Submitted by: Kayla

Congratulations, you got engaged over the holidays! Planning a wedding can be stressful and expensive. You have to choose a venue, decide on who will be in your wedding party, find a caterer, a photographer, and most importantly…a dress! It’s overwhelming just thinking about it. Any one of these items can easily cost a thousand dollars or more. What if you don’t have that much to spend? You can still have the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank. (< See what I did there? lol)

Set a Budget & Stick to It! It doesn’t matter if you have $200 or $20,000 to spend on the blessed event, setting a budget and sticking to it is the most important. Deciding on a spending limit makes the decision making processes much easier. Here is a suggested breakdown of how your wedding budget should be divided.

#1. Make a List of Wants & Needs –

Maybe having a really nice reception or your dream dress is the most important to you. Or maybe it’s important for you to have every member of your extended family in attendance. (More guests = more money) Make a list of your wants and needs for the big day. Purchase/book all your needs first and if there is any money left in the budget splurge on a couple of your wants. However, it’s not mandatory that you spend it all. That extra money could be used to open a Farmers Bank savings account. 

#2. Choose Your Date Carefully –

While this option may not be for everyone, consider having a long engagement. The longer your engagement the longer you have to plan and shop around for better deals. Also, steer clear of popular wedding months such as May, June, and October.

#3. Limit the Guest List –

This is another one that may not be for everyone. Have a more intimate affair with only close family and friends. Instead of having every one of your sorority sisters in the bridal party, limit it to three to five bridesmaids. Yes, feelings might get hurt, but you don’t need fifty people standing at the altar with you and an empty congregation! At the end of the day, you’ll be just as married no matter how many people were in attendance.

#4. Finding a Venue –

Find a venue that doesn’t require you to use their vendors. This one can be a little tricky and more time-consuming. Some venues require you to use their caterers, photographers, etc. While it may be more convenient, it can be more costly. This isn’t always the case, but it does pay to do your homework. Find a venue where you can have the ceremony and reception at the same location. This is more convenient for your guests and it’s one less venue you have to pay for.

#5. The Reception –

Don’t feel like you have to serve a sit-down dinner. Be creative. Have a BBQ, a mashed potato bar or my personal favorite a pasta bar. All of these options are fun, unique and budget-friendly. Also, don’t feel like you have to have a wedding cake. Lots of brides are opting for cupcakes or custom cookies. They’re less expensive and not as messy as having to awkwardly cut that huge cake in front of an audience when neither of you knows what to do! Then there’s the bar tab that can add up quickly! Instead of having an open bar, try having one signature drink to serve or a limited amount of wine or champagne.

#6. DIY –

Are you Martha Stewart’s long-lost sister whose craft projects look like it came out of a magazine? If so, consider making some of your decorations or bouquets yourself. If graphic design is your thing, create your own invitations. If you’re like me and all your projects look like Pinterest fails, maybe you have friends that are willing to help. If they offer to help, let them! You’ll be thankful!

#7. Expensive Doesn’t Mean Better –

Hit the sales! Sign up for all the promotional emails to receive coupons! Trust me, no one is going to know you didn’t pay full price for something…unless you tell them!

I hope this post will help make the upcoming months of planning a little easier. Remember, this day is all about you and the one you love, so don’t sweat the small things!

Happy Planning!

“Every once in a while, in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairytale.” – Author Unknown