The wedding industry has become huge over the years, with the average cost of a wedding up to over R450 000 ($33,391). If you’re a bride and groom on a budget, that number is enough to take your breath away. But that doesn’t mean that you have to spend that much on your wedding. While your wedding day is going to be the most important day of your life, the last thing you want to do is drain your bank account for just one day when you have the rest of your lives ahead of you. There are plenty of ways to have a beautiful wedding while remaining frugal. If you’re committed to sticking to a tight budget while planning your wedding, follow these tips!

Set a strict limit
When you have a tight wedding budget, it’s important to set a limit that you can stick to. Depending on how much you want to spend on your wedding, you won’t want to go overboard and exceed the limit you’ve set for yourself. Figure out the number you can afford, and consider the money your families will be contributing when making your budget. If you take out a personal loan for your wedding for however much you know you can afford, you’ll be forced to stick to that budget without the ability to overspend. And it’s a much better decision than putting every expense on your high-interest credit card. You don’t want to spend money you don’t have and start your life as a married couple in debt. If you hire a wedding planner, they’ll be sure to help you stick to your budget. A planner will only show you vendors and venues within your budget, so you won’t be tempted to spend more than you can afford.

Cut down on guests 
While it can be tempting to invite everyone in your life to your wedding, this is the time to be picky. Remember that this is your wedding day, and no one else’s. What matters most is what you and your partner want and celebrating the moment with the people that mean a lot to both of you. Most venues charge by the person, so a sure-fire way to cut down on costs is to have a smaller wedding. There are plenty of people to cross off of your guest list, including family members you don’t talk to anymore, friends you’ve drifted apart from, and coworkers. Also consider only giving a plus one to your guests who are in long-term relationships, with significant others that you’ve met. There’s no reason to give a plus one to all of your guests, just to end up with a bunch of people at your wedding that you don’t even know. The people that mean the most to you will come to your wedding whether they can bring a date or not.

DIY what you can
There is no need to buy everything new for your wedding. Your day will be just as beautiful even if you make your own signs and decor to decorate your venue. You can save a good chunk of cash by making your own centerpieces. If you make the centerpieces yourself, you avoid buying expensive flowers to decorate your tables, which can be expensive.

For other decor to make your venue personal and unique, recruit your crafty family members or friends to help you in your DIY process. If you have an aunt that has beautiful handwriting, enlist her to make a few of the signs you want for your ceremony and reception. Get inspiration for signs and decor on Pinterest and Etsy, then recreate the design yourself for much less with a twist of your own personality thrown in there! To make it a fun activity, get your bridesmaids in on the action. Host a craft day at your house for all of you to make your decor pieces together as a group. It will allow your bridesmaids who don’t know each other all that well to bond, and you’ll get some work done for the wedding too!

Don’t focus on smaller details
Regardless of what you may think from the weddings you’ve seen in movies or via the media, you don’t need an over-the-top wedding that impresses everyone who attends. The little details add up to cost a lot of extra money, so leave those out when you’re wedding planning. More than half of your guests won’t even remember to grab a favor, so save a couple hundred bucks by not doing them! The little details that you think put an extra special touch on your day are the things that no one will even remember when they look back on your wedding. Don’t stress on all of the extras when what really matters are the bigger details. You’ll save yourself a lot of money if you only spend your money on your venue and main vendors and forget about things like a dessert bar or a photo booth.

Reuse and recycle
You’re bound to know someone who has gotten married recently. Ask around to family and friends who have gotten married in the past year and see what they have left that you could borrow or buy off of them. Chances are, they’re never going to use the decor and centerpieces that they bought, so they’d probably be more than happy to let you use them too! There’s a good chance that your relative or friend will let you have their used decor for free, or sell them to you at a discounted price, saving you hundreds on details that you would have had to buy yourself otherwise.

In addition to using borrowed items from your loved ones, consider shopping in your own home for pieces that you can utilise for your wedding. Look around your house and see what you already own that could be used to make your day special. Maybe you have a cake stand that you can use to display your dessert. Or maybe you have a sandwich board that can display the menu for the evening. Whatever it is, make sure it matches the aesthetic you’re going for and doesn’t look thrown together.

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