If there was one truth about weddings that nearly every couple has grappled with, it would be this: weddings can get ridiculously expensive.
Couples currently touring venues, meeting with caterers and trying on dresses know that with every wedding purchase, there is always an added cost. The wedding dress, for example, has its own price, and even though the bride is measured when she orders the dress, she will almost certainly need to have it altered once it arrives, which will cost at lest a couple hundred dollars. You may have booked the venue and the caterer, but now you also have to order linens because neither of those businesses keep them in stock.
Perhaps it is because of all these costs, both big and small, that more people are paring down their wedding budgets to $10,000 and having ceremonies that are more personal and private. While that’s perfectly acceptable, it does leave one major question unanswered: How do you include a honeymoon in a $10,000 honeymoon budget?
It may seem impossible, but there are two ways of pulling this off. First, you need to get your wedding budget under control. Second, you need to build a honeymoon registry.
Here’s how to have a beautiful wedding on a $10,000 budget and still pull off a romantic honeymoon for two.
How to rethink your $10,000 wedding budget
You might think that a $10,000 wedding budget leaves you few options for venues and caterers, but you’d be surprised how far you can stretch that money. With a little planning and some creativity, you can design an elegant affair that guests enjoy without breaking the bank.
So don’t think of your budget as a limitation. Reframe it as an opportunity, or even a competition with yourself, to think critically about what will matter most to you on your big day and what will be easily forgotten. Here’s how to do it.
Pick what’s most important to you on your big day
The key to a balanced wedding budget is to identify what will matter to you most after the day is done. This means choosing two or three aspects of the wedding, such as venue, music or catering, and saving most of your budget for them while making compromises with everything else.
For example, if the venue matters most to you, then you can make other compromises so you still have the dream location while not going over budget. You can book the venue for a weekday or even a Sunday afternoon to bring the cost down (many venues charge a premium for Saturday bookings but offer discounts on other days), or you could scale back your catering bill by serving just beer and wine as alcohol options or even none at all.
Use a wedding budgeting app to help you keep track of finances
If you would describe yourself as a visual learner, then seeing your budget right in front of you may be the best way to help keep your wedding planning under control. The numbers present clearly how much you’re under or over on your budget and where you may have some wiggle room. After all, if you come under budget when ordering flowers, then you can always reallocate that money to another expense, which will give you some more breathing room.
Although it is not wedding-specific, the Mint by Intuit app has helped many couples stay on track with the wedding spending. Its user-friendly system makes it easy to see how your budget is spent and where you could move money around. The numbers don’t lie, and seeing them plain before your eyes can help you keep a clear focus on how much you’re spending.
Have a long engagement
When you’re choosing vendors for your big day, you’ll usually put a deposit down to secure the date and time, and then you’ll pay the rest between one and three months out from your wedding. If you have a long engagement, then the time between your deposits and remaining payments might be enough for you and your partner to save the money and pay the vendors without dipping into your savings account.
After getting engaged, consider waiting 18 months to two years before having the ceremony. If you book your big vendors (think venue and caterer) within the first three months of getting engaged, that will give you plenty of time to save for the remainder of the bill.
Having these big vendors booked will also help you adjust other parts of your budget. If the vendor happened to be less expensive that originally planned, then you can move that money around to other parts of your budget, such as the flowers or invitations.
You’d be surprised what the power of Pinterest can teach you. Instead of buying centerpieces, you can learn how to make them yourself. Want all of the bridesmaids to have matching, unique jewelry? Why not buy the beads and create your own design? If you can buy flowers wholesale, then you can make your own arrangements and bouquets, saving yourself a little green in the process.
Getting crafty and creating your own centerpieces and arrangements can save you a lot of money in the long run, and you’ll find hundreds of cool tutorials on YouTube and Pinterest to inspire you and walk you through each project.
A word to the wise: If you want to go the craft route to save money, start early and look for sales on supplies. Couples that wait until the last minute to start their wedding craft projects often find themselves unhappy with the rush job and in a frantic search for something store bought to replace it. If you start way in advance, you’ll have plenty of time for redos, if you need them, or to possibly improve the idea.
You can also save money by waiting for supplies to go on sale. Once you have your venue booked and you know the space you’ll be working with, pick out your craft projects and make a list of what supplies you’ll need. Get on the email list of craft stores and wait for a major holiday sale for your supplies to be discounted. If you’re having a long engagement, then you’ll have more opportunities for craft store sales and redos on crafts.
Narrow down your guest list
Your catering bill will likely take up one of the biggest chunks of your wedding budget, but did you know that your guest list size directly affects just how big that bill actually gets?
Food vendors usually break down food costs per person, as a representation of what it will cost in supplies and labor to feed and supply drinks for one guest. So if you invite fewer guests, then your catering bill will likely decrease as the vendor will need fewer supplies and maybe even less staff.
Cutting a guest list can be an emotionally frought task, so here are a few ways to think about narrowing down the list:
- Cut anyone that you haven’t seen for the duration of the time you and your partner spent dating. So if you were together for three years, cut anyone that you haven’t seen during that timeframe.
- Say no to kids or anyone under the legal drinking age. Kid-free weddings are fairely common nowadays, and many parents appreciate the break.If you’re planning an open bar, keeping the party limited to those who can legally drink will also cut down your guest list.
