The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is more than $26,000, and unless you’re wealthy, that probably means you’re going to start married life with a fair amount of debt. There are plenty of ways to cut down on wedding expenses, but it’s clear you can’t cut back on everything if you want to have an enjoyable –and memorable – celebration. Here are a few places not to skimp when whittling down your wedding budget:
- Food: Let’s face it – the food you serve is going to have a major impact on your guests. Using high-quality ingredients and a catering service that’s experienced in wedding menus is essential for creating great memories of your big day. If you need to curb the budget, consider hosting your wedding in the evening or “between meals” so you can offer a less extensive menu, like hors d’oeuvres and wine or one or two signature cocktails. You can also cut back on food costs by opting for a small “centerpiece” cake and a big sheet cake or cupcakes for guests.
- Venue: Like your food, your reception venue has a huge impact on the success and enjoyment of your event. To keep costs low, opt for a venue that allows you to have your wedding at the same site. It’s also more convenient for guests.
- Tableware: Unless your theme is country hoedown, you probably want to avoid cheap plates and utensils and opt for more upscale options, like china and “regular” silverware. Most venues provide dishware that’s designed to complement any theme, which means less hassle for you.
- Photography: Your photos will provide you with a lifetime of memories long after the big day is ended. Spending more for an experienced photographer just makes good sense.
Focus your spending on these key areas, and you can still have a beautiful, memorable wedding day with plenty of cash left over for the honeymoon.