From the moment you begin your journey into the world of wedding planning there are opportunities to save money. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Make your own invitations, or have a friend or family member make them for you.
2. Instead of RSVPS, save the postage and include an email address and/or phone number.
3. Buy your invitations online. There is more selection online, which means it is easier to find invitations to fit your budget. The fact that in many cases you are buying direct from online sources, you cut out the middle man and the savings are passed on to you. Check out www.etsy.com, www.theuncommonbride.com
4. For some women, a fancy designer gown is a must, but if you’re the type of bride that would rather splurge elsewhere, consider renting your wedding dress or buying it second-hand.
5. Buy your dress online. Sites such as Ebay can offer significant savings on wedding dresses, both second hand and brand new. Other sites such as www.thebridalworld.com offer warehouse prices on new wedding dresses. What about a vintage gown from www.vintageous.com?
6. Consider buying a discontinued dress from a bridal store.
7. If you are having a casual wedding, why not check out area department stores for a dress?
8. Guys, do you really need a tux? What about a suit?
9. If you’re crafty, you can make your own veil and headpiece. Materials can easily be found at a craft store, and instructions can be found on the Internet or in books.
10. Buy inexpensive shoes. Chances are your gown will be long and no one will see your shoes anyway. You can purchase ballerina’s shoes from a dance studio for a reasonable price.
11. Borrow a friend’s crinoline.
12. Buy bridesmaids dresses from a department store.
13. Do your own hair and make-up.
14. Use flowers that are in season and use plenty of greenery in your bouquets.
15. Instead of going to a florist, pick out some pretty garden bouquets from the local grocery store, or go to a flower wholesaler or greenhouse. But do your homework and learn what flowers will work best for your particular setting/season.
16. Have the floral arrangements from the ceremony brought to the reception site.
17. Use floating candles instead of floral centerpieces.
18. Use a single flower in a vase, or float a single flower in a bowl of water instead of an arrangement.
19. Use potted plants or herbs as an alternative to cut flowers.
20. Find pre-loved decorations on eBay.
21. Enlist friends and family and decorate the venue yourself.
22. Make consumable favours, like fudge, jam, or cookies. Handmade soaps and lotions are also lovely.
23. Instead of renting a limo, rent a car.
24. Use your car or the car of a friend or family member to transport you from the ceremony to the reception.
25. Is it necessary to have an elegant rehearsal dinner? If not, why not have a more casual dinner. Why not go out for Chinese food or order a pizza. What about a backyard barbecue?
26. Have your wedding during the off-season (November 1 to April 30).
27. Have your wedding on a Friday night or a Sunday.
28. Have your wedding at Christmastime. Chances are the venue will already be decorated.
29. Have the ceremony and reception at the same location such as a bed and breakfast. Chances are you’ll have less of a rental fee – and you’ll save money on transportation and decorations.
30. Choose a venue that needs little adornment – such as a garden or reception site that is already decorated.
31. Have an appetizer table, instead of having hors d’oeuvres served to each guest.
32. Have friends or family make the appetizers and desserts.
33. Consider having a cocktail reception, instead of a sit-down meal.
34. Have a brunch or lunch reception instead of dinner, or a buffet instead of a plated meal.
35. Have a potluck reception.
36. Instead of serving desserts, use the wedding cake as the dessert. (Everyone will be stuffed anyway!)
37. Borrow items such as the punch bowl and cake knife, instead of purchasing them.
38. Instead of a wedding cake, go to a bakery and order a fancy cake. (Who doesn’t love cheesecake!)
39. Decorate the top of your cake with fresh flowers or fruit instead of a cake topper.
40. Your guests might think you’re cheaping out if you have a cash bar, so have an open bar but limit the types of beverages you serve. Instead of offering hard liquor and mixed drinks, allow the guests to choose from wine, beer and wine coolers.
41. Choose a venue where you can bring your own alcohol.
42. Make your own wine/beer at a do-it-yourself place.
43. Have poured service rather then leaving the wine bottles on the tables.
44. Don’t bother with a champagne toast. (Guests can toast with whatever they are drinking.)
45. Hire one musician for both the ceremony and the reception.
46. Instead of hiring a deejay, create a playlist on your ipod.
47. Have a professional shoot the main shots and opt for the basic package. For all the other shots, provide guests with disposable cameras, or ask friends and family to bring their cameras.
48. Call your local university or college to find out if there are any talented photographers at the school that shoot weddings.
49. Call your local newspaper to find out if any of the photojournalists do weddings.
50. Have a friend videotape the service, instead of hiring a professional.