By Canney Savanney

Do you smell that? Yes, spring is finally in the air in Western New York. With that comes Wedding season. According to Business Insider stats, the average cost of weddings in the United States in 2018 was over $30,000. With the cost of living being high in New York State and minimum wage being only $11.10, what’s an eager bride to do on a tight budget? The odds seem pretty stacked against those millennial couples who are starting to branch out in to their careers and family lives.

Well, it is a good thing that so many millennials seem to be resilient. Here are some tips to help have the wedding of your dreams on a fixed budget. For starters, sorry to all fiancés out there, but your TV will soon be compromised. The channel TLC will be in full swing with Say Yes to Dress and Four Weddings playing as your soon-to-be partner will be frantically scribbling down notes for creative ideas. If you have a tablet and leave it open, the next time you check it, it will be flooded with Pinterest posts of all sorts of wedding pins. Saving all you can seems impossible, but here are some tips to help you enjoy your big day without being in a ton of debt after the party.

1) Display Vendor Cards

When you go to hire people providing services at your wedding, it can add up quickly. Try as you might to negotiate the price down, you may find it hard to do so if you decide to go with someone who does this for a living. You may be able persuade a vendor for a discount. Offer them an opportunity to display their product or service information at place settings on your special day. This method tends to be a good form of advertising for them and saves you money!

2) Arts & Crafts

Get crafty when it comes to your big day. Places like Michael’s or Joann Fabrics are constantly running specials and coupons. Consider making your own flowers. Flowers don’t last forever, but an artificial bouquet will. Now a days, most people cannot tell the difference with what is real and fake. By making your own, you’ll have something to treasure for years to come, plus it makes a nice take home gift for the bridesmaids. Don’t completely cut out real flowers. Mix a few in the artificial bouquet and considering having a small display at the reception.

3) Contact Your Local Colleges

If you have always envisioned walking down the aisle to a beautiful melody of live accompaniment, consider looking at your local colleges. Music departments at local colleges may know students who are looking to build their resumes. Often, those students are willing to work for a reasonable rate.

4) Rent Your Tuxedos

Today groomsmen can get away without having to buy a tux. They can often rent them for the day. It is better to rent as a full group, to get a better rate. If you find the price for renting is still too steep, consider asking the groomsmen to wear matching suits for this formal celebration.

5) Ask to Supply Your Own Bar Stock

People go to weddings to help rejoice in loved ones getting married. Chances are, a good chunk of the people you invited may be taking some time off of work to travel to your special day, and still need to rent a hotel room. Be considerate to your guests who are making the effort to be there for your big day. Give back to your guests by not expecting them to shell out more money by having to pay for drinks.

Opt for an open bar stocked with plenty of wine and beer. You can either go by the case for either options or just get a keg for the beer. Just remember, you cannot take a keg home, but you can always take the bottles. Also, if you want liquor for cocktails, stock up on your basics of vodka, gin, whiskey and rum. Look at local liquor stores for discounts when buying in bulk. Don’t forget to stock up on your mixers, soft drinks, sodas and juice.

If you decide supplying your own stock is too much, or if you are afraid of running out, consider doing an open bar at cocktail hour. This has become a more common theme. When the bar opens up again after dinner make it a cash bar then. This gives your guest an opportunity to still enjoy a few complimentary drinks and leave you not paying too much after the party is over.

No matter what, just remember that this is your special day. However, you do not want to be continuously paying for one day for a lifetime. Put your money where you think it is most relevant for you. Today, many people find it easier to ask for money so that they can use it to pay off their debt or pay for a honeymoon to enjoy their time recouping from all the planning. Whatever you chose make it reflects both you and your partner’s personalities and have fun! Congrats to all the couples getting married!

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