Profitt Report: Alternative wedding ideas could save you money

Once upon a time, couples stuck to rigid wedding day traditions. Today, they are throwing conventional ideas out of the window in order to save money and host the wedding of their dreams. Photo credit: Pixabay

The average cost of a wedding is more than $35,000 according to the wedding website, The Knot. Your first big step in determining your wedding budget: your venue. When and where you hold the ceremony and reception sets the stage for the rest of your planning, and considering alternative venue ideas could set you up for savings.

First, think about the season. Late spring, summer and early fall are the most popular times to say “I do.” However, Alicia Gotham of Saginaw County tried something a little different.

“We got engaged the day after Christmas in 2015 and planned for January of ’17,” Gotham said.

January isn’t a hot month for weddings and that meant savings.

“I do believe we got some good deals like from our DJ,” she said, “and I think the pricing definitely was cheaper but it wasn’t a deciding factor of the January wedding either, it was just easier to get the people we wanted.”

During the off season, you’re not competing with other weddings. Gotham was married on a Saturday at the Bay City Scottish Rite. However, if you choose a different day of the week, you might find savings.

“It’s very popular, Friday and Sunday weddings are a really good way to save on the budget,” said Sue MacKellar, owner of Paper Moon Wedding and Event Specialists in Midland.

MacKellar has been planning weddings and events for nearly 40 years. She explained, getting married on a holiday weekend could also mean savings.

“Especially during the Christmas holiday when the venue is already decorated so you can save a lot of money on flowers, the churches are decorated with beautiful poinsettias and church flowers,” she said.

Next, be sure to price out do-it-yourself venues carefully. Rustic barns, backyards and parks are popular on the internet and Pinterest and look like an easy way to save money.

“In reality, they cost more because if you're having a reception at a venue, they already have the tables and chairs and bathrooms and the bar tenders and the electricity. If you have it at your house or in a barn, sometimes you have to provide all those things and then the budget really gets out of hand,” MacKellar said.

If you keep the guest count low and the party casual, think a chill backyard barbecue, you will likely save some serious cash. However, if you’re looking for something formal, consider the added expense and compare it to wedding venues.

“If you have it at your parents' house, they spend all summer long or the year before getting the property ready to have it there, then you're worried about the weather, the backup plan, the cost of a tent, it's pricey,” MacKellar said.

Every couple’s situation is different and many do save money by DIY-ing their wedding: you’ll want to carefully compare prices to make sure you’re getting what you want at the right price.

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