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10 Ways to Keep Your Wedding Expenses Manageable

10 Ways to Keep Your Wedding Expenses Manageable

The average wedding costs $31,213. This can be burdensome even if your parents are helping you, but many savvy older or LGBT couples end up paying for everything without any assistance. With this in mind, it is important to look for ways to reduce your expenses without giving up on your dream wedding. Fortunately, utilizing even just one or two of the following tips can make your wedding much more budget friendly.

1. Cut Back on Your Guest List

There is often a lot of pressure to invite a large list of people, including some friends of the family who you might not even know. Instead of giving into this pressure, sit down and make a list of the friends and family who truly mean a lot to you. Keep in mind that the typical cost of catering for each person is approximately $68, and this does not include extras such as party favors. In other words, if you invite 100 people, you can expect to spend $6,800 on food alone. However, if you can cut your guest list to 50 people, your catering expenses will be slashed in half.

2. Get Married on a Sunday or at a Rural Venue

Many venues offer discounted pricing if you choose a Sunday or weekday for your ceremony and reception. It is also common to get a better price from a rural location that is far off the beaten path. A prime example of both of these price-saving methods is showcased by a popular Michigan rural barn venue that charges up to $2,800 on Saturdays but offers a reduced Sunday rate of no more than $2,100. Discounts of this nature are common throughout the wedding venue industry, but they are never guaranteed. Make sure that you carefully review pricing options before you get your heart set on a specific venue.

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3. Carefully Shop for a Low Rate Personal Loan

No one wants to start their marriage with a mountain of debt, and this is another solid reason to minimize your wedding expenses. However, if you need some financial assistance to take care of everything, it is wise to take the time to carefully shop for the best possible loan option. An online personal loan rate comparison tool can help you save time while still acquiring the lowest APR for your credit level.

4. Skip the Designer Wear

Many people feel compelled to wear a dress or tuxedo that was created by a well-known designer, but the reality is that this is not the best place to spend a large percentage of your wedding budget. After all, the odds are high that the clothing you choose will never be worn again, and there is a huge variety of budget-friendly wedding outfits that come with a much smaller price tag. As long as you look and feel great in your dress or tux, the label that no one else will even see really shouldn’t matter.

5. Go Trendy on a Budget

If you assume that being in line with the latest wedding trends will cost too much money, then you may want to reassess what is actually trendy right now. In fact, pizza buffets for dinner have never been more popular, and many couples are opting for donuts instead of a traditional cake. These options could be even more beneficial if you simply cannot cut your guest list down. Feeding everyone pizza, salad, and breadsticks from a local or chain establishment can easily cut your per person catering costs from an average of $68 all the way down to less than $5 each.

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6. Pick One Must-Have and Structure Your Budget Cuts Accordingly

Most couples have one must-have component for their wedding. This might be a pricey venue that you both fell in love with or the best possible wedding photographer you can afford. Either way, narrowing your must-haves down to one major item will make it easier to cut expenses in other categories. Keep in mind that photos are one of the few things that will actually last forever, so this is a commonly chosen top must-have.

7. Take a DIY Approach to Decorations

Wedding décor can be very expensive, but thanks to Pinterest, it is now easier than ever to take a DIY approach. One crafty couple was able to have a wedding with 150 people for only $18,335 even though they didn’t cut corners with their catering, photography, or wedding dress. Instead, they made their own decorations, which kept the décor budget to a mere $600.

If you choose to go the DIY route, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind. First, take the time to research your DIY options to ensure that the price of the supplies isn’t more than buying something similar that is premade. Secondly, you may be able to find really low prices on popular items such as mason jars by checking wedding message boards and Craigslist.

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8. Use an Alternative Registry to Pay for Your Honeymoon

Do you already have everything you need in your home? If so, there is no reason to have a traditional wedding shower or to register for household items. Instead, you can turn to an alternative registry such as Honeyfund or Honeymoon Wishes. These sites make it possible for you to list specific experiences you would like to have on your honeymoon. Your guests can then select an experience and make an online payment or give you a check that covers the applicable costs. In other words, you will be receiving cash instead of gifts, but your guests will get to feel like they have actually purchased you something.

9. Allow Family and Friends to Offer Their Services in Lieu of a Gift

Do you have talented friends or family members who can make DIY crafts? Perhaps you know someone who is a registered officiant or a DJ? Enabling these people to offer their services in lieu of a gift is a great way to bring your wedding expenses down. However, keep in mind what a comparable wedding professional would charge for the service in question, and make sure that you give a tip or a small gift as a thank you.

