“On average, couples budget nearly $16K for their wedding ceremony and reception, but spend approximately 40% more once they begin to understand the true cost of each wedding element. “ –Wedding Wire Newlywed Report 2018
Wedding Wire recently released their Newlywed Report for 2018 with the latest trends in the wedding industry. According to the report, Washington, D.C. is the fourth most expensive city for weddings in compared to New York, Boston and then San Francisco. Completely Coordinated understands how important staying within a budget is so we ensure costs stay reasonable, and help find and offer discounts were possible. With that said, below we offer our top 10 ways to keep wedding costs down and your budget realistic while planning your dream wedding!
Getting ahead of engagement season. The most popular time to propose is during the Christmas/holiday season with 38% of all couples getting engaged during this time (November- February). Knowing that many other couples will be starting their planning process, get ahead of the curve by starting the planning once engaged. Embrace and celebrate every moment as a newly engaged couple, but reduce venue, date, and vendor competition by starting early.
Avoid a wedding date during peak season. Consequently 47% of all couples get married in the fall to winter months. Labor Day to just before Christmas will be a high demand time for weddings, and in some cases, this demand drives up venue costs. Venue costs often increase during “peak” times to book. Recommend selecting a wedding date outside of the peak season to avoid additional costs.
Be Proactive. Photographers, DJs, and Wedding Coordinators are the most sought after vendors after the venue is booked. These vendors are traditionally booked 9-12 months before the wedding date. Reaching out to desired vendors and casting a wide net early will help ensure you get the vendors you want and at a good price. Remember, most vendors only have so much staff, equipment, and time so being proactive from the onset will help your pocketbook while ensuring you don’t pay a premium for vendors.
Use your venue and wedding coordinator’s preferred vendor lists. These lists are treasure troves of vetted vendors who have demonstrated their ability to be reliable, cost effective and on time. In most cases, preferred vendors will also offer additional discounts and bonuses you wouldn’t get otherwise. Examples are free engagement photo sessions, reduced rates or extra time free!
Don’t be afraid to draw the line with your guest list. The average size of a wedding has grown to about 125-150 guests. This means setting realistic expectations about your wedding budget, and even adding a little extra padding, is important. This ensures you stay on budget even if your RSVPs end up higher than expected. Based on the total ceremony and reception cost, couples spend roughly $216 per guest. Don’t over invite, know that it is ok to draw the line to stay within your budget,
Set realistic expectations on your budget. The average ceremony and reception cost in the Washington D.C. area hovers around $27,000, and largely depends on your style and location. Reports show 56% of couples will dip into savings to pay for their wedding. To avoid this, set realistic expectations from the beginning, do your research to know the average cost of venues and vendors in the area, and plan for last minute pop up items.
Identify who is paying for each part of the wedding. The Newlywed Report noted a new trend. Couples are paying for roughly 50% of their own wedding. Talk with your partner and family about paying for the wedding early. Know the expectation of who will cover what cost. Understanding this in the beginning helps set a realistic budget and helps avoid pulling from savings to cover costs.
Pay for things that matter to you. Although the having beautiful save the dates, creative wedding favors and nicely prepared programs sound important, your guests will not remember what they looked like. If you are on a tighter budget, consider foregoing the average cost of $800-$1200 for favors and go simple. Or don’t stress ordering expensive stationary, send electronic save the dates, utilize online stationary companies, or ask guests to RSVP online through your website.
Rent your attire. The cost of buying a wedding dress has become one of the most expensive one-time cost in a wedding, ranging from $1000-$5000, not including alterations. Buying your wedding dress from a first hand shop can be expensive; consider higher end boutiques that sell once worn/slightly used dresses and even look into renting your dress. More options are popping up that include the ability to rent your dress and return it like Rent the Runway.
Consider supplementing with silk flowers. Fresh flowers are beautiful and help create the style, mood and theme of a wedding, but fresh flowers can be expensive, especially flowers out of season. If you desire fresh flowers considering featuring seasonal flowers. Or utilize fresh flowers in the bouquets and boutonnieres and supplement the centerpieces with silk flowers. Non-floral centerpieces are also a possibility, and can be a creative way to better reflective your personal style. These alternative could save you anywhere from $1500-$2000 on average in your wedding budget.
Check us out at Completelycoordinated.com or shoot us an e-mail at CompletelyCoordinatedDC@gmail.com for more ideas, help with your budget or access to our preferred vendor list. Although our full preferred vendor list is reserved for clients, we are always happy to highlight some of the better vendors in the area and ensure vendors are providing fair prices for services. We are also happy to provide assistance with non-floral centerpieces or signage! Just let us know how we can help!