Parents know all too well how expensive it can be raising children. Even if you put their everyday costs like school fees, allowances and food expenses to one side, you still have to save for their college, university and other things that may come later. In these circumstances, it can be incredibly hard to find any money to finance your own wedding. You don’t want to take anything away from your wedding experience, but neither do you want to disrupt the lives of your children.
You need to start planning in advance and take steps to save as much as you can as early as possible. Strike a balance; you don’t want to compromise on things that could leave your children at a disadvantage. Once you have a budget, you need to be smart about how you spend it.
Below we discuss how you can save for and then finance your wedding when you are a parent.
Saving money to finance your wedding
If you have children, more often than not, the majority of your living expenses are centered on your kids. While most of these are essentials, you can try cutting down some costs to help for your wedding.
Take for instance their extracurricular activities. These days, kids are expected to take part in a whole range of activities, starting from piano lessons in the afternoon to football practice in the evening. These can be quite expensive. Not to mention the amount of fuel you burn up driving your children to and fro. Limit these activities to just one per child. Also sometimes there are group discounts available. Try and make use of these by enrolling all your children in the same activity at the same place.
Another way you can save some money is changing their, and by extension your, eating habits. When you go for grocery shopping, buy generic food in bulk. Keep an eye out for coupons or discount offers and make use of these. Also limit eating out. No more of those Happy Meals at McDonalds. Cook at home and encourage home cooked meals. Pack them homemade lunches instead of giving them lunch allowances.
You have to give your children pocket money. You can’t really stop that. But what you can do is to make them earn it. Give them chores to do. Make them clean out their rooms, wash the dishes and the car, mow the lawn. Why spend money on hired help when you have children?
Young children tend to use and abuse toys at will. You buy them a brand new shiny remote control car, and within a week it will be forgotten. So don’t buy them brand new toys. Search for garage sales or see if anyone you know has children that are outgrowing their toys. Go secondhand, find used toys and save some money for your wedding.
Saving money on the wedding
Once you have saved enough money to finance your wedding, you still need to make sure that things stay within budget. In fact, you wouldn’t really mind having some leftover that you could invest back into your children.
It is important to remember that there is a wedding season that usually starts in May and goes up to October. During the wedding season, everything is more expensive. It is just your normal supply-demand economics at play. Avoid this season and you should be able to save quite a bit. Always look online for cheaper deals – Katie from Orla James highly recommends shopping around as internet prices are always cheaper than the high street.
Remember, an evening event is always going to be much more expensive than one held in the afternoon. You save on the food and drinks as well as lighting. People automatically eat and drink less at this time of the day. As far as decoration is concerned, try and go for an elegant minimalistic look. Pick flowers that are in season and grown locally. Use more green and less flowers.
Call your friends and see if they can recommend an amateur photographer or someone who enjoys it as a hobby. A professional photographer could be quite expensive, so explore the alternatives. The same goes for entertainment. Maybe someone among your friends or family is in a band. Maybe there is a DJ that you know. Tell them to showcase their talent at your wedding.
Last but not the least, double and triple check your guest list. Trim it down as much as you can. The majority of your wedding expenses are guest overheads. You can save a lot by reducing the number of guests invited. Just think about it. You need less space to host your wedding and can save on venue costs. Smaller seating arrangement, less food and drinks, less wedding favours. Put everything together and you end up saving a substantial amount.