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US99 Interview: Our Top 3 Tips For Saving Money While Wedding Planning


budget tips for 2021 2022 wedding
Photo: AJ Abelman Photography

Our CEO, Alexis Alvarez, sat down with Melissa & Austin at US99 to talk about how couples can save money while planning their wedding.


Try incorporating one or two (or all!) of these tips to help you maintain your wedding budget while still having the celebration you’re envisioning.


1. Invite less people.


Couples always ask us, “Can I have a $25,000 wedding in Chicago?” And the answer is yes, but it comes with a caveat - you can’t invite some 200 guests and expect to stay within a tighter budget.


Inviting less people means you have less mouths to feed. Like we all know by now, catering is expensive, and since it’s priced based upon your guest count, it greatly determines the bottom line of your budget. Which brings me to my next point...


2. Find a venue that is BYOB friendly and has an open catering policy.


This again is going to give you more flexibility when it comes to spending money on food and drinks. Keep in mind that BYOB here doesn’t mean that your guests will be bringing their own alcohol (this would be a liability disaster!). It means that the venue or caterer won’t have to provide your liquor package, which would usually include mark-ups that you’ll have to pay for. Instead, you’ll purchase your alcohol directly through a distributor. In some cases, they’ll even let you return any unopened bottles post-wedding.


Another creative option when it comes to the bar is narrowing down your menu. We recommend offering 1 white wine, 1 red wine, 1 domestic beer, 1 import beer, and then 1 to 2 liquors that are widely used and could be used to make a signature cocktail. This could be something like vodka that can be mixed with a variety of different juices and sodas. This ensures everyone will have something to drink, but you aren’t having to pay for a fully stocked bar with liquor options only one person might drink.


3. Get creative with your catering.


If you’re looking to save money on your reception, consider a cocktail-style dinner rather than a seated meal. Since you’re not feeding as much food to each guest, you’ll save tremendously on these costs. You’ll also be able to cut back on equipment rentals and staffing. With a cocktail-style event, you won’t need to provide a seat for every guest. This helps to cut back on all those rental and place setting items that can add up quickly: chairs, tables, utensils, plates, chargers, escort cards or place cards, etc.


Bonus! Having fewer tables also means you won’t need as many centerpieces to decorate with, which will also save you money on floral. It’s a win-win!


If you do opt for a cocktail-style reception, just make sure to add a note on your invitations or wedding website so that guests know not to arrive expecting a full meal.


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