magazine | Weddings | Tips + Advice

10 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding Without Breaking the Bank

No matter the budget, organizing the finances of a wedding is not the most fun task – but a crucial one to achieving fun. Almost all couples have some form of stress about paying for a wedding – not enough for what you want or perhaps you don’t want to look like you’ve spent too much. Whatever the reason, whatever the bottom line, budgeting for your big day is an important part of the process to ensure wedding day success. So arm yourself with information, create a budget and do your best to stick with it, no matter the size. We asked the experts for their best advice foplanning a wedding without any financial hiccups along the way and here are their wedding budgeting tips to live by.

Plan ahead, get realistic about your finances, stick to the budget and be willing to get a little flexible and the business of planning your wedding will be a breeze! Then the real fun can begin.

Reporter: Harmony Walton
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Earmark Your Venue Costs

"When budgeting your wedding, plan for at least half (or more) of your budget to go to the food, beverage and venue costs. It’s important not to overspend here or you’ll run out of funds for the decor and other vendors. It’s also important to know that this is your biggest expense, so plan accordingly because without a spectacular venue with great food and drink, the party won’t last as long as you’d like. At Caribbean Club, we charge a site fee and contract out the food and beverage to Luca, our in-house restaurant, which is among the top in the Caribbean, so clients know that the food costs might be a little higher than some other venues, but the experience is unparalleled. You get what you pay for when it comes to quality and planning a wedding." - Danielle Wolfe, Caribbean Club
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Flexibility Can Mean Cost Cutting

"You may be wondering, are there any tricks or ways to negotiate rental space fees? Absolutely. Take it from someone who has worked on the venue side, I can assure you there are ways around paying full price for rental, but that all depends on your flexibility. Realistically, if you want a Saturday May-November wedding and you are booking over six months out, there isn’t much wiggle room; these are the most in demand dates and venues have no financial gain in dolling out discounts. However, Fridays and Sundays are less in demand and therefore more cost efficient. Additionally, venues are more malleable closer to the desired date. If they haven’t sold the space 1-3 months out, they might be more willing to negotiate on rental price." - Morgan Jefferies, Amber Events
Photo: Oana Foto
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Meet the Minimums

"Most venues and/or catering services have what’s known as a food and beverage minimum. In layman’s terms, this is a minimum set amount you have to spend on food and beverages. You can surpass the F&B minimum, but if you do not meet it, that money goes to waste. If there is a concern the minimum won’t be met, work with your venue or catering company to supplement the menu with additional appetizers, desserts, or a premium bar so there is no financial loss incurred. Some venues may allow you to provide your own alcohol, with or without a corkage fee. In this case, it’s time to pull out the calculator, this may help you to avoid markup fees and save hundreds." - Morgan Jefferies, Amber Events
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Prioritize Your Spending

"When coming up with your wedding budget, talk to your fiancé about the three primary areas you both prioritize for spending for your wedding day. Narrow these as much as you can and get specific about your dreams in these areas. Knowing your priorities within you budget gives you educated spending power and helps clarify the motivation before a purchase. Allow freedom and flexibility with your funds for these three specific priorities and simplify other aspects so you can still celebrate the day of your dreams without blowing your budget." - Alise Davis, Olive Willow Designs
Photo: Sarah Ingram
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Be Honest About the Budget

"I love working with a budget. No matter if it’s a $60K wedding or a $2M wedding, having a budget will help keep the wedding priorities on track and eliminate thoughtless spending. If you hire a professional wedding planner, don’t hold back on sharing your budget with your planner. A planner will be able to create a road map to help you hit your budget objectives. Not sharing a budget makes planning much more complicated and time consuming. An experienced planner will strategically show you wedding items within your budget in order to avoid frustration and disappointment by seeing product not available in your budget." – Suzanne Reinhard Events
Photo: Ross Harvy
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At Home Isn’t Always More Affordable

"Think twice before having a wedding at home. Many couples think that a wedding in their home is less expensive. On the contrary, it is approximately 30% more expensive because we usually need to build a structure and bathrooms to accommodate dinner and dancing for all the guests. Add in the costs of lighting and sound cabling, generators, security during set up, and so on, and a wedding at-home can be very costly. It certainly is very heartfelt and emotional to have a wedding at a symbolic place that means a lot to you but understand the budget differences before making this decision. It will typically be much more costly than in a hotel or event venue with rentals and catering included." – Alejandra Poupel, Alejandra Poupel Events
Photo: Ross Harvy
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Keep Track of the Big (and Small) Stuff

"I encourage our clients to spend the money on what they feel is important. When we create a budget simulation we make sure to account for all the categories, even the ones couples forget such as event staff meals. Then, once we have all the categories in place (big and small), they can see the full scope of event costs and choose to spend more on those that they feel are more important to them. It’s about prioritizing a budget, regardless of the size. For example, for our Lebanese clients, the cake is very important so we allot a bigger budget than we would typically for other couples unless it’s something they specifically ask for. For different clients, the bands and entertainment are the focal point so we invest more in live music. It just depends on you!" – Alejandra Poupel, Alejandra Poupel Events
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Consider the Season

"Once you have your venue and date determined, it's time to think about florals! Floral design studios book anywhere from 12 months to 6 weeks in advance. Decide how important flowers are to the overall look and feel of your big day. Look for inspiration, color schemes and styles to determine the right floral team for you. Not sure about flower types or what's in season? That's totally okay as your floral experts are here to help. For budget, luxury blooms such as peonies, orchids, or lily of the valley will be more pricey than seasonal options, but be sure to communicate your vision as your floral team can guide you with the design decisions based on your budget." – Tam Ashworth, Isari Flower Studio + Event Design
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Save With Size

"Guest count can be a major factor in determining your budget. Today we are averaging about $120-$150 per person (rental space, food and beverage included). The number of attendees will inevitably move the cost pendulum in all facets, including but not limited to: venue, food, beverage, rentals, invitations, floral arrangements, number of vendors and party favors. Contrary to popular belief, it is not considered poor etiquette to not extend a plus one to every guest or to have an adults-only celebration. These are just a few of the many tips to navigate the 'big three' of your wedding budget." - Morgan Jefferies, Amber Events
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Invest in the Pros

"At the end of the day, it's important to stay true to who you are as a couple and realistic with what you can afford. Whether your budget is $20,000 or $200,000, you can have a spectacular event, it’s all about breaking down the most important aspects. Seeking guidance from those with experience, such as a wedding planner, can greatly help you to do this. We see too many couples and families feud during the planning process over cost, sometimes even go into debt; we try to help you avoid that at all cost and ensure this remains the most magical experience of your life!" - Morgan Jefferies, Amber Events

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