For many women, it’s the day they’ve been dreaming about since childhood. For most men, the dream is … uh, not quite as detailed. Most couples spend months planning the big day, and spend thousands of dollars doing it. However, the financial burden doesn’t need to be devastating. From large traditional weddings to small informal ones, there are many ways to cut costs without cutting apart the perfect wedding.
[SET YOUR BUDGET]
Before cutting the bills, figure out how much money is available. Traditionally the bride’s parents foot most of the bill, but times have changed. Usually both sets of parents contribute, as well as many couples. Determine what you can spend and plan accordingly.
[CUT THE GUEST LIST]
It may sound harsh, but the whole world doesn’t need to come to your wedding. The biggest way to save money is to shrink the size. Each guest costs you an invitation, program, dinner, drinks, dessert and table favors. On the short end of the stick, assume you’re paying $30 per person. Take 10 people off the list and you’ve saved $300! It adds up quick.
[TRY PARKS, GARDENS OR HOMES]
Outdoor weddings can be tough to plan due to weather, but they can also be the most beautiful. Parks and gardens can provide you with gorgeous surroundings for little or no money. If you know someone with a wonderful home, they may be willing to let you use it for nothing. Start with family or close friends and see what happens.[UN-SATURDAY, HOLIDAYS OR OFF PEAK]
Trying to book reception halls, photographers, DJs and anything else can be a nightmare if you want to get married on a Saturday during peak wedding months, and the cost is astronomical. Moving the date to a Friday, Sunday or Thursday changes everything. You’ll find it easier and dramatically cheaper. Holidays like Memorial Day and Labor Day also help you cut your costs and make it easier for out-of-town guests to attend. Another option: winter weddings. It may be chilly, but you won’t be competing with as many couples.
[PRINT YOUR OWN INVITES]
Not only can you add a unique and very personal touch to the whole wedding, you’ll cut your bills down to size. You can go through someone you know or do them at home. You may increase time and effort; this one can be a little tricky. Other invite stuff: If you stick with a standard size and weight, and use postcard-size response cards, you’ll end up saving hundreds of dollars on postage. See your local post office for sizes, weights and postage rates.
[THE INTERNET IS YOUR FRIEND]
A quick look on Ebay and you’ll find almost 20,000 wedding-related items being auctioned off. Whatever you’re looking for, it’s on the Net somewhere for less. Spend a little time clicking around and you’ll find everything you need to make the big day the best for less.
[LET FRIENDS SNAP THE SHOTS]
If you know some people with nice cameras and a good eye for photos, have them handle it all. Buy a bunch of film and let them go nuts. They’ll be honored and it’ll only cost you the film and developing. But make sure you trust them and that you have several people getting the job done. At the reception, leave disposable cameras on the tables (without kids) and let all your guests get in on capturing all the memories. They’ll be able to get more shots than a regular photographer also.
[LOOK INTO PACKAGES]
Some reception halls offer complete packages. You can get the ceremony, photographer, flowers, food, drinks, DJ and more, all under one roof. Not only can this save time, but it also saves a lot of time and headache. It’s not for everyone, but it’s well worth looking into.[NEGOTIATE]
Just because you see a price doesn’t mean you have to pay it. If demand for weddings is low (see above – [UN-SATURDAY, HOLIDAYS, OR OFF PEAK]), people will be more flexible because they need your business more. Shop around to determine where the market is on photography and flowers and come in a little below.
[TRY A WHOLESALER]
You can find dresses, flowers and other wedding items for less if you go to a wholesaler. They make their money through the volume of business they do, so the price ends up being much less than a specialty boutiques. Check the Internet and you’ll find some quickly.[USE YOUR RESOURCES]
There’s a wealth of resources right at your fingertips. Besides the web, there’s everyone you know and everyone they know. Odds are you know someone who knows someone who’s a photographer, or a cake maker or calligrapher. You probably know a number of people who have gotten married in the last few years, so use all their information and advice to help you know where to go to save yourself some green. So cut loose, cuts costs and have fun. It’s easier and cheaper than you think to have your dream wedding. You just have to know where to look.
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