To many couples, the sound of wedding bells ringing may as well be the sound of a telephone ringing. Why, you ask? Because for those of us who lack the financial means of Mr. Donald Trump, a beautiful wedding often means that the creditors will be calling. Sadly, being capable to afford a nice wedding can be a major stressor on engaged couples, who should be focusing on how much they love one another(a) and enjoying putt together a celebration of that love, rather than worrying about how on earth they are going to feed their guests and still be capable to afford a honeymoon.
Fortunately, there are plenty of things that a couple can do to avoid spending their entire savings on a wedding. Although it is an important and special event, it is just one day, and it is certainly not worth entering into to mountains of divorce-causing debt. The key is to find a happy meeting place ‘tween elegance and affordability.
Before I make any specific suggestions, I would like to discuss some basic rules to keep in mind. First of all, establish a budget. You and your fiancée moldiness know how much money you have to work with from the very beginning or you will likely end up spending way more than planned. Secondly, it is essential to decide what aspects of the wedding ar most important to you. If a spectacularly ornate dress is more important than a stunningly flowery cake, then be sure to properly allocate your wedding budget in order to reflect it. In other words, spend money on the things that ar truly important to you, and you will feel like you have your dream wedding despite having to cut a few corners. Next, be willing to compromise. After you have distinct what matters most in your wedding, begin looking at less expensive options on aspects that you feel less powerfully about. For example, most people could care less about wiping their mouths on a monogrammed napkin. Last, but non least, be ready to roll up your sleeves and do a little work. The more you can do, the less you will pay someone else to do. You can also enlist the assistance and/or talent of close friends and family members. Just don’t forget to show your appreciation for all their help!
Okay, keeping those rules in mind, here are some suggestions for a beautiful wedding on a budget.
Invitations: The invitation is the first thing that people will see in relation to your wedding, and for this reason, many people think that they should spend big bucks for unbelievable invites. Fortunately, the bride-to-be has plenty of cheaper choices thanks to the widespread availability of technology. For professional invitations, look to the internet for help. It is easy to find websites merchandising discounted or discontinuedwedding invitations at low prices and new invitations for less than retail value. With professional invites, remember that multiple envelopes and pieces within the invitation will cost more and mightiness weigh so much that they require extra postage. My point: keep it simple! Technology has also provided us with the means to make beautiful invitations at home. There are lots of kits available with ornamental cardstock, vellum, and ribbon to print some surprisingly elegant invitations on your home computer, and they cost about half the price. These kits can be found in most large craft and hobby stores and on the internet. For something a little less traditional, try completely making your own invitations, using cardstock, ribbon, pressed flowers, stamps, etc. Who says that every invitation has to look just alike? A couple can make something very beautiful and personal for each guest and have a lot of fun doing it!
Choosing Your Bridesmaids: Selecting bridesmaids can often be a tricky situation; after all, you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by exclusion. That being said, you don’t want to break the bank either, so it’s okay if your dad’s ex-boss’s step-cousin isn’t in the line-up. Sure, bridesmaids typically pay for their own dresses, but they don’t come cheap. You will provide flowers, which can be expensive, and gifts for every last one of them; think about the numbers when applied to eight bridesmaids versus three. It can make a huge difference! Also, this will probably take a lot of pressure off of the groom, who likely doesn’t have eight close guy friends to ask into the wedding party.
Guest Selection: Trimming down the guest list is also an important and unmanageable task, but like cutting bridesmaids, it can save big bucks. With more guests, you will obviously pay for more food, but you will also have to rent more tables, chairs and tablecloths, make or buy more centerpieces, provide more liquor $$$, and possibly rent a larger and more expensive venue. Not to mention the fact that making your guest list more exclusive will provide for a more intimate ceremony and reception. In terms of time, you should have at least a few transactions to spend with each guest astatine your reception. If you invite 200 guests and spend two minutes talking to each person, then it will take nearly seven hours to speak with everyone! Keeping that in mind, perhaps you will find it easier to cut out a few people who didn’t really need to be on your guest list in the first place.
The Venue: One of the most important things to look for in a venue is its level of style and appeal anterior to decoration. If you choose a location that suits you very well and that already has a lot of natural beauty, you will spend less decorating it. A sensational venue that costs $1000 mightiness be cheaper in the long run than a mediocre location astatine $500 that will require a lot of money, work, and time to prepare. Remember to ask the person who schedules the venue what items are included with your rental. Many places will provide ample tables and chairs for free. Also, look for a venue that gives you the freedom of choice. Many gorgeous wedding and reception locations (especially hotels) require that you use their services, catering in particular. Often, this means that you will pay exorbitant prices for food, drinks, and a cake. The location’s rental price may look very reasonable, but the whole package could blow your budget. Some of the most unique venues could be some of the least expensive. If you like the look of a place that isn’t typically rented for weddings, find the owner or person responsible for the location and ask if it would be potential to have a wedding and/or reception there. You might find a bargain astatine a place that doesn’t know its own worth as a wedding venue.
