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How to Plan a Budget-Friendly Wedding

Tips and Tricks for Planning the Perfect Wedding Day Without Breaking the Bank.

So, you just got engaged and you are the happiest person in the world... cloud 9 is not high enough. But then, you start wedding planning. Say no more.

If the cost of living wasn't bad enough, the cost of planning a wedding is enough to not just break the bank, but enough to break your fiancés and parents banks too. For a lot of brides and grooms, their dream wedding seems impossible because it’s all about budgeting, but you don’t want to miss out on personalising your wedding. With thoughtful planning, it is possible to balance the two.

Here are some tips on how to plan a budget-friendly yet personalised wedding.

1. Start by Creating a Vision

Before you begin your wedding planning journey, enjoy this season of engagement. It won't be long until you are husband and wife. As you then start to actively plan your wedding, take some time to create a meaningful vision board or spider diagram for your wedding. Saving inspirational images on Pinterest for aesthetics is always great to look back on.

When envisioning the perfect day, decide what details are relevant and important to the two of you. Take into account any family traditions you may want to incorporate and leave out any elements that you don't care for.

2. Make a List of Must-Haves

Once you’ve decided on the vision, make a list of must-haves and things you would like to include. This list should include the core elements of your wedding and it should also include any special touches you’d like to have.

Is it important for you to pay for the bridesmaid dresses, or can they purchase their own? Have you always dreamt of a live band or are you happy with a playlist? Having the list of must haves in front of you makes it easier to budget on the less important elements.

3. Research Venues and Costs

Once you have your list of must-haves, it’s time to start researching venues and costs. Venues and dining take up the majority of the budget typically, but that doesn't have to be the case for you. It definitely was not the case for me.

Firstly, decide what kind of ceremony would you like. Do you want a church wedding or one in a religious building? Do you want to get married at the registry office with just the two of you? Do you want your ceremony and reception to be at the same venue? This will help you narrow down your options. If you aren't too bothered about your ceremony, just keep that open mind.

There are so many venues you could utilise, no matter which city you're from. Country clubs, hotels, Church halls, community halls, barns, gardens, function rooms, studios, restaurants, pubs and even AirBnB's. Bear in mind, not all of these venues will be registered to host a ceremony so you may need to go to the registry office before hand to make it official.

This is where the budgeting part comes into play and you’ll want to make sure you’re sticking to your budget. If you’re flexible with dates, look for venues that offer off-season discounts or weekday discounts. This can be a great way to save money and still get the venue of your dreams. And if you are on a really tight budget, don't rule out simple hall spaces such as church/community halls. They look very simple but it's amazing what a little decoration can do.

4. Set an Appropriate Guest List

The size of your guest list will affect the cost of the wedding greatly, so it’s important to set an appropriate guest list. If you want an intimate wedding, don’t over-invite, make sure you only invite those closest to you. If like us, you come from a big families and it's almost unheard of to have a 'small' wedding, there is still a way to keep your budget in check.

What you need to take into account is, the larger the guest list:

a. The more mouths you have to feed

b. The more drinks you need to buy

c. The more tableware and tables you need

d. The move favours you need

e. The more wedding cake you'll need

This sounds like a lot (which it is), but just know that the budget would need to adjust slightly. Maybe have an open bar for people to buy their own drinks, or a buffet style meal instead of a 3 course wedding breakfast. Think of buying tray bakes to serve to the guests rather than trying to cut your delicate cake into 300 pieces.

This will not only help keep your budget in check, but it will also keep everyone happy.

5. Prioritise

Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to prioritise. Decide what is most important to you on the day and to what standard. Is it having a professional videographer? Or perhaps those fresh white roses? Figure out what is most important to the two of you, and prioritise those into your budget.

This definitely helps you see what isn't a priority and you can fake it to make it. For example, if you know that fresh flowers aren't a priority, you will be able to consider and budget for fake flowers. Significantly cheaper! And if you don't care for a videographer, you can look at maybe hiring a film/video production student or amateur videographer to film your day. Or better still, you may only need to budget for a photographer!

6. Do It Yourself or Do It Through Friends

DIY is not only fun but it can be a great way to save money and put a personal touch on your wedding day. From creating your own centrepieces to the floral arrangements, there are endless possibilities for DIY projects to add your own personal style to your day.

And think of all your super talented friends who are willing to chip in however they can. Maybe you have a friend who is a makeup artist? Could they do the bridal party makeup and hair? Or you have a relative who has just set up their cake business, would they be willing to make your wedding cake? Think outside the box. They are most likely willing to give you a discount or some may even do it for free.

Side note: DIY doesn't mean things will be free! There is still a cost involved so make sure to compare before you commit. I thought it would be cheaper to make my own chair sashes and table runners, but really, the fabric ended up costing the same price and it took up weeks of my time. In the end, it would have been cheaper and less hassle to just purchase or rent the sashes. So weigh up the pros and cons!

7. Reuse and Recycle

If you’re looking for even more ways to save, reuse and recycle where you can! Ask family and friends if they have any decorations or items that you can reuse. Odds are, someone has jars or vases that would make great centrepieces. Or take a look at second hand stores and see what you can find. But make sure you take the time to look at the items carefully – you don’t want to buy anything damaged or worn down.

8. Consider a Less Traditional Route

If you’re determined to stick to your budget, it might be worth considering a less traditional route. An elopement, destination wedding or a relaxed, backyard wedding can all be budget-friendly options if you’re not looking for a grand or expensive wedding. At the end of the day, as long as you are happily married, that's all that matters. Odds are you won't remember the list of names you had to cut off to fit your venue, and you guests won't care if your wedding is in a mansion or in a barn!

With some thoughtful planning, you can still create your dream wedding day – without breaking the bank. Planning a budget-friendly yet personalised wedding requires you to create a meaningful vision and come up with creative and unique ideas to add a special touch. It won’t be easy, but with the right planning and budgeting, it is definitely doable.

Creative Banter Art can help you create customised, personalised and affordable stationery that matches the theme and feel of your wedding without breaking the bank. Both physical and digital options are available. Visit our website to learn more about how we can help you create the perfect wedding stationery.

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