Updated November 15, 2021 by Adventure Amore
Weddings are a moment in life we look forward to with great anticipation. We look to our partner with love, excited to tie the knot, and to our futures together forever. Yet, alongside this anticipation can be an ever increasing dread of the accompanying price tag. As we see the dollar signs grow bigger, and the squeeze on our bank accounts tighter, the pure enjoyment of what should be one of the best days of our lives begins to slide.
First, a little primer. For centuries popular culture has spoon-fed us the idyllic wedding that just so happens to be a one-size fits all event. The traditions are the same, they involve lots and lots of flowers, expensive dresses we only wear once, expensive venues, and lots of little details that slowly break the bank. From our earliest days watching romcoms to the planning guides and super fancy instagram accounts – we’re led to believe that this one-size fits all wedding experience is what would be YOUR ideal wedding experience.
The average cost of a wedding in America is $30,000. Oftentimes, we see budgets explode beyond that. So much money spent on only one day of a couple’s life, and sometimes the day flies by so fast that people don’t fully remember it. Social media has put so much focus on what we show others of our big day. How lavish, how pretty, how resplendent it all looked. If we don’t check off all those boxes society tells us we need to check, we’ve somehow not fulfilled our requirements to each other.
That’s just not true. None of that is true. You see, we’re individuals with our own likes and dislikes, our own ways of experiencing events. Couples are no different. Each partnership is also unique, with different desires and drives. Each couple’s checklist for what to do for their wedding is unique, and with that uniqueness, comes a lot of opportunities to save money.
With all that said, let’s jump into the ways to save money:
I know it’s cliche to say think about your wedding priorities, but I want to introduce a different way of doing so. Most weddings happen in the blink of an eye. We can spend months planning the day out, and when it comes, between all the ‘requirements’ and excitement of the day, it goes by so fast we hardly remember it. I’d like to encourage you to think about focusing on spending your money on ways that only maximize your ENJOYMENT and MEMORIES. Ten years from now, will you really care about the thousands you spent on crazy floral arrangements? Will you be super excited that you got to spend twenty precious minutes saying hi to distant cousins you haven’t seen since? Will the extra $2,000 on your dress make a difference?
Your wedding day is a special, beautiful day, meant for celebration and enjoyment. When planning, you should really consider whether or not this will A) bring maximum joy the day of, and B) whether you’ll remember it ten years later. There’s no point in wasting time or money on what society tells you to have, if you truly don’t care about it. And the truth is, if you are having a good time, no one is going to care about all those extra things either. Guests won’t leave your wedding pouting about not having certain table decorations. They’ll only care about you two being in love and having the time of your life.
For many many years eloping meant running away to secretly get married by Elvis in Vegas. While that still can be a lot of fun, it doesn’t come close to explaining what an elopement actually represents.
Elopements are weddings that are focused on just you and your partner. It represents complete flexibility on how you say ‘I Do’ and how you celebrate that momentous occasion. It can be just the two of you, hiking through the Andulusian mountain range, or celebrating in a bowling alley with your closest family and friends. The most important part of all this, is that each decision is about pleasing just you two
You don’t have to adhere to every old-school tradition either. You can choose the ones you like, make your own, or don’t have any! The world is really your oyster, and with it, comes massive savings. If you forgo an expensive venue for some mountain ranges, you save on the location, the florals, the food, the staff and so much more. If you have an intimate wedding of 25 or fewer people, you save so much money on not feeding a hundred or more people you don’t talk to on a regular basis. Instead of wearing a white wedding dress, get a gorgeous dress you can wear over and over again, and each time you wear it be reminded of your fantastic wedding day.
I know there’s hesitancy here, and some people might be frustrated they aren’t celebrating with you. Well, there’s good news. For one, this is about you and you get to celebrate how you’d like. No one should be upset if they don’t get to join in. And if you really want them to join in, you can do so at a later date. That’s right, why celebrate just once, when you can celebrate twice! Host a post-wedding party. Since it’s not a wedding, you’ll be charged a lot less by all vendors and you can just have a big ole dance party with your friends.
