Summertime means prime wedding season, and if you are preparing to head down the aisle as a June bride, congratulations! It’s one of the most exciting times of life, and it deserves to be celebrated. I am amazed when I read the Old Testament to see that tucked between other stipulations such as dietary and community living laws, God commands His people to celebrate. He actually set days aside for this very purpose; mandating that the Israelites lay down their work on certain days of the year to feast, celebrate, worship, and commemorate the good things God had done for them. And in the New Testament, the Kingdom of Heaven is described as a wedding feast, a celebration of cosmic proportions all because the Groom is united with His Beloved.
Your wedding is cause for celebration for the same reasons: you and your love are being united together in a unique, unrivaled relationship, and the ceremony and celebration commemorate the day God blessed you by joining your lives together.
It’s a beautiful day, but it doesn’t mean you have to blow your budget to pay for such a celebration! Most young couples have humble savings starting out, and it will only introduce stress and conflict into your marriage if you have to barely scrape by because you spent everything on your dream wedding. Here are a few budget tips to help you in your wedding planning:
Do it Yourself! There are countless resources for DIY weddings online, which can show you how to spend time on wedding preparations instead of money. The benefits to doing it yourself are many: it’s easier on your wallet and you can make it a community activity. For our wedding, I wanted to make my own centerpieces with branches and paper flowers, so I invited my bridesmaids over for a flower-making party. We made it fun by getting together to talk and work over some good food, and it got the job done!
Pick One Thing Today’s wedding preparations have opened up a whole industry of expensive services and products, and sometimes you just can’t have it all. So pick one thing that is important to you that you want to focus on: your dream dress, a guest list that won’t leave anyone out, cutting edge photography, or whatever else you feel is a priority for your special day. Then work your budget around it, cutting corners or shopping for the deals where you can afford to be flexible.
Go Unconventional Ask your grandmother, and she will likely tell you that her reception was a simple gathering in the church fellowship hall with punch and cake. Times have changed and weddings can be far more elaborate today, as wedding vendors come up with more and more ways to make your day special (or, just more expensive). Wedding favors, for example, traditionally started out as sugared almonds, but now the wedding industry has pressured couples to lavish their guests with more costly gifts such as personalized picture frames or gourmet chocolate. While favors are a nice gesture of gratitude to your guests, don’t feel pressured to conform to the standards of the wedding industry.
It’s your day, after all! You get to decide what your wedding day will be like, not the bridal magazines. If you and your fiancé want a more casual reception, book a pavilion with picnic tables at a local park! If you don’t like cake, instead of paying hundreds of dollars to have one made, have an ice cream bar instead! Get creative, go unconventional, and don’t let the industry dictate your big day.
Be Creative and Flexible with your Location My husband and I had a beautiful reception with a full dance floor, high ceilings and chandeliers, a killer sound system, and free linens, tables, and chairs included in the rental price. It was incredibly reasonable and fit within our budget. How? It was in the ballroom of a retirement community! It may have been out of the ordinary, but it turned out to be the best place for our reception, with an elegant space without any hidden fees, a great staff, and a price tag that fit the budget. Shop around for reception venues and check with local schools, churches, parks, art galleries or even retirement communities to see if they have available event spaces. And with the right decorations, you can transform any neutral space into a beautiful site for your celebration.
We talk a lot on Startmarriageright.com about planning for the marriage as well as the wedding, because in our culture the statistics show that we are far better at planning weddings than preserving marriages. And since money is one of the top causes of conflict in marriage, it makes sense to start out on the right foot by budgeting your wedding and saving for your future together.