10. Keep Your Wedding Party Small

Your wedding party can be as big or as small as you want it to be, which means that you do not need to stick with the average of five bridesmaids and groomsmen. Cutting your wedding party down to two or four people who will be standing up with you will not only make planning and photos easier, but it will also reduce your related expenses. Even though your wedding party is most likely paying for their own outfits and any travel costs, you still need to give each of them a gift for their participation. It will also typically take longer to do photos with a large wedding party, which could require you to pay for more time with your photographer.

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Now that you have some helpful tips for reducing the cost of your wedding, it is time to ensure that your personality is allowed to shine through. For example, if you and your soon-to-be spouse love Star Wars or cosplay, there are many ways to geek out on your big day. You should also consider creating a wedding map for your guests if everything is not happening at the same location.

Featured photo credit: barrdaydon via pixabay.com

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Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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Last Updated on July 4, 2019

25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

Whether you’re five or ninety five, the internet has a lot to offer. Particularly when the topic is education, the resources on the internet are endless.

Best of all, many high quality sites are completely free. From history to coding, excellent free online education awaits on the following 25 sites.

1. Coursera

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    Coursera is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world. This brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database.

    Coursera is a powerful tool for free online education, and includes courses from many top universities, museums and trusts. This gives the site an extremely wide range of in-depth courses.

    Coursera is extremely useful if you’re looking to study many different topics, or want courses from different schools and groups.

    2. Khan Academy

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      Partnering with many post secondary schools, Khan Academy offers a useable, well organized interface. Also curating many courses from around the web, Khan Academy offers impressive depth on many different subjects.

      Among the more well known educational sites, Khan Academy is also incredibly useable, which may make it easier to keep learning goals.

      3. Open Culture Online Courses

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        If you are struggling to find exactly the material you are looking for, try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos and podcasts from universities around the world. The site features a lot of material found only on universities private sites, all in easy to browse categories. This means you can find hundreds of university courses, without having to visit and search each university’s own site.

        Open Culture’s list features courses from England, Australia, Wales and many state universities around the United States. A very helpful resource for finding many courses in one area of study.

        4. Udemy 

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          Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but additionally allows users to build custom courses from lessons.

          Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customizable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top quality content. This is another site however, that mixes free and paid content.

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          5. Academic Earth

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            Another site with courses from many different schools is Academic Earth. Much like the three sites above, Academic Earth brings together top notch courses from many different sources, and focuses on offering a wide variety of subjects.

            Academic Earth lists courses by subject and school, so it might be easier to find what you’re looking for.

            6. edX

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              Another great option for free online education is edX. Also bringing together courses from many different schools, the site has impressive, quality information for everyone. edX covers a great range of topics.

              7. Alison

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                Unlike the previous sites on this lists, Alison is a free education site offering certification in some areas. Alison offers courses mainly in business, technology, and health, but also includes language learning courses.

                It’s a great option if users need certification for their learning as Alison also offers school curriculum courses.

                8. iTunesU Free Courses

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                  A very convenient place for free online education is iTunesU, because it integrates seamlessly with your iPod, or any app-ready Apple mobile device. On iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, users download the iTunesU app.

                  Desktop users can access  iTunesU on the upper right hand corner of the iTunes Store. iTunesU is also convenient because the store is categorized much like iTunes.

                  Users can search learning materials in many different ways, including genre and topic. However, courses are often a mix of free podcasts or videos, and paid content.

                  ITunesU does include courses on a pretty wide scope of topics, but does not integrate with Android, Google or Windows mobile devices.

                  9. Stanford Online

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                    Your hub for all the online offerings from Stanford University, Stanford Online offers self-paced and session based courses. While Coursera features some courses from Stanford, many classes are only available via other hosts. Some courses require iTunes, but most are completed in your web browser.

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                    Stanford Online is a great site for high quality courses, though the topics are somewhat limited compared to sites partnered with more than one school.

                    10. Harvard Extension

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                      Like Stanford Online, Harvard Extension features free online education courses from Harvard only. This is another excellent source for top notch course material, though the course variety is less rich than multi-school sites.

                      Additionally, Harvard Extension allows you to search for courses by professional certificate. This makes it much easier if your online education goal includes certification.

                      11. Open Yale Courses

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                        Open Yale Courses echoes Harvard Extension and Stanford Online, in that it offers only courses from Yale. While the site is similarly limited to topics taught at the school, Open Yale Courses offers a lot of videos of actual campus lectures. The availability of videos makes the site a great option if you’re looking for quality courses, but learn better by watching than by reading.

