If you have your heart set on a summer wedding, you are looking at the peak season for the $72 billion U.S. wedding industry’s feeding frenzy. Since 50% of all weddings in the U.S. take place during the five months of May through September and the caterers, tuxedo rentals, florists and photographers are all able to charge premium prices this time of year.But the competitive market can also work to your advantage.
If you aren’t willing to have an off-season event, there are still many ways to save if you get creative, negotiate shrewdly and plan ahead. And, if you are getting hitched this summer, you're already in the thick of it. Much of the planning is done and contracts have been signed. It may be too late to change the date or fire the caterers but there is still time to take advantage of some of our cost-cutting advice.
Of course, before you do anything, set a budget. According to TheWeddingReport.com, the average wedding in 2009 cost $19,580 (not including the engagement ring or the honeymoon). If that kind of expense is not within your means, you can still plan an elegant and memorable event that costs a fraction of the average — it all depends on how creative you're willing to get. If you want to remain mostly traditional, look for ideas on TheKnot.com. They challenge top wedding planners to budget a $10,000 wedding in cities all over the country. And if that figure is still too steep and you're willing to get a little DIY, you can cut that number in half and half again. Prioritize what is most important to you allocate your budget accordingly. Whatever you do, make a budget and stick to it.
The average U.S. guest list is 178 friends and family long. Shortening that list will be the first step in significant savings. Since food expenses, space needs and invitation costs increase the longer the guest list, the difference between inviting 200 people and 100 people will significantly effect your budget. Understandably, this gets complicated — you invite one friend from work, you need to invite them all. You invite the bride’s third cousin, you have to invite the groom’s 17 first cousins. But if you make the decision to keep it small and intimate, you’ll be able to get more bang for your buck and throw a much more lavish event for the people who really matter to you.