5 Easy Swaps to Save on Your Wedding (Without Skimping on Style)
Paying for a wedding these days is no joke. With the average cost weighing in at more than $31,000 (a five-year high) it’s little wonder that a growing number of couples are looking for ways to save on the big day. But at the same time, you (ideally) only get to do this once, so you want to do it right.
If you’re in this camp, check out these five easy swaps that keep your budget under control – without compromising your vision for the special day.
Skip: The a la carte venue
Swap in: The all-inclusive location
According to The Knot’s annual survey of wedding budgets, the average couple spends more on the wedding venue than any other expense – and that doesn’t even include what you’ll pay for catering, flowers and other touches you’ll need to make the place “yours.” Instead of booking a blank space, check out all-inclusive venues (like a beautiful restaurant you can rent out), which usually have everything you need included in the price.
Skip: Expensive extras
Swap in: A bevy of useful (and free) apps
There’s very little you can’t do with a smartphone these days, and planning a wedding is no exception. Rather than watch the dollars rack up with a planner, check out WeddingWire, a site with multiple matrimony-centric apps designed to help you with everything from style inspiration to managing RSVPs. Instead of relying on your iPhone to work the turntables, download WeddingDJ to keep your music on track for both ceremony and reception. Finally, create and manage a customized registry using Zola, which comes with the added bonus of no-hidden fees on cash gifts.
Skip: Credit Cards
Swap in: A low interest rate personal loan
Even with savings, parental help and/or your own current income, it’s not always possible to cover the entire bill with cash on hand. But think twice before using plastic to cover big ticket items – with the average credit card rate hovering around 13%, carrying a balance on that sucker could cost you big bucks over the long term.
A smarter alternative could be to use a low interest rate personal loan, which can not only save you money on interest but also remove the temptation of continuously charging beyond your current means. SoFi, for example, offers personal loans with low fixed rates, no hidden fees (no hidden fees, period) and an easy, online application process. Plus, you can borrow up to $100,000.
Skip: The “future heirloom” dress
Swap in: A dream designer rental
A lot of modern brides reject the notion of buying an expensive gown that’s only going to sit in a closet for the next 30 years (and will probably be out-of-style by the time that daughter or niece gets around to getting married). The good news is that you can still look amazing without an over-the-top investment, thanks to a growing number of websites and shops that provide high-end wedding dress rentals to stylish brides. At prices up to 85% off the original and tailoring services, to boot, you’ll look great and save money (and closet space, too).
Skip: Open bar
Swap in: A signature cocktail (that’s actually cool)
Ask any wedding expert the number one way to keep wedding costs down, and 9 out of 10 will advise you to keep hard liquor out of the equation. But that can be a tough pill to swallow for couples who really want to please their guests (and nothing makes your old college buddies happier than the magic words, “open bar”). A signature drink can be a cost-saving compromise, but also calls to mind a syrupy, pink, umbrella-garnished concoction that even your craziest friends won’t touch.
The fix? Make it fun by attending a mixology class with your betrothed and experimenting until you find the perfect combo that represents you both (or until you both pass out, whichever comes first). Or ask the bartender at your favorite restaurant or the bar where you met to create something special. Either way, the unique story will make for good wedding conversation fodder and keep everyone’s focus off the fact that there are no shots allowed.
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