Planning a wedding on a budget? It’s easier than you think.

Before you start to plan out your Colorado wedding budget, you must sit down and determine your priorities. If a photographer and videographer is a must have – make room in the budget for those things. If a veil just isn’t part of your interests, don’t drop $600 on a veil. Both you and bae need to sit down and determine your absolute priorities for budget and where your money is going to go. Consider both of your interests and must-haves for both of you. This list will be referred back to frequently during the process. If you do not have your priorities in order, this list will not help you.

1. UTILIZE YOUR FRIENDS.

A very overlooked expense is the cost of an officiant. YEP. They don’t marry people for free – it’s a cost that is often forgotten about when considering your own wedding budget. A friend can get ordained almost instantly online through Universal Life Church which allows anyone to get ordained in their chosen state for any religion or non-religion. Always check your individual state laws for more information.

Another way you can utilize your friends is by appointing a person outside of the bridal party or family to act as a coordinator. I am all for hiring a coordinator or planner for day of at the very least but sometimes that is not doable with your budget. Appoint a friend to keep things running behind the scenes. This friend can keep track of timing, placement, and the overall flow of the day.

The list of how to utilize your friends can go on for a while, but my last piece of advice is borrow from your married friends. Not every single part of your wedding needs to be brand new. Not only is this budget and environmentally friendly, it’ll create a really special bond between you and that friend.

2. CONSIDER CATERING ALTERNATIVES.

Have you ever considered a deserts only reception? This is best for those weddings that need to be later in the day (such as Winter Weddings) or those weddings taking place during sunset. Notify your guests by mentioning this on the invites or on your wedding site!

If serving dinner is something you absolutely want to have, reconsider the way it is served. YES – the way it is served will affect the price. French or Butler service is when the guests are served at their tables by a wait staff. Alternatives to this include family style and buffet style. Family style is a happy medium between buffet and french style. It offers the experience of each table being served without your guests leaving their seats but the guests serve themselves from bigger portions on their own table.

On the topic of food, here’s a bonus tip: Consider doing a simpler cake! If you’re not really into cake, but really want to participate in the traditional cake cutting, invest in a smaller cake. Instead, provide your guests with donuts or other sweets.

Donuts and Cake by The Donut Experiment

3. BE FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR DATE.

I know most couples have a certain date that falls on the same day as their anniversary or something else special. I know that date is one of the hardest things to determine at the very beginning of the process but your date will also determine the minimum of your wedding budget.

Your wedding does not have to be on a Saturday. Take time to consider how big your wedding is – if your wedding is 100 or less, consider a Friday wedding. A lot of wedding vendors offer Friday and Sunday wedding discounts.

Summer months are peak wedding season for Mountain Weddings, meaning, this is when most weddings are happening through the year. Colorado Wedding Vendors can be more affordable in the Spring or Fall allowing for room in the budget for other priorities. Spring is less popular because of sporadic snow showers (but let’s be honest, that’s really all year round here in Colorado) and the snow melting can cause some major mud situation. Couples on a budget should bypass Winter weddings altogether. Hotels, travel, and venues skyrocket because Colorado is a popular Winter sports destination. Winter can also be incredibly harsh and unpredictable.

The date can also affect floral arrangement costs! In-season flowers are much more affordable than out-of-season flowers. If floral is one of your most important priorities, you will want to consider what floral arrangement you love and find out when those flowers are in season, then plan your date accordingly.

Florals by Create a Scene

4. ALCOHOL CAN ADD UP.

We all know your friends are hoping for an open bar, this is not a requirement. If your friends hold this against you, they’re not actually your friends. An open bar can be pricey and all venues have different rates on how they handle open bar.

Serve a custom-made cocktail instead of a full bar. This allows you to put a little personalized touch on the bar experience while also being budget friendly. Both you and bae can choose a speciality cocktail for the bar to make. Guests can choose what they want or choose the speciality cocktails. The speciality cocktails can be on the house while custom orders are cash bar.

Pass on that expensive champagne toast. Seriously – no one will remember if you chose the fancy champagne or the more affordable champagne. No one will remember if you had champagne or not! More times than not, I see guests chugging the bottles that are left on the reception tables at the end of the night. I wish I was kidding – in all reality, these bottles do not get drank without the help of lingering guests at the end fo the night. When time comes for speeches, ask guests to grab a drink from the bar. No need for the additional champagne cost.

5. KEEP YOUR BRIDAL PARTY SIMPLE OR PASS ALTOGETHER.

Yes I said it – there’s literally NO reason to have 15 people in your wedding party. The biggest complaint I get from couples through the planning process is the unneeded stress and financial expense of having a large bridal party. The more people you have in your party, the more gifts/florals/expenses you will have.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying not to have your besties stand up with you, I am just saying to keep it simple. Don’t over complicate. Some of the happiest couples I have had passed on the wedding party all together. They kept it down to just them and maybe a maid/matron of honor and/or best man. There’s no rules that say you have to have 5 people in your wedding party – do you boo. Traditional weddings also do not have a requirement for wedding parties. This is about you and BAE!!

PS – just because you were in their wedding, doesn’t mean you have to have them in yours!

Overall, this wedding is about you two. Make sure you two know your priorities and what you’re willing to spend money on to create the wedding of your dreams. Be realistic and stick to a budget. Try not to splurge and don’t fall for “speciality” discounts. You got this.

Ready to know more ways to trim your wedding budget? Contact me so we can talk more!