How To Pay For Your Wedding and Get Out of Debt

“Weddings are so expensive! Why don’t you just elope to save money?” If you haven’t heard a friend or family member say this yet, you are one of the lucky ones! I want to show you some tips and tricks of how to make your wedding more affordable along with what you SHOULD spend money on. This will help you with your budget for your wedding and keep you out of debt after your wedding!

A good starting point to keep in mind is that your guests will only remember two things from your wedding; what they ate and how good the music was. Even though these are very important, keep in mind, you don’t have to spend a fortune! I will let you in on a secret I have from my wedding. We used a culinary school in the area for our dinner at our wedding reception. Not only was this cheaper because these are students that are still learning but you also save on costs because it is a school rather than a banquet hall or professional chef. All I would say on top of that is that you should at least offer to write letters of recommendation for the students who cook for you to give to a potential employer.

Let’s not forget the alcohol. You do not need to spend an arm and a leg if you are providing your own. Go to the Canadian boarder and buy all the alcohol you need. As you are bringing it back, they want you to declare it. That is fine because you will then send the Duty Free store your receipt and in most cases, they will refund you! If this isn’t an option for you, find someone with a Costco or Sams Club membership and go with them to buy the large bottles. They are money savers! For more info on how much alcohol to buy for your wedding, visit my blog How much alcohol do you buy for a DIY wedding.

Another area in which you can save some money is your cake and flowers. For your wedding cake, make it simple! I hate to say it but you are likely to spend $600+ on an elaborate cake and nobody will remember it. We actually went with a small 2 tier cake to cut for the reception and everyone else ate a sheet cake. Nobody knew! We did, however, get complimented on how simple the cake was and that it didn’t take away from the rest of the wedding. Don’t forget the flowers though! Flowers can really add up fast! As the bride, you should be able to have whatever you want so go ahead and buy a real bouquet BUT for your bridesmaids and all of the groomsmen, get them fake flowers. Nobody will know the difference and they get to keep them as a keepsake after the wedding.

Some smaller areas in which you can save money are things like, party favors, décor, wedding party gifts, the DJ, and Invitations. For party favors, you don’t need them! Décor? Get in touch with your DIY self. Wedding party gifts? Get them one small thing. It was already a “gift” that you asked them to be part of your wedding! Sorry, not sorry. Invitations? Print them yourself and scrap the Save The Dates! Now, you may think I am crazy for telling you to save money on a DJ BUT hear me out. The DJ must be a crowd pleaser. You don’t want someone who is too shy to work the crowd but keep in mind, you are in control of the playlist, not them. If you know someone that DJs for fun, hire them! Send them a curated playlist on Spotify.

Now, let’s talk about the areas you should NOT cheap out in. A photographer! I know, I know, I am biased BUT I have facts to back me up. Usually if you go through an All-In-One company, you will be disappointed. Yes, they have bundle and save packages so in the end, you are saving money and who doesn’t want that? Keep in mind, these companies are so busy throughout the year and will never say no to a couple which means, they are willing to hire anybody to be a vendor with them; doesn’t matter their style or if they have quality equipment or if they work well with people. Speaking from personal experience, I went the All-In-One route and I regret it so much. Our photographer was not good at controlling the crowd and had NO ideas for photo. He made me, the bride, figure out posing! He also forgot important photos the day of such as photos of our rings, combined family photos and a photo with my grandparents. He also made promises he couldn’t keep. I was devastated when we got our photos back.

Another area in which you should just spend the money is your venues. Make sure the venue cares about you and your vision! You will know this based on your first time meeting with the planner. If they are questioning you or being unreasonable, leave! This is YOUR wedding. Keep in mind, this is an area where you may want to do the All-In-One. The more your reception venue offers, the better! Make sure chairs, tables, table cloths, silverware, plates, dance floor and bar are all included. This way you have less vendors to have to worry about in the end.

Having been through this process personally makes me want to help other brides have a stress-free wedding experience. You should not be in debt after your wedding. After your wedding, you should be planning things like your next house, your honeymoon and saving money for a bright future. I hope this info helps you on your wedding planning journey!