Traditionally, weddings mean a big celebration of love, a big party, and a big budget. Very few things come cheap for couples who want to tie the knot, but not everyone has the money to spend on this one day. For millennials who are juggling multiple jobs and a lot of debt, the idea of spending tens of thousands of dollars on a wedding doesn’t always make sense.
Luckily, millennials aren’t afraid of shaking up an industry to make it work for their lifestyle. Let’s take a look at how you can continue the changes millennials are already making to the wedding industry while sticking to a tight budget.
Be strategic with your date
While your love for one another might be one in a million, there are almost certainly millions of others looking to get hitched in the same year — or even week — as you. If you’re fighting another couple for the same venue, band, and vendors, you’re bound to see the prices of each continue to rise. Instead of getting locked in a rate war, avoid the most popular times to get married.
During any given week, Fridays and Saturdays are the common days to have a wedding. Try having yours on a Sunday or a weeknight. With less demand for these days of the week, vendors will often give you better deals. As about 15% of couples get married in June and 14% get married in October, you should avoid these months altogether. Don’t worry too much about inconveniencing your guests with a weekday wedding or one that’s not during the summer months. If they truly want to be there, they’ll take off work and figure out their travel plans to make it to your big day.
Save money on the dresses
One of the biggest expenses for a wedding is the attire. Pricetags on wedding dresses run in the thousands and bridesmaids dresses also cost a pretty penny. There are options, however, for savvy shoppers to save some money on these dresses. For your wedding dress, shop sample sales and online deals. Sample sales typically only have dresses between sizes six and ten, but about 33% of retailers have mobile technology that allows them to show consumers their available inventory online. This can make it easier for women of other sizes to find their fit online. Although your options are a bit more limited with either of these methods, you’ll be able to buy a deeply discounted dress.
For the bridesmaids, save money by hopping on the millennial trend of allowing bridesmaids to wear whatever they want. Just 37% of bridesmaids are wearing the same dress these days. Instead, a bride might give their entourage a few guidelines for the color and level of formality and let them choose the dress they’re comfortable paying for.
Go local for dinner and dessert
When you can find ways to cut down on the costs of food at your reception, you’ll have a much easier time sticking to your budget. If you and your family are talented in the kitchen, consider catering the event yourself. This extra effort can dramatically reduce the amount you spend on food for the wedding and you will be adding the ultimate personal touch millennials love if you can get grandma to make her famous dishes for the occasion.
If good home cooking isn’t in your blood, ask a family-owned restaurant in your town if they will cater your wedding. Owners of family-owned restaurants are typically more understanding of the restrictions of a budget and more likely to put in the extra legwork to make the day special.
For dessert, you may want to consider skipping the traditional wedding cake. These confectionary masterpieces often come at a steep price. Instead, opt for more affordable treats such as cupcakes, a variety of pies, or a make-your-own ice cream sundae bar. If you don’t want the heaviness of ice cream, try going for gelato. This ice cream variation contains 25% to 30% air but still goes great with the variety of toppings you could lay out buffet-style. Ice cream and gelato are especially perfect for summer weddings when your guests will be looking for something light and refreshing to end their night.
Plan a simple honeymoon
There’s a lot of pressure on newlyweds to go on an ostentatious honeymoon that tops any trip they’ve ever taken before. However, a honeymoon is meant to allow a couple to unwind from the stress of planning a wedding. A long flight with multiple connections among the 26 million daily trips taken on public transportation isn’t exactly a formula for relaxation. Many new couples may resort to bickering just days after their nuptials when these travel stresses are stacked on top of the budgetary stresses an expensive honeymoon can create.
If you and your new spouse are just looking for a way to escape your regular lives, consider taking a honeymoon closer to home. Choose a getaway that is going to provide relaxing and memorable moments for the two of you. It doesn’t matter if it’s a weekend at a spa complete with a 45-minute acupuncture session or a stay at a nearby beach house with a pool and patio. The most important requirement is that you enjoy the time together.
Planning a wedding becomes much less stressful when you let go of all of the traditional expectations and procedures. Try putting the millennial way of life into practice by thinking outside of the box and making choices that don’t necessarily align with what people usually do. You’ll likely be much truer to yourself and at the end of the day, a celebration of you and your partner’s unique connection is exactly what a wedding is all about.