The budget can make or break a wedding, but these wedding budget tips can save the day!
Having the budget and overspending conversation with your clients is often a difficult one. While a couple may budget a certain amount for their wedding, they usually spend more.
On average, wedding budgets in 2020 increased from $23,000 to $30,000 due to overspending and unforeseen costs. As the wedding planner, it’s up to you to make magic happen—on a budget.
How to Talk to Your Clients About the Wedding Budget
It is essential to have a detailed meeting with your clients regarding wedding budget considerations. Set out the budget priorities, nice-to-haves, and negotiables.
Ensure all parties involved in the wedding planning have their budget vision aligned, to avoid miscommunications and overspending mishaps.
As the wedding planner, your responsibilities are to manage the client’s budget expectations, help them understand their budget limitations, and tactfully handle all budget topics.
Sometimes, when your client says they want something in their wedding budget, the way they communicate gives you a better indication of what they really want compared to what they say.
15 Wedding Budget Tips
Budget tips are hacks that can really help you stretch each dime and learn how to save money on a wedding.
To get the most out of the budget, whether it’s a large or a shoe-string budget, give these tips a try and achieve wedding planning success.
1. Use a Public or Non-Traditional Venue
One of the biggest budget-eating items is the wedding venue.
While your client may want a fancy private wedding venue, this may be outside their budget.
It’s a great idea to find non-traditional alternatives for wedding ideas. Hosting a wedding reception and ceremony at a public venue such as a park, historic site, or at the beach can really help you shave thousands of dollars off the budget.
Be sure to check on the availability and regulations of a public or non-traditional wedding venue before you pitch the idea to your couple.
Also factor in the cost of restrooms, transport for catering, and other rental requirements such as pop-up tents and marquees.
2. Cut Down the Guest List
Remind your clients that each wedding guest increases the budget spent exponentially.
The cost per guest is not only the price of their meal. Instead, inviting more guests drastically increases the venue charge, decoration requirements, and additional support staff fees.
Help your couple streamline the guest list. Encourage them to invite people who actually feature in their lives. That distant uncle from Utah they haven’t seen in 10 years may not be a required guest.
3. Save Trees and Go Electronic
Wedding invitations are traditionally a first glimpse of what to expect at the wedding reception.
The reality is, though, that these printed glimpses can genuinely destroy a wedding budget. Instead of spending cash that only aids deforestation, encourage your clients to go digital.
Digital wedding invitations can be really creative, and you can even opt for a short gif or video invitation.
As an added bonus, the wedding guests will have these invitations in their email or on their phones, so they can easily book their reservations online to make planning easier.
Digital invitations also make updating arrangements easier as the couple can easily share information about wedding venue and time changes.
4. Forego Some Flowers
Fresh flowers can drain a wedding budget quickly. Avoid fresh floral arrangements as these require same-day creation, which costs more.
Including non-floral elements can stretch your budget further, and using seasonal blooms can help further cut costs.
5. Find Decor Deals
The decor is one area of the wedding budget where you can really flaunt your decoration and planning skills. The real sign of expertise is using decor that doesn’t cost the world.
Replacing drapery with projected images and color palettes can help reduce the cost of the wedding backdrop.
Stretch the budget with upcycling of used items. Decorate with recycled wedding decorations, rent decor schemes instead of making these from scratch, and where possible, use the venue’s splendor to make it beautiful.
6. Crowdsource Your Photos
Your clients would like their perfect wedding day moments to be captured. However, wedding photography can destroy the budget.
Everyone has smartphones these days, so the wedding couple can invite their friends and family to photograph the special day and share the photos on a cloud drive or on social media.
Alternatively, budget for cheap Polaroid cameras the wedding guests can use to snap photos of the day.
If your clients insist on a photographer, consider up-and-coming photographers who are eager for the experience at a fraction of a fancy photographer’s cost. Book the photographer for the hours they are needed on the wedding day instead of a full day.
7. Reduce Reception Costs
Having a fully serviced venue can help cut back on the multitude of smaller costs that come with trucking all the chairs, tables, decor, and other wedding accouterments to a distant venue.
8. Be Aware of Hidden Fees
While crunching wedding budget numbers with the bride- and groom-to-be, it is easy to forget about hidden fees that can wreak havoc on the budget.
Include the liquor license, corkage fees, venue tax and insurance, reception tax, rights to play music, wedding license, service staff tips, marriage commissioner fees, dress fittings, transportation, and more.
See what can be cut. For example, replace corkage fees with a cash bar, hire a wedding singer, and ask a close friend of the couple to officiate the ceremony after getting the marriage license.
9. Say No to a Saturday or in-Season Wedding
Weekend weddings are much costlier than weekday weddings. Consider hosting the reception in winter and on a Friday instead of a Saturday. Choosing less popular days for wedding receptions will save you chunks of money.
10. Scout for Deals
Getting wedding decor, favors, jewelry, and dresses while they are on special, like on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or out of season, saves your wedding couple a lot of money.
Every 10 percent discount adds up at the end of the day, meaning you won’t be over budget.
11. Simplify the Drink Options
Make the wedding memorable and affordable by only offering one or two drink selections and a signature cocktail for guests to enjoy as a complement to dessert.
The wedding couple can also do a cash bar and one to two complimentary bottles of wine or bubbly per table.
12. Downsize the Wedding Cake
A traditional wedding cake with all the bells and whistles will signal curtain call on your budget. So opt for a yummy alternative such as wrapped slices or a selection of chocolates or cupcakes.
13. Change the Wedding Favors
Creating a custom wedding favor for each guest can be costly. Instead, consider alternatives. Make a charitable donation on behalf of each guest or opt for a living gift such as a tree that each guest can plant.
This puts your clients in charge of what amount they want to spend.
14. Choose Brunch
If the ceremony is early in the day, you can do a brunch reception. Structure a menu that features breakfast foods, or opt for a cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvre or entrees if the wedding is late in the day.
15. Enlist Talented Friends
Your wedding couple can also reach out to their family and friends and enlist talent this way. As a wedding present, a friend with photography skills can be the wedding photographer, while one with a beautiful voice can sing. If a cousin has mad baking skills, they can create the wedding cake and dessert.
Cutting Wedding Costs and Keep Clients Happy
Cutting wedding costs is perhaps one of the most important aspects of a wedding planner’s job.
Discuss the budget goals, decision-making parameters, and priority items with your clients to ensure all parties are onboard. This reduces conflict when it comes to paying for wedding costs.