After the first flush of excitement wears of your engagement dies down, it's time to get serious about wedding planning. The estimates for weddings run from the basic to the extravaganzas like Kim Kardashian's latest wedding. Can't afford an extravaganza but still want to have a nice wedding? Don't worry, it is doable, but it will take planning.
Plan Early To Save
One of the best ways to save money on your wedding is to start planning early. If you start planning about 9 months to a year before your wedding you should be able to buy some decorative items on clearance (one of my favorite words!).
Planning early also gives you time to work out some bartering arrangements with vendors. Need a photo booth? Spend a few months working for the company of your choice and get one for free. Depending on your job skills you may be able to cut the costs of your wedding significantly.
Careful Choice of Time of Day for Wedding and Reception
A brunch or lunch wedding reception will cut down on the cost of food for your reception. It will also cut down on one big cost-alcohol! Make some non-alcoholic punch that is both pretty and tastes great with your menu.
Location, Location, Location
Look for a location that is 'wedding ready.' While an empty hall might seem more cost effective, by the time you add the costs of decorating it to mask it's usual use and turn it into a wedding hall, your costs will have skyrocketed.
Renting the things you need is less expensive than buying it, but it's still costly to rent everything. I once thought an outdoor wedding would be less expensive--but then I did a cost analysis on the price of renting a tent, dance floor, cooling system, wedding port-a-potties, tables, chairs, everything my caterer would need that they didn't already have...and it ran up the costs significantly.
Some venues have an in house florist or have rooms that have brass sconces on the walls or chandeliers that make your wedding location look great without adding anything. Often they have wedding appropriate centerpieces that come as part of the rental cost. So do your research. Starting early gives you a chance to find the prime spots or that undiscovered gem.
Think Outside-The Box Do You Really Need A Church?
Think outside the box. Sometimes you can rent part of a city, county or state park and use their gazebo. Or rent one yourself for two or three hours. My church charges over $500 just to use the church, plus clean up fees, clergy fees, organist fees, altar boy fees, and when I totally everything up it was $1400. For less than an hour! You had no choice of music or type of ceremony--one size fits all.
No Photographer Is Worth Five Thousand Dollars
Photography and videography can cost a fortune. Consider having friends and/or family take photos using 8 mega pixel cameras. These let you auto-correct so you won't lose that shot you MUST have.
Or decide what part of your wedding you must have recorded for posterity. If the ceremony is your must have, hire someone to just do a video for that time and skip the reception. Here you can let your friends have free reign taking candid videos. You don't really need all the captions and music in some videos, just the basics please!
Cakes. I love wedding cakes. But the rule of thumb with cakes (and for the rest of the wedding) is K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid!). Don't go for ornate floral designs. Have the cake decorated with small dots of icing and edged to make it look bridal. Add your personal cake topper and WOW!
Also you don't have to have a full three or four tiered cake. A variety of companies make 'cake dummies' that they'll decorate, just adding a place to slice a piece for your photo op and a top to put away for your anniversary.
Meanwhile you can serve your guests a simple sheet cake with an attractive filling. Another option? Go to your local grocery store not a fancy baker. Simple!
What to Wear?
Dresses for you and your bridesmaids can be an expensive option. But one wedding I went to a few years ago was held in a park. The bride's dress was simple but pretty. Her maid of honor and bridesmaids wore black cocktail dresses they already owned. They carried single sunflowers tied with a satin ribbon. Simple? Yes. Effective? Very. Inexpensive? $700 for everything. That's four attendants, the bride, all the flowers, and shoes. The bulk of the money was spent on the bride's gown.
So yes, you can do it. As they say, the devil is in the details! Plenty of prep time gives you time to plan efficiently and save money at the same time.
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