10 Tips For Planning An Affordable Wedding

Wednesday July 20, 2016

By Christian Kiemele

Planning a wedding is always stressful, especially when you’re trying to keep it affordable. Montana Events Services employees Jess Shaffer and Karen Schlatter have planned several weddings, and are always working to help their clients come in under budget. Here are their ten tips for keeping your wedding affordable. 

1. Book During the Week

Many venues will be willing to cut clients a deal for booking a wedding from Sundays through Thursdays. Venues want their entire week filled and can struggle to fill weeknights, giving you some leverage to negotiate a lower price. The other up side to this is that most weddings tend to have fewer guests if the big day takes place during the week, lowering your costs in several areas.

Wedding in the Lubrecht Forest2. Choose Non-Traditional Venues

These include flower gardens, botanical gardens, lakeside venues, and other similar venues where you may not initially think of having a wedding. Even if a venue isn’t listed as a wedding venue, you can often still book your wedding there. Often times, these venues come at a lower cost since they are not typically used for weddings.

3. Shop For Venues That Include Equipment With Their Costs

Some venues will include at least part of your equipment (most often chairs and tables) in their overall cost for the venue. If you can book with a place that does this, it’s often priced cheaper than if you buy the equipment elsewhere, especially if you are expecting big numbers at your event.

Wedding Flowers

4. Get Flowers That Are In Season

Buying flowers that are out of season is much more expensive than buying those that are in season. Roses, Tulips, and Calla Lilies are all year-round in terms of seasons, and are quite popular for wedding use. If the flowers you want are going to be out of season at the time of your wedding, consider buying the seeds and planting them before hand to save yourself a lot of money. You can also create your own flowers with tape and ribbons to achieve an arts-and-crafty look that is significantly cheaper than buying actual flowers.

5. Set Your Wedding Budget Beforehand

Knowing your budget before going shopping will not only keep you from buying more than you need, it’ll help you negotiate with vendors and get them to compete with each other to give you the best price. A quick search on Pinterest for wedding items will help you get a gauge for costs and how much you need of each item.

6. Buy at the End of Wedding Season

The end of the wedding season is when the biggest deals are. Boutiques are trying to clear space for the next season, and people also often want to get rid of some of the things they bought for their wedding. Whether your looking for a dress, or just some supplies, this is the time to get big discounts on many items.

7. Use a Friend as an Officiate

Officiates can often cost upwards of $200. If you’re not using a church and are looking at hiring an officiate, it’s much cheaper to help a friend get a license online and have them do it instead.

8. Hire a Music Student/Group for Your Music

Wedding DJ’s and bands can be expensive. Oftentimes, music programs at your local university will have students who are willing to work a wedding for a much lower cost.  Finding a student you can trust to work your wedding can save you hundreds, or event thousands of dollars on music alone.

Beer and wine being served at an event put on by Montana Event Services9. Choose Beer and Wine Rather than an Open Bar

If your venue will let you, buying beer and wine off-site in bulk and bringing it in isn’t nearly as expensive as an open bar can be. Not only is hard alcohol served at a bar more expensive on its own, but you can often find more deals on beer and wine sold in large amounts than you can with liquor.

10. Pick a Smaller Venue

With a smaller venue comes a smaller guest list. This lowers the cost on almost everything with your wedding, as you need fewer supplies for less people. While many people want a big wedding with lots of guests, smaller venues can often lead to a more intimate and less expensive event.

Book your wedding at the University of Montana through Montana Events Services and they will use these same tips to keep your wedding within budget! Venues to choose from include the Oval, the Riverbowl Fields, Washington-Grizzly Stadium (with the Canyon Club), The University Center Ballroom, the University Center Commons, UM Golf Course, Lubrecht National Forest, and the Prescott Pavilion (Prescott house not available).