The days of giant lavish weddings are giving way to economically-conscious couples that want a beautiful ceremony with a sustainable and affordable price tag. Even still, the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. was estimated at $38,700, according to WeddingWire’s 2019 Newlywed Report. Though couples, especially those with a military budget, simply aren’t interested in shelling out the equivalent of a house down payment for their nuptials. Rest assured, you can have the wedding of your dreams without going into debt.
Planning a beautiful and classy event without breaking the bank is doable, Gabbrielle Steele, a Jacksonville, Florida-based wedding and event planner, says. However, concise planning is in order to prevent unexpected costs. She offers expert advice for military couples who want to mark their nuptials without extreme expenses.
Identify your priorities
First and foremost, sit down with your fiancé and identify which aspects of your wedding are most important for each of you. “Once you’ve identified your priorities, you will have clarity on what items to invest in as well as where you can consider D.I.Y. options to save money,“ Steele, a Navy spouse, said.
Hire a wedding planner
One of the surefire ways to stick within your event budget is to hire a wedding planner. “A professional can guide you to keep your budget on track and be on the lookout for unforeseen situations that can impact not only your budget, but your wedding day events as well,” Steele explained. It may seem counterintuitive to allocate some of your precious wedding budget dollars to hire a professional wedding planner, but they come with years of experience and lessons learned.
Consider an off-season wedding date
“A lot of venues and vendors have a peak season when costs are higher and demand is greater in the spring and summer,” Steele noted. “Having a fall or winter wedding can be cheaper and easier to book and may be an easy way to save money without sacrificing anything else.”
Reign in your guest list
The size of your guest list is correlated to your overall wedding expense. Keep your event as cost efficient as possible by keeping your guest list small. “Make sure the people that you are inviting are the people that you are closest to, that support you and your spouse and your relationship,” Steele suggests.
Streamlining your wedding planning with an event website and online RSVP process will save you both time and money. “Guests that do not RSVP or do but do not show up is one of the top areas that can cost you a lot of money since many venues are charging per person for guests,” Steele explains. “Wedding websites with automated functionality make it easy for guests to get wedding information and RSVP.”
Invest in a good photographer
There are lots of areas where you can D.I.Y. and get creative but unless you know a professional photographer this is one area not to scrimp. “Twenty years from now you will show your pictures to your grandkids and those are the only tangible memories that you are going to have from your wedding,” Steele said. “My number one piece of advice to people is to invest in a great photographer. You will never regret that decision.”
You can stretch wedding dollars by utilizing resources and playing with creativity. Unique venues are memorable and don’t always require a high cost, especially if you’re opting for a location that holds meaning. Most importantly, remember your guests are there to support you and your fiancé on your big day, so keep your vision of this once-in-a-lifetime celebration as the focal point of your planning.
Keep up with Steele’s event creations and tips at https://www.instagram.com/alabamaweddingplanner/Read comments