This week on the podcast, we discussed the cost of weddings and how to save on your big day. Considering the fact that the average cost of traditional wedding typically ranges from $20,000-$30,000+, it’s understandable some couples don’t want to or might not be able to spend that much on one day.
Traditional weddings tend to include a lot of different expenses which can add up quickly.
Luckily, there is more than one way to celebrate your marriage and you can go the non-traditional route to save a little money. Plus, having a non-traditional wedding is perfect for couples who like to think outside the box and do things differently.
If the idea of having a traditional wedding sounds cliche and not as exciting, there are plenty of other options to explore. Here are 3 non-traditional wedding ideas that will help you save money on your big day.
1. Elope and Enjoy an Extended Honeymoon
While I chose to go the traditional wedding route and commit to some strict frugal habits, my sister and her husband choose to elope and get married on the beach. They then visited a ton of islands in the Caribbean for over a week to celebrate their marriage.
Yes, it sounds like an awesome idea to get married in paradise. If you can do it affordably and it’s what you both want, why not? I guess they didn’t technically ‘elope’ because close family members knew about their plan to get married in the Caribbean but a lot of people didn’t.
When they sat down to figure out how they were going to plan their wedding, they got overwhelmed and realized a big traditional wedding would probably be out of their budget. Plus, they realized they just wanted to be with each other and could do without most other aspects of a traditional wedding.
Even though my sister eloped with her husband and they traveled and lived like royalty for their wedding, they still kept if within their budget and didn’t spend tens of thousands of dollars.
My sister got her wedding dress at the mall and there were no bouquets, bridesmaid dresses, or dinner plates to pay for. Plus it cut out other pricey expenses like the rehearsal dinner, the venue, and the DJ. When you elope and have a simple ceremony no matter where it is, you only need to pay for expenses like your attire, the officiant, and maybe a small fee to rent the location for the ceremony if applicable.
Given how low the expenses are, you will usually have plenty of money leftover to travel so booking a flight to Puerto Rico and staying down there for a week no longer seems so expensive. You can also choose more affordable destinations for your honeymoon where you can get more value for your dollar.
Europe is beautiful, but given their current exchange rates, you could lose money by traveling there so it’s best to plan out where you want to visit and save up accordingly.
2. Keep it Small
A few years ago when I got married, I did have a somewhat traditional wedding. But in order to keep some of the costs down, my then-husband and I decided to keep it very small. Instead of having a big “princess fairy tale” wedding, we kept it only immediate family and very, very close friends, most of whom were in the wedding party anyway.
We only had about 50 people at our wedding and we had a small reception afterward.
Later on, we had a bigger party with a dinner and dance for a larger group of people, but if we hadn’t, our wedding would have been even more budget friendly.
Looking back, I wish we had foregone the party on a different date to save money. The most important people were at our ceremony anyway – our family and close friends. Everything else was just for show, which is a silly reason to spend money.
Instead of keeping up with the Jones’, have a small wedding with those who matter most to you.
3. Have a Party Instead
While most girls grow up dreaming about their wedding day, I didn’t. I never really gave it a second thought until I was a bridesmaid for my cousin, who had a beautiful wedding that made me consider the traditional ceremony for around 5 seconds.
As I’ve mentioned many times, I’m huge on spending on values, and I don’t see how a traditional wedding fits into my values. I’m not one for spending tons of money in one go and I think I would just regret it.
So instead, if I were to get married in the future, I would just turn it into a party. The main purpose would be to gather close family and friends (which is one of my values) and just have a good time, celebrating each other’s company.
It’s not often that all of my family gets together since many have moved, and since I know they wouldn’t be okay with me eloping, I would simply turn the focus on them. Not me.
My ideal “wedding party” would be throwing a backyard BBQ/pizza party. Seriously. It’s cheap, and we could buy and cook our own food. Finding a place to cater it would likely be inexpensive, too. Throw some appetizers in there and make it BYOB and you’re done!
Being fancy isn’t my style, and I think this makes for a better reflection of my values than a traditional wedding. It’s also a lot less stressful, and I think it’s something everyone can still enjoy. Think about what your style and values are, and plan your wedding around that!
Would you consider any of these non-traditional wedding ideas if they helped you save money?