event spaces. Also, look for venues that offer all-inclusive packages. They may be more cost-effective than piecing together separate vendors!

Trim Your Guest List

I know you said you and your fiance both have large families but is there any way you can trim the guest list here? One of the most effective ways to save money is by limiting the number of guests. Each additional guest means extra costs for food, drinks, and invitations. Keep your guest list small and intimate by inviting only close family and friends.

DIY Decor and Details

Get creative and make your own decorations, centerpieces, and favors. DIY projects not only add a personal touch to your wedding but also help save money. Enlist the help of friends and family to assist with crafting, and you'll have fun while cutting costs (hey, they owe you).

Opt for Off-Peak Times and Days

Choosing to have your wedding on a weekday or during the off-peak season can result in serious savings. Venues and vendors often offer lower rates during these times, and you may have more negotiating power to secure discounts. Score. 

Simplify Your Menu

Instead of a multi-course plated dinner, consider alternative catering options such as buffets, food trucks, or family-style meals. It’s budget-friendly but still memorable! 

Negotiate with Vendors

Don't be afraid to negotiate with vendors to get the best possible prices. Many vendors are willing to work within your budget or offer discounts, especially if you're flexible or book during their slower periods.

Keep Invitations Simple

Instead of elaborate, custom-designed invitations, opt for simpler designs or consider digital invitations, which are not only eco-friendly but also cost-effective.

Plan Ahead

Finally, start planning early to take advantage of early booking discounts and to avoid last-minute rush fees. By giving yourself plenty of time, you'll have more options available and be able to make informed decisions without feeling pressured.

Remember, your wedding day is about celebrating your love and commitment, not about spending a fortune. A wedding marks the beginning of the rest of your lives together, so start that life off on the right foot, not a stressed one.