Summer is the unofficial wedding season! Whether you’re attending the wedding as a guest, a bridesmaid or the bride herself, we often have weddings on the calendar during the summer months.
A wedding is a joyous occasion that joins two people in holy matrimony and allows them to celebrate with family and friends. In recent years, weddings have become an increasingly expensive affair. From destination weddings to 400-person guest lists, the average wedding cost in the U.S. has skyrocketed to nearly $30,000 in 2019.
So, how can you save money on your wedding day?
In this article, we feature exclusive wedding planning tips from Reigning Supreme, Texas-based experts in planning a wedding on a budget. The company, started by two sisters and their mother, evolved from creating homemade bath bombs for bridal showers to providing digital e-books for bridges on a budget.
With so many companies promoting luxury weddings, these ladies provide a fresh perspective for brides to create a memorable wedding experience without breaking the bank. If you’re looking for ways to stretch your bridal budget, then you’re in the right place!
This guide will highlight the 4 most expensive components of a wedding and provide recommendations for counteracting these costs.
#1 - The Wedding Venue
According to the Wedding Wire, the average couple spends $6,000 on their wedding venue. This price tag can easily balloon if you choose a popular wedding date, live in an expensive area of the country or have a large guest list. Depending on the venue, you may also need to pay outside caterers, rental companies and other vendors. For high-end venues, they often have a restricted list of approved vendors that also often carry a high-end price tag.
In order to save on venue costs, consider a budget-friendly wedding location such as a park, public beach or rental vacation property. Each of these locations will significantly reduce, if not completely erase, that $6,000 expense.
Pro Tip: Venues that are associated with non-profit organizations (ex: museums, parks, historic homes) often have tax deductible site fees. A simple phone call or question during your venue tour will reveal if this option is available at the venues that you consider.
#2 - Wedding Decor
$2,142. That’s how much those floral centerpieces, photo booths and ceremony decor can cost you!
Behind the venue, decor tends to be the second most expensive component for couples. As brides think about the decor for their wedding, many will identify a theme to guide the design of the ceremony and reception. The most popular themes in recent years include Rustic, Vintage, Beach and Gatsby.
We want you to nail whatever theme you choose for your wedding, without breaking the bank. As you design the decor, think about using artificial silk flowers instead of fresh flowers. If you’re set on fresh flowers, then adjust your floral choices to those that are in-season to reduce the cost per stem. A price slash as low as $3-4/stem can translate to hundreds of dollars across all your bouquets and centerpieces.
To spruce up your decor, balloons are another great option. They can be added along the aisle runner in the ceremony, used to create fun backdrops at the reception or tied along the back of your getaway car. Balloons are a versatile decoration that can be done at an extremely low cost.
Pro Tip: Rent! Yes, rent your floral arrangements. Reigning Supreme highly recommends the rental route to save up to 70% on your florals. Check out a premier rental company here.
#3 - Wedding Attire
Ah, wedding dresses… Many brides dream for years of what they’ll look like on their big day. They may envision their partner crying at the altar when they first lay eyes on her, or her guests complimenting her on her exquisite dress selection. While a $5,000 dress may seem like a necessary cost for any wedding, the experts at Reigning Supreme have recommendations!
The fastest way to reduce cost is to rent your wedding dress. After the wedding day, how often are you really going to wear that dress? Most women keep their dress safely tucked away for years after their wedding, with no specific purpose in mind. Instead of spending thousands on your dress, consider renting it from a company like Rent the Runway. They carry hundreds of dresses, gowns and jumpsuits to fit any modern wedding.
If renting isn’t your style, a second-hand dress may be a great option. Borrowing Magnolia has dresses from high-fashion designers like Pnina Tornai for under $1,000.
Pro Tip: Shoes deemed as “bridal shoes” often carry a higher price tag. Shop department stores and online retailers for affordable white (or colorful accent shoes) that compliment your dress to save on cost. We love these white pumps from Nine West!
#4 - Wedding Reception
The key to reducing your reception cost is to reduce your guest list. There is no need to invite your mother’s church friend whom you have only met once, nor is it required to invite a friend that you haven’t spoken to in 10 years. Trim the guest list and watch the cost of your wedding reception dramatically decline. At an average price of $268 per guest, trimming your guest list by 10 guests can result in serious savings.
If you’ve already minimized your guest count and are still looking for ways to reduce the reception cost, consider adjusting your catering options. Rather than offering guests a choice of steak, chicken or fish, ask them to select an option when they RSVP. This allows the caterer to purchase exactly what is needed and cut excess costs. Another option would be to serve dinner in a “family style” or “buffet style” to further maximize your cost per person.
Pro Tip: Ask the foodies in your inner circle to recommend their favorite restaurants in your local area. Instead of using a traditional caterer, reach out to the restaurant to get their pricing for providing food for your wedding. Not only can it reduce cost, but it also helps tie your local community into your special day.
At the end of the day, every bride knows what works best for her and her wedding. These recommendations from Reigning Supreme are the tip of the iceberg for what they have to offer to budget-conscious bridges. Check out their digital wedding services, including an E-book called, “Planning an Elegant Wedding on a Budget.”
Have these tips resonated with you? Share your tips for saving on your special day in the comments below!
Note: This is the second post in our Trailblazer Tuesday series. Reigning Supreme is a black-owned small business located in Texas. Their story began 5 years ago with two sisters and their serial entrepreneur mother, Adrianne Coleman, fell in love with the idea of creating unique and one of a kind experiences for brides. Show your support by checking out their website and Instagram!
If you, or someone you know, are a small business owner that would like to be featured in our Trailblazer Tuesday series, please contact My Sole Sisters at firstname.lastname@example.org.