How to Save on Wedding Costs
Ways To Save on the Wedding Costs
There has been a reset of expectations and norms in the wedding industry. With that come some positive and negative things. For couples one positive is that it is more socially acceptable and common place to cut back on the wedding. For some this is a thing of practicality and others a thing of necessity. How do you go from all the must do type things to still having a beautiful wedding for less?
Top Cost Variables:
People ask us from time to time if we do destination weddings. There is this desire to say that technically all of our weddings are destination weddings – just in our backyard. Colorado is one of those place people come to as it is often a direct flight with amazing landscape. Location can be the country, state, but also the specific property you are on. The further you travel for the majority of people the more you will save. We have found people love Colorado as it inspires a family vacation for guests.
The far largest cost saving in this factor is the venue chosen. The more formal and used a venue is for a wedding the more expensive it will become. From this trickles down all of these additional costs such as the setup, a bar, and potentially nearby lodging. We have heard from time to time how the surface costs look to be X but then when couples dig deeper they see them add up. A key determining factor on if it will be a venue where you can save cost is if you can invite your own Mr. Alcohol.
This is both a day of the week and season of the year. In Colorado if you want a Saturday wedding between May and October then you are seeking a peak wedding date. This varies by the location but you will have a premium cost for a premium date. We were married on a Monday in a history museum many years ago and it was a huge cost savings – about half. With the date comes a bit of strategy. Thursday and Mondays are the dates people use to avoid the weekend Friday, Saturday, Sunday but still not isolate guests. If you want few people to come from out of town Tuesday and Wednesdays can work. Holiday weekends are crazy popular in this regard cause it opens up a lot of cost saving dates that couples can get people to attend.
The less people the less mouths to feed and hydrate. Did we just imply that beer and wine is hydration – yes. Formal plated meals for a couple hundred guests will add up. We find that there is that level with this 25-150 guest count level of less formal catering delivery or food truck style of meal. Below 25 guests we find people often have switched back to the plated meal style with a room rented out in a restaurant. That is not really a cost saving idea but it will all for really good food with your immediate family and close friends.
The lower the guest count the less that will be occurring simultaneously. From this we find that when your photographer is an actual professional you can be quite safe in the 1 photographer realm. We go into some ways on how to determine if they are a hobbyist, enthusiast, or an actual professional in another article. Assuming they are a professional you will be fine with one under a 150 guest count. In finding someone note that of the 1040 “wedding photographers” we found in our market with a free listing on a wedding site that about 90% had between 0-10 reviews. Most photographers are not professional so you might be overpaying for someone faking it.
There is something that comes with the less amount of guest the less formal you feel you need to become. Do you really need 16+ printed cards for invitations, save the dates, placards at tables? You could say ‘come to my wedding’ digitally, say sit where you want, and a myriad of other things to cut back on formality. We have seen backyard weddings and weddings at camps have more class than weddings at venues so it’s all about practicality. Make the day your own.
Flowers are a common litmus test of the formality. We love flowers but have seen people do a lot with alternative decor. You may have someone tell you that you need X flower on everyone but you can be perfectly fine without it. At times we have been surprised to find that even a brides bouquet is paper. The surprise was because that we could not tell at a distance.
Balance to Cost Savings and Savings Impact
This is really a topic of traditional vs non traditional at its core. If you are going to go non traditional in your style then it is best to not apply traditional cost structures. Another way of saying this is do not listen to the wedding magazines that tell you X% to allocate for X vendor. There is a difference between goods and services. Goods have a fixed cost to them and services have a core aspect of labor to profit margin.
The balance is that if you focus too much on cost savings you will have a savings impact. For example, you go from using a venue that costs 30k to one that is 3k you will have issues going 10% in all categories. Food might have been $40 a person and something you can get at $20 but not $4. Services are delivered either on a flat fee or most often a duration of time. If you were planning to go from 3k of a wedding photography budget to $300 it just would not be possible. Service rates can be cut when the type of service changes not the duration of service. Applied to wedding photography, the smaller the wedding the more work it is in a lesser amount of time. Time to service is not always linear is what we are saying. If anything under certain vendors like photography the cost might actually be more per hour than if you had a full wedding day.