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Weddings can be expensive, but there are tips and tricks to save

Wedding saving tips: Tips and tricks
Wedding saving tips: Tips and tricks 02:11

MINNEAPOLIS — The so called post-COVID "wedding boom" may be winding down, but inflation is still driving up the cost of tying the knot. According to Zola, the average American will spend $29,000 on their wedding—but before the pandemic the average stood at $24,700. In Minnesota the average is $25,377.

"I've just had a lot of fun getting to plan the day that I've dreamed of, literally, since I was a little girl," bride-to-be and St. Cloud resident Sydney Straka said.

High school sweethearts Straka and her fiancé, Dominic, got engaged New Years Eve last year. Now with the wedding within reach, things are getting real.

"This whole wedding thing was kind of like a train hit me right in front of the face," she said. "Because with the wedding industry, everything's just like so beyond expensive for everything."

Like a lot of couples in the middle of planning a wedding, saving money where she can is a priority for Straka.

"There are lots of ways to save money on weddings," she said. "If there's a way to save money on our wedding, we're probably doing it."

Pick your date wisely

Straka is saving thousands of dollars by tying the knot on a Thursday.

"The people that we truly know and want to be there are going to make the time to be there," she said.

It's a top money saving tip given by experts in the industry, too.

"If there's ways for you to be creative and find different weekends and pockets, that's the first place to start," long-time wedding planner and current event strategist with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Elizabeth Sherry said.

Sherry said picking a Thursday, Friday or Sunday can make a huge difference. She also recommends picking an off-season date—she says its another way to save thousands. In Minnesota, the busy season is between June and October —and the off season is between November and May.

MORE FINANCE: Take control of your money with these budgeting tips

Cut back appetizers

Sherry says your venue, food and beverage costs should equate to about half of your budget.

"Now, the meal itself—I've experienced it in the corporate world—it is more expensive," Sherry said. "It's, I don't know, about 15 to 30 percent more expensive in the last two to three years."

Sherry suggests cutting back on appetizers and letting the meal be the main show.

"I do love Hors d'oeuvres. I'm not going to say that doesn't elevate an event, but if you could instead of serving four or five different items, could you serve maybe two. And just give a little bit of that taste that there's that item there but still have people going into dinner hungry," she said.

Skip the champagne toast

Skipping the champagne toast will help keep savings up and waste down.

"Alcohol is an area where I feel like you can make or break a budget," Sherry said.

She remembers countless weekends cleaning up after a wedding and pouring out half or even full glasses of champagne. The same goes for signature drinks – if they're on the house, guests might take them, but not finish them. It could result in a spendy, wasteful night.

"Let people drink what they want to drink and find it where they want to find it," she said. "And having options available for cash is okay."

Use décor creatively

Event planners like Gretchen Culver, owner and creative director of Rocket Science Events, suggests double dipping décor.

"Really thinking about ways to get creative with those décor components," she said. "Florals especially have skyrocketed post COVID. Things are coming in four or six times more what they used to. So really making sure you are maximizing that piece of your budget by doing that double duty."

Trim the guest list

It might be the most obvious, but less guests equals less money spent.

"If you really want to be savvy with your budget, keep your guest list as small as possible. I've never had a client comeback to me and say, 'oh, I wish I had invited more people!' It's always the opposite," Culver said.

Culver said mini and micro weddings are becoming more popular—event after the pandemic.

"If you are inviting someone to you wedding and you wouldn't give them a $100 bill right now, why are you inviting them to your wedding. Because its at minimum $100 to have them come," she said.

Scale back on paper goods

It might seem like a minor detail, but Culver said a little savings can go a long way. Doing an online RSVP instead of a printed RSVP can save money on postage and more.

"That may not seem like a huge savings, but you're saving the card, the envelope, the stamp," she said. "There are some littler ways you can eliminate or modify some of the elements of the wedding to get a little bit of saving there."

Beware of DIY

In theory, 'do it yourself' can save you money. However, experts warn the savings might not be worth the extra time and labor you'll put in.

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