Las Vegas has always been known for being the easy wedding capital of the world. But getting married has evolved into a multi million dollar business. That is a big shift from weddings in Grandma’s day, which used to be a simple affair. Got married in the local church, guests had punch and a slice of cake made by Aunt Nanette, and the whole cost, probably ran about $300.00 if that. Today’s average weddings according to Wedding Wire can cost easily upwards of $30,000.00 or more. And if you live in a large metro area like Daniel and Melissa shown above did, (areas such as New York, Boston, or Los Angeles), that $30,000.00 may pay for just the venue alone, without all the other costs! I can think of lots of things that I could use that money for, couldn’t you? But all is not lost!
We here at Cactus and Lace Weddings wanted to help brides and grooms understand that there are good, solid ways to save on weddings. You don’t have to go under financially when starting a new life together. Since we consider ourselves wedding specialists here in Las Vegas, here are our five top tips to saving on the most expensive parts of weddings.
- Average Venue-$8798.00 The average cost of renting a wedding and/or reception area venue is $8798.00 But, that cost can be cut significantly by booking during the off wedding season. Typically, in most states, June, July and August are the most sought after months. By booking at other less popular times of year, you can save significantly. And where you have it makes a difference. To save money, look around and think of places that are un-traditionally thought of for weddings. The old barn down the road, the park, or even National and State Parks. Here in Nevada, those summer months are the hottest actually, and we don’t book at all for outside weddings during the summer months. So the months other than summer, inspire some great deals on hotel rooms, and other items especially if you book mid week or during the winter months. Booking mid week is one of our favorite pieces of advice to brides. And thinking of an outdoor desert wedding? Again thinking of options outside the box, our permit at Valley of Fire State Park allows us to book a spectacular wedding location for several hours at an average of $450 total. Quite a difference compared to the Wedding Wire average $8798. Compare and shop around for different options. There are great savings to be found.
- Average Catering Costs-$6877.00 Keeping it casual can really add savings when planning of food and drinks for your guests. Think of finger foods, or tapas, instead of a full sit down buffet, or if a dinner in the evening after you ceremony is something you would like, think of ways to incorporate food plans that might include the back room of your local taco restaurant, or Italian family restaurant. Also becoming really popular are food trucks, with amazing variety of foods to make your mouth water. Our Cactus and Lace Wedding brides are usually quite good at coming up with plans to feed guests that are often not conventional. They have included Container Park in Las Vegas, Food Trucks, Tacos n more, and many other small intimate locations which can seat up to 30 guests. And if you combine a low cost venue, with low cost, fun, ethnic or local neighborhood foods, you can really have a fun economical wedding! We have a wedding which recently booked a Pop Up Pizza Sourdough Wood fired pizza vendor who travels to Valley of Fire. We often serve a small tiny cake and add delicious cupcakes and donuts, instead of a huge and expensive wedding cake. Or does your grandma make great brownies or cookies she would love to make? Think of the amazing possibilities within your local area.
- Average honeymoon costs- $3882 If you are wiped out financially after the wedding, take some quiet alone time and drive somewhere near your home for a stay-cation honey moon. Then, next year, on your anniversary, go somewhere special that you have saved away the money for, without causing stress to your new found togetherness. Or here in Las Vegas, we have the perfect answer to this dilemma. We ARE the wedding and honeymoon capital of the world after all. Make your wedding and honeymoon happen in the same destination wedding location! And booking midweek saves even more. Our favorite times of year here are October, November, and even January and February, and March for cost savings.
- Average Band cost-$3848 This is an easy one to reduce. We are all about adding music to add fun, depth, and great atmosphere, but don’t let it break your budget. Have a family friend play acoustic guitar which has a cool vibe, or most everyone has or knows someone who can run a playlist off their phones. Add a blue tooth speaker, and bam! Music time! Music adds a great ambiance to a wedding, so add it. Just make sure the DJ you have is someone from within your own circle at a great savings.
- Average Photography and Videography-$3882 Actually, we feel this figure is low according to the professionals we rub shoulders with. But we understand wanting to go with someone less expensive. Please do your homework on this one. Use a professional. Research their work and style online. Social media allows you to really have a great idea of their work and the quality and look of it. We feel that photography and videography are very important. One of the most common complaints we have heard has been from the mother/sister/cousin of the bride or groom lamenting about how they tried to save money on their own wedding and went cheap on the photographer. They used someone who’s work was unprofessional or unskilled and hated the photos. Imagine hating the photos or not getting any! of one of the most important days of your life. There is not chance for a do over. And after the cake is cut, and the guests have gone, you have only your pictures left. So how to save money? Time. Most photographers offer different packages based on time at the site, as well as other add ons. Decide on your photography budget and try and work with a photographer you like. Remove things that are add ons, like albums, and see if you can find a package that has less hours of photography time built in. Consider wedding elopements or small wedding ceremonies which last only a few hours instead of all day coverage.
All Inclusive Elopements and Small Weddings Speaking of cutting costs, one of the best ways to save money is to downsize the guest list. Back in the day, big weddings were all the rage. Having hundreds of guests, and a huge venue, as well as a huge catered affair were the way to go. More and more, though, couples are really re-thinking that kind of planning. Even on a small wedding, according to Wedding Wire, the average couple contacts over 25 vendors and hires 10 – 13 vendors throughout the entire wedding process. That is a lot of time and energy spent trying to put a wedding together. More and more often, couples are eloping or planning small intimate weddings and dinners to match for family and friends. And more and more, couples are turning to all-inclusive wedding planning companies to do all the leg work for them. An all inclusive wedding company will customize your wedding by planning with you, we get your desires, wishes, and wants, and we run with that. It belongs to you, it feels like a wedding you would have done yourself, because the ideas and decor are from you, but we execute that. When you use an all inclusive wedding planner, it’s like having a personal wedding assistant to do your legwork and save your precious time and your life. And realistically, that makes so much sense, financially and time-wise.
We couldn’t agree more. From our experience as a wedding planning and all inclusive wedding business, we understand the ins and outs of planning. We do it every day. We have learned the tricks of the trade to putting on a wedding, staying in budget, and having a great conclusion. Our vendors give us discounts, we pass them on to you. Really, we do. We take on the job of contacting all those vendors, and we hire them, so you do not have the headache, nor the liability of not knowing who does a good job or not. And not having to stay up all night to do that after working all day. We have been trusted consistently over and over by brides from all over the world, who included us in their wedding planning. Why try to hire 35 vendors when you can hire one and let them go for it? They are extremely happy they do. So they can say “I do” with a happy heart and a fuller wallet.
So to wrap it all up, be a rebel. Go against the status quo. Stay focused, think of your options, make this a wedding YOU both will enjoy. Work out a budget, both of you. If you are wise, creative, and are willing to do what you want for your wedding; whether quirky, elegant, or boho, involves prime rib, tacos, quiche or corn dogs, it will turn out wonderfully. And it can be the peaceful, joyous, and wonderful experience you will remember forever, with out breaking your personal bank. Be original, be you, and go for it! And for those brides who decide that their time is more valuable to them, and want a great and joy filled experience with no stress, consider us at Cactus and Lace Weddings! I bet we can come up with a great plan for you, too! Contact Lory or Rachel, and find out how to save on your Vegas elopement experience with us. But remember, we limit our weddings to 24 per year to provide the best, most intimate, and leisurely day for each of our clients. No cookie cutter, no rush in rush out. We let you truly enjoy the Valley of Fire at a slower pace, so you can truly experience the wonder, the beauty, and the vast quiet of the desert with those you love.
Happy Weddings from Lory and Rachel at Cactus and Lace Weddings!