Planning a Wedding in a Recession

Skyrocketing gas prices and crashing home sales have definitely had a tightening affect on America’s spending habits. I have been through a few economic downturns since starting my business, but this one seems to be the worst. Families have always spent good money on weddings, regardless of the economy, but this year, something is different.

I was discussing this topic with a former bride of mine this morning. We can’t decide if this recession is so much worse than the others, or if what people were spending on weddings had increased so sharply that now it is starting to adjust. Whatever the case may be, with the reduction in spending, I have noticed that some of my couples are questioning whether or not they can still have the wedding of their dreams.

I can tell you with absolute certainty, the answer is yes. For those of you who have read my blog regularly or have seen my other writing, you know that I strongly feel that a wedding is about the people with whom the couple chooses to celebrate, not about the amount of “stuff” at the wedding. Decor can be as beautiful at $1000.00 as it is at $10,000.00. A wedding reception can be as fun with 30 people as it is with 300 people.

Here are a few simple tips to planning a wedding on a reasonable budget:

If you are trying to maintain a particular budget, make sure you make the budget before you do anything else. For tips on planning a meaningful wedding budget, read my my post on the subject from last month. You can also get helpful tips on planning a budget and other ideas for your wedding by signing up for Just Marry!’s monthly newsletter.

Make sure to set priorities. There may be some items on which you can afford to splurge a little if you are able to contain the cost on other items.

Look for alternatives to expensive items. For example, rather than blowing your budget on thousands of dollars in flowers, use candles on the tables. Rather than purchase an expensive wedding gown, choose a beautiful dress from a department store, or look online or in a thrift store for previously worn dresses.

Have your reception at an off time so you don’t have to serve dinner. Consider a day time reception or maybe dessert.

Invite a few close friends to your wedding rather than hundreds of people you don’t know very well. I always suggest throwing a great party for a smaller group rather than a so-so party for a larger group.

There are many ideas out there on how you can save money while planning your wedding on the Internet. I will post my favorites in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, there was a great article yesterday in the Orlando Sentinel about weddings during the economic down turn. Check it out. Tammy Elliott, president of Perfect Wedding Guide, is quoted.

  • My husband and I have renewing our vows in October. We were able to book our ceremony and punch and cake reception for under $2000. And it does include my bouquet, cake, flowers, music, ect. We’ll found it was less expensive to spring for dinner at nearby restaurant for under $500.
    We received one quote, for our invitations that was $300 and were able to get them made for under $70 at another company. I suggest people do some serious shopping around.