The Dress: It’s your day, and of course, you want to look and feel like a princess. Fortunately, there ar ways to do so without purchasing a Badgley Mischka gown. Finding a beautiful dress astatine a great price isn’t as hard as you might think. Keep your eyes peeled and you might find a gem on the discount rack at a bridal shop. Surprisingly enough, the formalwear sections of large department stores carry some very refined white gowns too, and their prices are more than reasonable. Let’s not forget the net as well. Many online shops sell the same gowns you see in bridal shops for up to 40% off of retail. Often, you can try on the same exact style in a bridal shop to see how it looks, then purchase it online for way less. Also, think second-hand. Newspaper columns and the net are filled with brides ready to get rid of those sugary, white confections that they will never wear again. One of my favorite websites is www.usedweddingdresses.com; it features a wide array of styles and sizes, all under $249. Perhaps my favorite idea, look to friends or family members to borrow a dress. Maybe your grandmother still has her gown from the 1940s or 1950s; with a few alterations, you could walk down the aisle in a beautiful vintage dress that has a lot of sentimental value.
Beyond the Dress: The dress isn’
t the only item that the bride will wear on her wedding day, so let’s talk accessories. Perhaps, you don’t feel comfortable purchasing a second-hand wedding gown, but what about purchasing or adoption the veil from someone else? If you are looking for a simple veil, consider making it yourself. Most veils ar just mounds of tulle, which is incredibly cheap and doesn’t have to be hemmed. Instructions can be found online or patterns can be purchased from a fabric store to make a veil for less than $30. This is very reasonable, considering that the veils at bridal shops can cost hundreds of dollars. Finding a tiara and jewellery doesn’t need to be a pricey affair either. Wear your mother’s pearls, borrow your best friend’s tiara, and have your engagement ring polished for some extra sparkle. As far as shoes go, I think you’re crazy to spend more than $30 on something that no one will see. In the case of a tea-length bridal gown, it’s okay to spend a little more for adorable heels, especially since your dress was probably less expensive to begin with.
Personal Grooming: Stylists can be expensive, so with hair and makeup, typically the best thing to do is to do it yourself or have an capable friend help you. You can experiment with as many dissimilar looks as you like for free until you find the one that suits you. Having decided on a look, you can try it out over and over again to make sure that it is perfect before your big day. It is possible to have your make-up done for free at the make-up counters in local department stores; just be sure you know and trust the make-up artist and decide on a look before the wedding day. Brides also tend to drop a lot of money on manicures and pedicures, which are the last things that anyone is going to be paying attention to! Be sure that your nails ar well-groomed and clean, brush on some $3 nail polish, and walk down the aisle proudly.
Flowers: If you ar up to the task, transcription your own flowers is a great way to save tons of money. There are plenty of sources for information on flower arranging, including the cyberspace and books, as well as friends and family with a “good eye” for such things. Unless you are already experienced with real flowers, I would recommend using silks, as they are easier to work with and can be through far in advance of the wedding. Silk flowers ar also much less expensive than real flowers. They can be purchased online at websites such as www.save-on-crafts.com, often at discounted rates if you leverage at least a dozen stems, though I would recommend ordering one stem first in order to make sure that it is what you really want. If arranging your own flowers is not an option or you absolutely must have real flowers, be smart about working with a florist. Use his/her knowledge to your advantage by giving him/her your desired color palette and asking for suggestions on blooms that ar in season or less expensive. You might discover a beautiful alternative to typical wedding flowers that will make your bouquets unique and cheaper. After you have decided on a florist, make good choices about flower placement. It is non necessary to have a big, flowered centrepiece on every table. Place large, ornate arrangements at focal points, and use smaller, simpler arrangements or candles as centerpieces for guest tables. One great idea is to place vases crossways the head table, and ask your bridesmaids to put their bouquets in the vases during the reception. Their flowers will serve as bouquets during the wedding and décor during the reception. If it is potential to move arrangements from the wedding site to the receipt site without much trouble, then you can really make your flowers do double duty.
