I’m a lucky father of 5, with two daughters 16 months apart. I knew I would someday have to pay for two weddings, but I assumed they would not get married around the same time. As is often the case, I was wrong.
When both daughters got engaged a few months apart, my wife and I tried to bribe them to marry in the same event. Two for the price of one sounded good to me but not to my daughters, so we worked hard to have two fun weddings in the same year without breaking the bank.
We learned a few lessons:
Buy used. Many people put their wedding decorations and other items up for sale. Search “used wedding” to see what comes up locally. Also check with popular wedding venues, which often sponsor quarterly events for recent brides to sell items at garage sale prices. One of my daughters found her designer wedding dress used online for $3,000 less than retail.
Research venues.Wedding and reception venues vary widely in costs and services, so shop carefully. We thought our first venue cost twice as much as the second, but their price included everything decorations, staff, music, cake, food, parking, and more. In the end, it was less expensive with fewer headaches. Here’s a helpful guide to venues:http://www.herecomestheguide.com/wedding-party-ideas/detail/valuable-tips-for-selecting-a-wedding-location/
Book early and consider non-traditional dates. Saturday nights often book a year in advance, especially in busy months like June. The earlier you book, the more options you will have. Weddings held in the winter or at odd times of the week can cost half the price of a summer wedding.
Limit the attendees. We gave each side a limit of 75 people, and that smaller group of close friends and family kept the cost down and allowed us to visit with everyone.
Leverage friends & family. Loved ones are usually willing to help. We used friends for the deejay, sound equipment, photography, flowers, invitations, and more.
Save on flowers & decorations. We nixed flowers for the groomsmen, and nobody noticed. And because the venues were pretty, we didn’t spend much on decorations. Don’t be afraid to make the wedding your own.
What we learned. If we had to do it over again, we would have hosted both receptions in all-inclusive venues. The headaches saved outweighed the extra cost. Also, now that the event is over, we wish we had better video of the events. We would likely pay more for photography instead of using friends.