Weddings cost money no matter how you slice it, but throwing a beautiful celebration doesn’t mean you need to take out a loan. There are many opportunities to scale back on your expenses without making your wedding feel “cheap” and we want to share with you our top 10 favorites!

Take a look…

Narrow down your guest list.

This is the most obvious, but may not be the easiest thing to do. For your big day it’s understandable to want everyone there to celebrate with you. However, each guest adds to the cost of food, rental items, and decorations and can dictate your venue. Keep your guest list as lean as possible or consider starting with an A list and only moving to a B list if your budget allows.

Ask for help in lieu of gifts.

Who doesn’t love getting gifts? Well, one exchange might be asking a few guests to lend their time and talents to your wedding planning in exchange for a wedding present. Do you have friends or relatives who can sew, do graphic design, arrange flowers or create escort cards? Ask them! These special touches will make you wedding more meaningful – and budget friendly.

Create your own invitations.

Wedding invitations can eat up a huge chunk of your budget – get smart and get crafty! There are a ton of ways you can simplify or customize your wedding invitations that will save you money on paying someone else to do this. Be mindful of postage as well. Square invitations may be all the rave, but they will cost you more than standard postage. So will heavy invites or ones with 3D objects attached to them. Run your prototype by your post office to get an accurate quote on postage.

Take it outside.

Indoor wedding venues offer convenience, but they also run more expensive than renting your own items like tents, chairs, tables and linens and hosting your celebration in an open field or backyard. Talk with an event rental company to gain a better understanding of what all you will need and what this will cost – you might be surprised by the fact that a custom outdoor wedding venue fits better into your budget than a banquet hall.

Work as directly as possible with vendors.

Using a wedding planner or an all-in-one event company is easy and convenient, but this comes at a cost. Usually there is an additional fee tacked on to coordinating your rental items with an outside rental company. Try and work as directly as possible with your wedding vendors. Whether you are renting tents and chairs or portable toilets and generators, research your local businesses and contact them yourself.

Be willing to do some of the “heavy lifting.”

If you want a beautiful wedding on a budget, you need to get realistic with the fact that you might need to roll up your sleeves and get a little dirty (before putting on your wedding attire, of course). You can save a lot of money by working with an event rental company that will delivery your chairs, tables and linens, but require you to set them up. This is a great opportunity to get friends and family involved. Be sure and make it a fun memory with food, drink and music – like a mini party the day before your wedding!

Forego flowers.

Scale back or forego flowers completely at your wedding. Why? These are often a huge chunk of a wedding budget and don’t last longer than 24 hours. Plus many guests couldn’t tell you what type of flowers were at their table by the time they hit the dance floor. A fair compromise would be to still have flowers for your wedding party, but choose alternative items like candles or glassware as your centerpieces.

Stock the bar yourself.

Alcohol is another big expense, but one that guests really appreciate having! We don’t recommend skimping here or go to a cash bar, rather we suggest getting creative when working with your vendors. If you go with a private or backyard venue, you can purchase your own alcohol at a deep discount compared to what a venue would charge you. Be sure to check into all laws and policies including insurance concerns to be sure you are covered in all scenarios.

Keep the wedding party small and simple.

Asking someone to be a part of your wedding part is a great way to honor a sibling, relative or friend. But if you are looking for ways to save money, a small wedding party or no wedding party will really help you out here. For every bridesmaid or groomsmen, that means more flowers, presents and suits or dresses (if you choose to cover this cost). Honor your special people in another way by having them do a reading at the ceremony or give a speech at dinner. They don’t have to have the formal title of bridesmaid or groomsman to do this!

Don’t assume the buffet is always cheaper.

Our final piece of advice comes down to the expensive, but important detail of food. When working with your caterer, be sure to have them outline the costs of all menu styles. Many couples falsely assume that a buffet is cheaper than a seated dinner; however, because people serve themselves their own potions, caterers often need to supply more food – and can result in more waste. Seated dinners feel fancier and are sometimes more cost-effective. Be sure and ask directly about your most budget friendly options rather than assuming!

Are your planning a wedding on a tight budget? What other tips or tricks do you have for other couples in a similar situation?


One thought on “10 Tips for Planning a Budget Friendly Wedding in Central PA”

  1. I never would have thought to rent portable toilets for a wedding before, but I assume it would save some money. Actually I have a friend who rented portable toilets for her outdoor reception and it worked great. The toilets looked fancy and worked with the style of wedding. Thanks for the tips.

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