There are lots of wedding budget articles out there on wedding websites and many have great information. However, one thing that I’ve seen is a trend that many of these articles tend to same similar things, but I also see a lot of wedding myths within them.
As a wedding filmmaker and someone who does a lot of wedding research within the industry, I can tell you that there are at least four things that websites tell you that simply aren’t true. (Yes, there are always exceptions)
Today, I’m going to share with you these common misunderstandings and the truth behind them.
Backyard Weddings Are Always Cheaper
Having what’s called a low-key wedding or a backyard DIY wedding doesn’t always mean that it is going cheaper than those that have venue weddings. In fact, most websites will tell you that a backyard BBQ style wedding is cheaper.
Here’s the truth. It’s not always the case. Having a home wedding is still costly, you must buy or rent tables and chairs for everyone, bring in a dance floor, catering and all the other vendors to your home.
Although you’re not renting a venue, you still have to bring everything to you, it’s much the same way if you got married at a church and reception hall. I remember in 2003 I filmed a backyard wedding where the couple was complaining that they spent $14,000 on the wedding and it was in the backyard.
How can you spend $14,000 on a backyard wedding? Well, it’s wrapped up in catering, the dress, wedding photographer, the video, the cake and much more. Just because you’re not spending money on a venue doesn’t always mean you’re saving money.
Buffet is the Best Way to Go for Your Wallet
Speaking of food, it’s often a common mistake that a buffet is cheaper than a plated dinner.
When you’re buying plated food, you are buying a specific amount for a specific number of wedding guests and usually a few extras just in case. Sure, that plated dinner might cost $30 a head, but having a buffet can cost you far more than $30 a head if you are going that route.
The reasons are really two-fold, at a buffet, you tend to offer more choices and your buying a large amount of food. Say for example you have a BBQ with some sides. You have both pork and chicken BBQ and each tray costs more money. Then each side that can feed 25 plus all the extras too, forks, plates, etc. Then you have many people that go back for seconds, thirds, etc. Each trip a guest makes is being taken right out of the pocketbook.
For a buffet style dinner, you also have various portion controls too. Some might like a little or something while others might like a lot of that same thing. That creates an issue with more costs. Think about it this way, say your 100 guests all have a buffet dinner and 20 of them go back for seconds and 5 go back for thirds.
Well in a plated scenario with the same 100 people, they might have a choice of proteins for example, chicken vs fish, but everyone gets a similar size portion, etc.
20 second round trips and 5 third round trips to the buffet line doesn’t sound like much but those 25 extra trips cost you an added $750 in food.
Plated Dinner Cost Example
$30*100 = $3,000
Buffet Style Dinner Example
$30*125 (trips) = $3,750
If you do the math, most times it’s cheaper to have a plated dinner.
Wedding Dinner Trips/Servings
Wedding Dinner Overall Costs
Cupcakes are Cheaper than Tiered Cakes
Keeping with the food, couples often times think it’s cheaper to do cupcakes and that’s a mistake that some couples make.
While cupcakes can be a fun alternative to a wedding cake, they're not necessarily more economical. Each cupcake must be individually decorated, which might mean you'll need more pricey sugar appliques and often just as much of the baker's time and effort.
Many bakeries charge at least $4 per slice for a decorated, tiered cake with fancy accents (the average wedding cake costs $540). The easiest way to save money on your wedding cake is to keep it simple. Choose buttercream over fondant (it's tastier anyway), see if you can add a cake to your catering package, serve smaller slices or opt for real blooms over sugar flowers.
IN fact, if you want to do the cheapest yet most effective route, have a dummy tiered cake with the top layer as real that you can cut into, then have the baker do sheet cake for serving to the guests. Sheet cakes are much cheaper than anything else out there.
The In-Season Myth
You've likely heard it before—even from us—that local, in-season flowers are generally more cost-effective than importing the same variety when it's out of season. But here's where the myth part comes in: Some flower varieties are grown year-round on commercial flower farms near the equator, so their costs don't fluctuate. So, even if they're not technically in season naturally, one could say they're never out of season. It all comes down to availability though.
Sunflowers, for example, can be imported from farms in South America year-round, so prices stay constant. Peonies, on the other hand, must be chased around the globe from season to season. This limited availability is what drives prices up.
Rather than research into the world of flower markets, opt for lookalike blossoms. If your favorite florals won't be in season for your wedding, ask your florist for similar bud recommendations.
For example, garden roses look like peonies, but they're often a more cost-effective option as they're more easily sourced all year. Another option?
Splurge on a couple pricey stems you really want, then complete your arrangements with lush foliage or less expensive fillers like baby's breath or spray roses.
Bonus Wedding Budget Myth: Wedding Video
Yes, having a wedding video can be affordable and doable if you look at what I have to offer. Normally, wedding video is one of those line items that it chopped on the block almost immediately when planning a wedding on a budget. What’s different about what I offer is twofold.
First, I allow you to setup a payment plan. It’s a bit different from the traditional, half now, half later scenario, where you put down 20% for a deposit and you make payments up until the wedding, you can even choose how long you want to make payments for, between 2 and 10 months’ time.
Second, I’ve LOWERED my prices to better help couples that want a film. Yes, I lowered, not increased my costs. That’s because I’m only doing a handful of weddings a year and I don’t need to rely on wedding video to make my livelihood anymore.
Finally, if you’re still tight on getting a film from me, you can choose just the ceremony video as an option. I’ve changed everything to an a la carte menu, where you can pick and choose what you want. For roughly $500, I can provide you a professional wedding video that you can watch time and time again. You don’t have to spend a lot to get a ceremony video. Skipping it is something that you’ll later regret too, trust me.