When my husband and I were getting married, our initial budget – both for traditional and modern – was $10,000. (We lived in the US at the time.) To most people, our budget sounds like a lot of money but based on the average amount spent on weddings in the US, we were at least 20k off the mark. To make matters worse, we lived in the NYC area. If you have ever lived in NYC and its environs, you’d get my drift.
Despite our budget, we ended up spending a total of $7,000 out of pocket. Before our caterer for the day left, she hugged me and whispered in my ear ‘I have been to many weddings but yours was something out of a storybook.’
So how did it all come together? How did we have our dream New York wedding on a modest budget?
There are numerous expenses involved in a wedding. It is important to prioritise what you want to focus on. By doing this, you can decide what’s worth spending on. For instance, we decided from the get-go that having a videographer was not that important. What’s important for one person might not be for the other so work with your partner to agree on priorities.
Ask for help
From the moment we got engaged, we started asking for help. My wedding planner organised our event at no cost. Another friend did our cake. Another friend made my hair. Our churches pitched in. Sometimes help doesn’t have to be monetary although we got that too, you will be surprised how much you will save just by having hands on deck.
Once we realised our budget wouldn’t cater to an expensive wedding venue, I probably called up ten parks and recreation offices to ask if they had venues I could use for events. Our traditional wedding was held in the backyard of a friend’s humongous home. The rest of the festivities held at the beach in our town-at a fraction of the cost other wedding venues were quoting.
Get married on a weekday
The first time we went to check out the beach venue, the plan was to have a Friday evening wedding. Friday was cheaper than Saturday and gave guests an opportunity to start off their weekend right. After touring the venue, we found that the day we wanted was taken and only the Thursday before was available for another $500 discount. That’s how we ended up getting married on a Thursday! Venues are generally in less demand on weekdays and therefore cheaper. Also getting married on a weekday will help you achieve the next point.
Make your guests count
Getting married on a weekday means people might have to take a day off for your wedding. Anyone who is willing to give you some hours of their vacation time or hourly pay is exactly who you want at your wedding. That cousin I had not spoken to in ten years, however? Nope wasn’t getting an IV. We also requested that guests leave their kids at home. A reduced guest list meant reduced catering and venue costs. It was amazing.
Shop around for deals
Every woman dreams of her wedding and central to that wedding is the dress. The thing is you can find your dream dress anywhere: you just have to be willing to look in unconventional places. I once found a gorgeous wedding dress for $50 at Goodwill (America’s famous second-hand store)-sadly I wasn’t engaged at the time. I bought my own dress at David’s bridal for $200. Accessories in the store cost around $250 extra so I passed and went on Amazon and bought similar stuff for $50. From outfits to décor to even food, shop around before deciding.
You don’t need two days to get married
This one is for my Nigerian people getting married on Friday and Saturday. Can we be real, please? We had our customary wedding in the morning and Christian wedding rites in the evening of the same day. And no, it wasn’t tiring especially as both venues were nearby. Guests appreciated this as well as it meant taking less time off work and less hotel bills.
Time as they say na money. Save time and save money.