Inexpensive wedding ideas do not necessarily have to include tacky hand-me-downs and homemade decorations covered in elbow macaroni and glitter. No matter what your wedding budget, you can find many inexpensive wedding ideas that will look great and fool your guests into thinking you spent a fortune. All it takes is some creative legwork, and a proper amount of budgeting and planning.
Your wedding budget, regardless of its size or dollar amount, will break down into some predictable categories. Take a look at this list to make sure you are spending your money in the right proportions:
- Reception Food and Drink – 50%
- Bride’s Attire – 10%
- Photogrophay / Videography – 10%
- Music – 10%
- Flowers – 10%
- Invitations and Postage – 4%
- Miscellaneous / Other – 6%
Even though invitations will make up a fairly small percentage of your overall wedding budget, it is still worth looking into options to reduce their cost. Everyone loves professionally designed and printed wedding invitations, but your list of inexpensive wedding ideas should include at least looking into some do it yourself options. These days it is remarkable what can be done with the creative use of fine stationery and a color printer. There are even software packages available now, for a very low cost, that will allow you to custom design your own wedding invitations using your home computer.
Inexpensive wedding ideas for entertainment can range from small savings, such as getting a professional DJ instead of a live band, to penny pincher ideas like bringing your stereo and an ipod loaded with your favorite tracks in a playlist. Obviously the most expensive option is live musicians. A formal wedding and reception, if it follows traditional etiquette and wedding protocol, will have live musicians playing a variety of songs. However, if you are on a tight budget then there is a good chance that you will not be hosting a formal event. The next step down is a professional DJ, who will bring his own sound equipment and a variety of popular wedding music that will suit a wide range of tastes, interests, and age groups.
If you are a serious audiophile on a serious budget, you may have access to a large collection of music of your own. It may not be the traditional way, but it costs you literally nothing to bring a portable digital music player to the reception site. Spend some time building a proper wedding playlist, with selections for the bride and groom’s first dance, the father/daughter dance, dinner time, and the regular party dance music. Do it right and some guests may not even notice!
Food, because it is such a large part of the wedding budget, is a great place to consider inexpensive wedding ideas. Once again, unless you are hosting a super formal event, there is no absolute requirement for providing a sit-down meal. Sit down service requires more wait staff and will typically be more expensive per plate than alternatives such as a buffet or simply appetizers and cocktails.
If you have a small budget for food and need inexpensive wedding ideas for feeding your guests, compensate by adding a fun theme to the reception. Many people use festive themes such as Hawaii, Luau, or Mexican Fiesta to spice up their receptions and entertain their guests. People will enjoy the fun atmosphere and inspired décor so much that they won’t even notice the absence of jacketed waiters and crystal wine glasses.
Inexpensive wedding ideas do not have to cut short the fun and elegance of the event. If you spend a little time planning and researching, and are willing to do a little extra work in preparation there are many ways to host a beautiful and traditional wedding with all of the trimmings. A wedding should not put the new couple in financial distress, after all the start of a new life together should be filled with hope and joy, not worry and anxiety. When you sit down to plan your wedding, start with a realistic budget using the percentages and categories listed above. This will give you realistic expectations up front and show you the best places to look for ways to cut your costs.