                        12. UC Berkeley Class Central

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                          Much like the other schools on this list, UC Berkeley has a variety of free online education options. The school has slightly fewer courses than the schools above, but includes some supplementary lectures, webcasts and RSS Feeds, making it easy to keep up with the topics you choose.

                          13. MIT OpenCourseWare

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                            Similarly, MIT offers a variety of free courses. The school has a comparable number of courses to the schools above, plus includes very in-depth course materials on the subjects available. MIT also offers free RSS feeds, a convenient way to continue learning.

                            14. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

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                              Carnegie Mellon’s free online education site is comparable with the other school’s on this list, however, Open Learning Initiative also covers a smaller range of topics. But for the topics that are covered impressive, in-depth material is available.

                              15. Codecademy

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                                Codecademy is a website dedicated specifically to teaching coding. Where other coding sites follow an example/practice session workflow, Codecademy includes a live practice window. This means you can practice coding while still viewing the lesson material.

                                The courses at Codecademy are well written and easy to follow and the website is organized very nicely. Codecademy features a centralized dashboard where you can monitor your progress, plus organizes lessons into complete modules. This lets you learn an entire language without needing to pick the next course manually.

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                                16. Code

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                                  Code is another website focused on coding and app writing. A site with high quality courses, Code also features learning options for kids.

                                  In addition to kid friendly courses, Code offers free online education classes on a wide variety of technology topics. These classes include app writing, robotics and Javascript.

                                  Most of the courses are also geared in a such a way that they can be useful in a classroom setting. This makes Code a great resource for harder to find coding topics, as well as various learning settings.

                                  17. University of London Podcasts

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                                    The podcast page on the University of London website is another great source for free education. While the courses are limited to podcasts, the site features podcasts from it’s own campus, as well as eleven universities in and around London. This gives learners a wide base of topics and lectures, but still ensures in-depth material.

                                    18. University of Oxford Podcasts

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                                      Similar to the University of London, the University of Oxford features many different podcasts. Most are public lecture series or lectures from visiting professors, with several different recordings available.

                                      The advantage to this particular site is that podcasts are organized into series, making it easy to subscribe to multiple lectures on one topic. Another good site for thoroughly in-depth lectures.

                                      19. BBC Podcasts

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                                        For the more casual learner, the BBC offers a wide variety of podcasts on many different topics. Most podcasts are updated weekly, and focus on everything from finance, to sports, to current events.

                                        Through the World Service line of podcasts, there are also many in different languages. The focus of these podcasts are less in-depth and theory based, which may be more accessible to the average person.

                                        20. TED-Ed

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                                          Another great destination for more general learning is TED-Ed. From the same people that brought you the all encompassing, motivational web series, comes a site chocked full of educational videos. Most include impressive animation, and all are ten minutes long or less.

                                          Not only is TED-Ed an excellent site for the curious, it also includes supplemental materials and quizzes on the videos. This makes the site extremely useful in formal education settings, as well as in entertaining ways to brush up on new discoveries and topics.

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                                          21. LessonPaths

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                                            LessonPaths is another great tool for those looking for a more usable and convenient way to access learning material. On this site, users create link playlists of their favorite learning materials from other sites. Users then rank these collections, making it easy to find many different high quality, accessible sources on a given topic.

                                            22. Memrise

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                                              Another impressive free online education site offering ease of use and convenience is Memrise. Available both on desktop and as an app, Memrise is a particularly powerful tool if you are studying a language. The site encompasses many other topics as well, though some of the course material is user generated content.

                                              Part of what makes Memrise special is their integration of games into the learning materials, mixing learning with entertainment.

                                              23. National Geographic Kids

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                                                The kids site for National Geographic is another site that makes free online education applicable for younger users. For those looking for kid friendly education, a large variety of games, puzzles, videos and photos keeps kids interested on this site.

                                                National Geographic Kids doesn’t organize learning into courses, making materials available by topic and medium instead. This makes National Geographic Kids a good option for those looking for a more casual learning environment.

                                                24. Fun Brain

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                                                  Fun Brain is another good option for kids who want to learn online, but focuses on games and fun puzzles. Particularly focused on math and reading, Fun Brain’s game based approach can be valuable if the child in question struggles to pay attention.

                                                  Fun Brain offers rewards and challenges as well, and is another site aimed at a casual learning experience for kids K-8.

                                                  25. Whyville

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                                                    Similar to the sites for kids free online education is Whyville a destination for preteen online learning. The site includes a variety of social features, with a focus on learning materials geared for young teens.

                                                    Whyville also mixes in educational games, to make the site a well rounded option for kids too old for simple games, but too young for heavy reading based material.

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                                                    Featured photo credit: Dai KE via unsplash.com

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