We’re hitting the peak of summer, which means that a lot of young, hip people will soon be getting married in some very creative ceremonies. The modern wedding has evolved quite a bit from the elegant, white-gown-in-a-church affair that it used to be. Colors and themes are getting wilder, banquets are going vegan and the traditional quartets are being replaced by the groom’s cousin’s garage band. And we’re okay with that.
These ceremonial twists aren’t just clever – they can also save you money. After all, when you take the initiative to make those origami swan invitations yourself, you’re not paying someone else to do it. So, young couples, gather round. If you’re walking down the aisle this summer, hip touches like these can really spice up your wedding:
1) Let your friend DJ. We’re pretty sure that everyone under 30 has a friend that moonlights as a DJ – and even if you don’t, any one of your pals can operate an iPod. Instead of hiring a DJ, you should ask this friend – or your friend’s band – to handle the music at your wedding.
Getting a friend to DJ will save you about $1,000, and it will dramatically improve the quality of music at your ceremony. Think about it. Your rental DJ will spin golden oldies all night long, but your friend won’t feel twice about dishing up an awesome club mix of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” Just make sure your buddy remembers to throw in a few songs for Grandma’s crowd. Also, print out a script so that he or she doesn’t mess up the introductions. Your friend should also drink for free, obviously.
2) Serve Comfort Foods. Wedding food is expensive, and it can really set you back. Rather than springing for three types of entrees with French names you can’t even pronounce, why not go for classic summer comfort food instead? It’s cheap, it’s trendy and it always works.
If you’re working on a budget, there’s no reason to make your reception dinner fancier than the rest of the ceremony. Skip the pretense and serve your guests barbecued chicken and pork, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and macaroni and cheese. Instead of the traditional cake, you might also want to consider cupcakes, wedding donuts or pie pops. These foods are as fun as they are tasty, and they’re very cheap to serve in large portions.
3) Getting Married Outside? Find a Super-Cheap Venue. If you’re planning an outdoor ceremony, there’s no reason you should spend a fortune on a fancy venue. A scenic public park or dock, or a charitable friend or relative’s massive backyard or barn should do the trick nicely.
You can decorate the spot yourself using streamers, tulle and a few white pedestals. When the sun goes down, Chinese lanterns and Christmas lights wrapped around trees will easily illuminate your reception. Even if you go overboard with the décor, you’ll still pay less than you would for a wedding in an expensive venue.
4) Get Vintage Outfits. This might sound like heresy, but hear us out: if you want to save a ton of money, don’t buy a brand-new wedding gown. Instead, give your wedding a vintage twist by purchasing an off-white gown from your local ultra-hip thrift or second-hand store. Keep with the vintage theme by dressing the groom in a cheap, slim-cut suit with a vest and bow tie instead of a tux. Then put the groomsmen in suspenders and the brides in throwback getups.
Since the wedding dress is the most important part of the ceremony for most brides, settling for a $70 vintage gown might be a tough sell. If you can bear the loss of your dream gown, though, you could save yourself a few thousand dollars.
Trendy “hipster” weddings definitely aren’t for everybody. For many couples, a summer wedding means an elegant church ceremony, and that’s just fine by us. But if you’re young and open-minded, getting hip with your wedding is a fun way to cut costs. When you step off the beaten path and get inventive with your food, your decorations and your venue, you can actually save big money – and every new couple needs more of that. Put your savings towards your honeymoon and you can upgrade your hotel or perhaps even your destination.
Of course, if your creativity is shot after all this planning, there’s one other thing you can do with the money you’ve saved: pay down all those student loans you’ve just married into.