Elopements are about options, and when you have options, you can save lots and lots of money.
Venues are sometimes the most expensive parts of your wedding – so let’s save some of that money. If you aren’t going to have a raging party, you should consider renting a house or lodge for your big day. You can get a few smaller ones for multiple nights with multiple guests, or one big one where you can hang out and celebrate with an intimate group of your closest family and friends. Have catered food, or cook your own with the included kitchen. This is a perfect option for a cozy enjoyable time, and still leaves space for all types of enjoyment – from dancing, to bbqing, to games, to throwing flowers, pajama parties. If you are an outdoorsy person, get a house or cabin in nature and spend time hiking, mountain biking, climbing mountains, swimming, rafting, or just lounging out in the sun! Now you’re saving even more!
It’s traditional to have meat options at a wedding – but you can also have delicious vegetarian food, that doesn’t tire you out, and keeps money in your wallets. There are plenty of delicious meals available, and new options taste just like meat. You can even get a pizza truck. Who doesn’t love a pizza truck?!
An additional perk to going vegetarian: You’re saving the earth. Meat consumption is a massive contributor to global warming, so if you are looking to have an eco-friendly wedding – skipping out on the meat can make a massive difference.
Here’s a truth – most people don’t really care about wedding favors. A lot of folks forget them at the wedding, or throw them out once they get home. It’s just not that big a deal. If you are worried about folks leaving with something positive, worry no longer, they are leaving full of your love and surrounded by everyone’s happiness.
Again, think about it from a 5 or 10 year perspective. No one will think back on your wedding and say, darn, I really wish I had gotten a parting favor. And ten years from now, you certainly aren’t going to go, wow the wedding favors were top 5 best things about my wedding.
Added benefit – skipping the favors reduces consumption which is a more eco-friendly way to go! Whether it’s candy, plastic, t-shirts etc…, by not having it, you are helping keep the planet a little more green. That’s something to strive for!
Pretty much everything is online now. We conduct our business online, we organize online, we communicate online, we plan online, we shop online – a heckuva a lot of our lives are online. So should your save the dates and wedding invites. Skip the printing press to save money on paper and ink, as well as the environment, and send it all over email.
Added benefit to email invites – people can easily search for it. We all have lazy family and friends who forget to put things in their calendar. If they have it in their email, they can easily reference the dates and information without having to find that paper invitation, if they haven’t already thrown it out. Oh, and you won’t have to worry about deciphering messy handwriting to find out if it’s Aunt Joan or Aunt Joey coming to your wedding.
Flowers are gorgeous, of course, but they are short lived and quite expensive. The average wedding couple in the US spends $1,500 on flowers. That’s a boatload of money for something that won’t last very long. Not to mention, a lot of flowers are flown from all over the world, so forgoing flowers actually is eco-friendly too!
What to do if you aren’t going to have flowers everywhere? Easy! Get plants. You can fill your wedding with plants, and if you work with local greenhouses, can even rent the plants instead of buying.
Remember when I said skip the party favors? Well, how’s 2 for 1? Get a lot of small plants to decorate your wedding, and offer them up as party favors at the end! Now you’ve solved two problems while drastically reducing your financial burden.
Weddings are meant to be one of the happiest days of your life, not one of the biggest budgetary burdens. I hope these options have helped you consider what’s most meaningful and valuable for you when it comes to your wedding. You can have the wedding of your dreams on a budget. For sure.
Hey! I’m Adam and I live for helping couples just like you make their elopement dreams come true. If thinking of elopement or just want to learn more about how to elope, I’m your guy! I can help you find the best elopement package and share all the best tips for your special day.
If you’re ready to start planning or just have some questions to decide if an elopement is right for you, I’d love to hear from you.