Since you are starting to plan a wedding I am sure you have started crunching numbers and don’t be afraid to admit that it gets a little scary when you dive into it. The average wedding in Chicago can range from $25,000 – $45,000 but thats all depending on the location, number of guests and how many bells and whistles you want. Never fear though because there are always ways to work things out!
Anthony and I are extreme planners, we have known each other for over 10 years through school and have been pretty good friends most of that time. We started dating in 2013 when he came back home from finishing up his degree in college. After about a year or so we knew that we wanted to be together forever so we set up two joint savings accounts, one for our future house and one for our future wedding. Now I know what you are thinking not even engaged and already having shared accounts together? Well theres a certain level of trust that goes along with that, you have to be willing to trust the person you’re going to marry and what better way to trust each other than with money. Every week a small amount of money from each of us goes into that account, and when we have a little money from staying in a couple weekends in a row we try to throw it into one of them. So over time it has grown quite large this is what gave us a great foundation for our wedding.
Here is a very basic wedding budgeter work sheet, you can download it as a PDF file to your computer and input the numbers and it totals everything up for you. I highly recommend having something like this for when you are planning a wedding so you can keep track of everything. This page can be found here: https://aplusfcu.org/articles/wedding-budget
I am sure the next question in your head is going to be, “how do you know how much everything is going to cost before you plan a budget?” If you are a first time wedding planner, like I am, then you are definitely thinking this question. I mean you don’t really know what an average cost of a DJ, Photographer or Florist is until you start looking. Another thing that I recommend doing is getting a Knot account or find you local wedding Facebook page. These are both great tools for finding vendors and communicating with real brides in your area looking for the same thing that you are!
Now lets talk about ways to cut costs (yes there are ways to do that!). When looking for a reception hall look for places that have a lot of things included with the price you are paying per plate. We found a place that has dinner, open bar, table & chair linens, cake and reception table flowers included all for under $100 a plate! I know its hard to find but trust me there are places that don’t try to nickel and dime you for your wedding. If you are planning to get married in a non-denominational church or an outdoor setting ask a friend or a family member to get ordained online, this way you do not have to pay for an officiant and it make the wedding a lot more special having someone you know marry you. Here is a basic website that gives all of the info: https://theamm.org/#how-it-works/
Do you have anyone in the family who is a hair stylist or great with makeup? Have a friend with a camera that isn’t attached to their phone who can take engagement pictures? Know someone who can play live music during your ceremony? Theres another way to cut a big cost! Most people who have a trade like that are more than happy to gift their services to you as a wedding present which is awesome because thats one more thing you don’t have to pay for! Also being able to DIY things is another great way to cut down costs, things that can DIY’ed are invitations, programs, center pieces, table numbers, place cards the list goes on and on.
(Even amateurs can take great pictures!)
See now that wasn’t so scary was it? Weddings can be expensive but if your frugal with your money there are plenty of ways to cut down costs. So sit back and relax, have another class of wine and get on The Knot website and start doing some research!