- Avoid plus-ones, but directly invite the partners you know. You probably have friends in serious relationship with partners that you know well. Invite them, but for anyone single or in a new relationship, don’t give them a plus-one. This keeps the wedding intimate and stops your guest list from unexpectedly exploding.
- Eliminate work colleagues. It’s now far less common to attend a coworker’s wedding unless you’re actually friends outside of the office. If you’re not going to concerts together or inviting them to your house for game night, then feel free to leave them off the list.
Remember, a wedding isn’t worth going into debt for, and you don’t want tostill be paying for your big day on your second or third wedding anniversary.
How a honeymoon registry can help your $10,000 wedding budget
Even the most savvy saver cannot also fit a honeymoon regtaway into a $10,000 wedding budget, but you’re not alone in not liking your other options. You could:
- Do a paired down honeymoon where you go someone nearby and stay for just a weekend.
- Delay the honeymoon for a whole year while you save up enough money.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with either option, but if you’re like many couples, then you and your partner may be more excited for the honeymoon than the actual wedding. It’s an unforgettable trip that creates lifelong memories, and it’s an important time for the two of you to bond and just enjoy being married at last.
But most honeymoons that require plane tickets won’t fit into a $10,000 wedding budget. Tickets alone may cost at least $1,000 for a couple, depending on where you go, and if you want to stay at a resort or boutique hotel, prices can be between $300 to $500 per night.
So how can you fit a honeymoon into a $10,000 wedding budget? It’s simple. Use a honeymoon registry.
A honeymoon registry functions just like a traditional wedding registry that you might see at Target or Bed, Bath and Beyond. But instead of filling the registry with home goods from those stores, you add gifts related to your honeymoon.The process works like this:
- Create your honeymoon registry using Hitchd or a similar platform and add all the gifts you want. Think spa packages, nights out at a romantic restaurant or a historic site tour.
- When guests come to your registry, they choose the gift they want to give you and send you the money. With Hitchd, couples can receive money through credit and debit cards as well as PayPal, cheque and even bitcoins.
- Now you can withdraw the money from your Stripe account (if you’re using Hitchd), and use the money to book your gifts.
Of course, there’s much more that goes into building the perfect honeymoon registry, but that’s the process in a nutshell. You can learn more about how to build a honeymoon registry here.
Having a honeymoon registry solves two of the biggest problems that couples face when looking at wedding gifts: how to ask for money politely and how to avoid redundant home goods.
You can raise money for that dream honeymoon without bluntly asking for money
You probably know that it’s considered very rude to ask for money as a wedding present. There are essentially two main reasons for this:
- You technically shouldn’t be expecting any presents from any guest at all.
- It’s far more difficult to see how a cash gift is used and that it’s used for something the couple needs, not just paying bills or buying personal items.
Wait, it’s a wedding and you’re not expect anyone to give you presents? Well, no. Wedding gifts should never be required at any ceremony. No guest should ever feel like they have to pay an entry fee to get into the reception, and they shouldn’t feel like you have your hand out when greeting them.
That said, most if not all of your guests will want to give you a wedding present. This is a major milestone in your life, and the people who have watched you grown and shared their lives with you will want to show you how much they care for you. That’s part of the reason home goods were popular gifts for so long. Not only was it helpful for couples just moving in together (more on that later), but it also ensured the couple would remember their guests whenever they made coffee in the morning or vacuumed the carpet. Those items were given with love, and it meant something.
With money, it’s not always as easy for guests to see how their gift is spent, and that’s often important to them. But with a honeymoon registry, they’re giving you money to be spent on a honeymoon-related experience, one they might know from experience will be especially memorable. You can take photos on the trip and send them after the you return to show your loved one how much you enjoyed the gift.
In short, a honeymoon registry may ask for money, but by assigning it a purpose, guests feel more confident that their contribution will be recalled and remembered whenever you and your partner remenince about your amazing trip.
You avoid asking for physical gifts that you don’t want or need
Does this sound like you and your partner?
The two of you met at the end of college or even while working your first jobs out of uni. You two are now in your late 20s or maybe even your early 30s. You dated for several years, and after some time, you moved in together, combining your household items and buying new ones now that you have a combined household income and maybe even others to support, such as a house, a pet or even a baby.
The point is you no longer need those household goods that have been staples of wedding registries for generations. You have the kitchen appliances you need, and you’ve replaced many of your hand-me-down, second-hand goods from your uni days. So there’s no need to ask for a nice blender or a set of organic cotton sheets.
Rather than asking for duplicates or creating a barebones registry, a honeymoon registy asks for items you really want. Imagine spending your honeymoon doing all those cool activities you could never do at home - ziplining, snorkling, hot air balloon rides, dinners at high-end restaurants, sampling new cuisines. The possibilities are endless.
A honeymoon registry fits a $10,000 wedding budget without driving couples into a debt. It provides an easy way to ask for what you really want as a gift, and it gets guests excited to send you on one of the most exhilarating trips of your lifetime. With Hitchd, you can design a user-friendly registry that easily explains what your registry is all about while making it easy to thank your guests and show them how meaningful their gift is to you.
Ready to get started with Hitchd? Sign up here.