General Décor: Wedding décor can vary widely depending on the bride’s personal style, but I have a few money-saving suggestions for everyone. As discussed above, choose a venue that is already beautiful so that you will have less decorating to do. Next, buy whatever you can in bulk, such as dozens of silk flowers, large rolls of tulle, and cases candles. One of the best ideas that I have had regarding wedding and response décor is to buy things out of season. For example, if you ar provision on using Christmas lights at your receipt in July, then stock up on lights right after the winter holidays, when they are 75% off. After Valentine’s Day, you will likely find a lot of great bargains on romance-inspired goodies. This is an excellent time to look for boxes of silk rose petals. My friend did just that, and purchased about 20 boxes of petals for $.50 each. What a steal!
Food and Drink: With food, the simpler the better. For a very small budget, a morning or early afternoon wedding power be the solution. This way, you can serve a light breakfast or hors’doerves, rather than a large meal. For those suitable of a dinner reception, there are ways to save money. Last week, I spoke with an excellent chef who was catering an event at my company. For weddings on a budget, she recommended foods that are less complicated to prepare. These foods can be equally beautiful and delicious; they ar less expensive only because they ar less labor intensive for the caterer. She also suggested choosing less expensive meats, like chicken and pork, as the more it costs to make a dish, the more the caterer mustiness charge. In the long run, it all comes down to presentation and flavor. As long as the food looks and tastes delicious, then it doesn’t matter whether it is a simple chicken dish or filet mignon. Another way to save money is to have a buffet rather than a formal dinner. When people serve themselves, you cut the cost of having to pay someone else to serve them, not to mention the extra cost of having a caterer prepare individual plates for everyone. As for serving alcohol, purchase a selection of reasonably-priced champagne, wine, and beer and hire someone to pour instead of paying for an open bar and professional bartender.
The Cake: The cake is generally the focal point of the reception, so it’s important to most brides that it be beautiful. A great way to have an absolutely fabulous cake on a budget is to order a small cake, exquisitely decorated. Use this cake for pictures and the cake-cutting ceremony, and have the bakery make several sheet cakes in the same flavor to be served to guests. Another great way to save money is in choice of frosting. While fondant is currently in style, buttercream ice costs less and has a better flavor. For a very small budget, you could broil your own cake, but I fear that this might be too stressful in the years leading up to a wedding. Most brides simply don’t have the time to worry about baking and decorating a cake. One solution is to ask a friend or family member who is skilled in the kitchen to broil your cake as a wedding gift. If you don’t know anyone capable of creating a satisfactory cake, take a look at your local supermarket; they can produce some pretty telling confections at very reasonable prices (www.publix.com).
Photography: In my opinion, the cost of most wedding photography is excessive. I feel that the industry is aware of how important wedding photos are to a couple, and most photographers will place an outrageous price on great photography just because they can. This alone will eat up a large chunk of your budget, so be careful. Bridal fairs are a great way to meet a lot of photographers astatine once, see their work, and compare prices. Sometimes, more newly established photographers will have better prices and equal talent to those who have been around for a while. Remember that the tip you pay a professional for photographing your big day and providing a book of proofs does not necessarily buy rights to the photos. You will typically have to go through your lensman to buy any copies or dissimilar sizes of prints that you would like in addition to your package price. A great way to get around this is to hire a photography student or a freelancer who will charge less overall and allow you to buy the rights to your wedding photos. As your wedding photos will likely be
very important to you, be sure that you trust your photographer and discuss important shots that you would like to have beforehand, especially with students or freelancers who may be less experient with weddings. For example, if you would like a picture of the groom’s face the first moment he sees you in your wedding gown, let that be known to your photographer. As always, having family and friends take pictures astatine the response is a great idea. Simply have people use their digital cameras and email you the shots!
Music: Music can be taken care of in three ways: with a live band or musician, with a DJ, or with CDs. Personally, I prefer live music, but it is also the most expensive of the three. Live music for the ceremony can sometimes be had for free or very cheaply if you look to friends and family for help. Almost everyone has a cousin or a friend who sings or plays the piano or the violin. If you moldiness have live medicine and don’t know anyone who can perform, compromise by only hiring a band or player for the wedding ceremony. As far as a response goes, DJs can generally provide a wider variety of music than a live band for a much lower price. On a shoestring budget, get together with your fiancée and friends to mix CDs, just be sure to rent a decent sound system if your venue doesn’t have one.
Transport: It mightiness be nice to drive away from your wedding and/or reception in a horse-drawn carriage, a Rolls Royce, or a stretch limo, but it will add significantly to the cost of your wedding. If it is really important to you to make a grand exit, ask a friend or family member with a cool car if you can borrow it for the evening and return it the next day. I like to think of transportation this way: is renting a vehicle for a few hours worth honeymooning for one less day?
I sincerely hope that this was helpful to you brides-to-be who ar short on money and big on style. Remember: for a wedding on a budget the best co-wedding planner you can possibly have is your imagination. Be inventive and creative and most importantly, have a lot of fun!
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