200 Wedding Tips and Ideas

The Bridal Shower/Bachelorette

Bridal shower table setting

The bridal shower and the bachelorette party are two of the most fun, frolic-filled events of any wedding celebrations.

It is the time when you get together with your girls, gossip, discuss your upcoming nuptials, fantasize about life ahead, and of course, share some naughty tidbits.

When you’re meeting with the girl friends who have been the pillars of your life so far, and will continue to guide and support you, to celebrate your marriage, it’s a special time in itself.

On the other hand unlike the recent trend of having huge extravagant bachelorette parties and bridal showers, you do not have to spend lots of money to be able to relish your girls’ time out. Here’s how:

1. Organize it in your house

So you’ve decided to have a bridal shower or a bachelorette party (or both!) and the first question to come to mind is undoubtedly going to be about the “where”. Any woman who’s organized her own bridal shower will be able to tell you that the major chunk of the expense is generated from renting a place to host the shower in.
If you’re on a budget, there’s really no place better than your own house to organize a bachelorette/bridal shower. You should have enough room to host your invitees, serve food, play some nice music and interact with each other. If you’ve got a backyard or small garden, even better.

2. Don’t call every single person on the guest list

Limit the number of people you call. Most women only choose to call their closest friends, some choice acquaintances from work and of course, sisters and cousins. You don’t have to call every single woman from your wedding guest list. These events are meant for intimate, carefree fun so not only will you save money with a limited invitees list, it’ll also be more enjoyable.

3. Consider a public place as a venue

If you’re planning to have your bachelorette/bridal shower in pleasant weather, outdoor venues are a great option. If you have a community park or a local garden or some such similar spot close by, you can easily organize a small get-together there. It’ll be informal, true, nevertheless you can still save a lot of money with a “picnic-esque” approach.

4. Avoid organizing in the evening

Whether it’s the rent for the venue, or the cost of catering, or even the amount of alcohol your guests will consume, all the expenses will be relatively higher should you organize in the evening. Instead, have a nice lunch or a little tea party. It’s elegant, it’s economical and it’s just as perfect.

5. Everyone chips in for the food

These women-only events are obviously informal and there is no way that all your close friends and family won’t love to do their bit by bringing a dish each. Make your bridal shower a potluck event and each guest can bring her specialty. You’ll be surprised by how many of your friends and family would love to contribute to the festivities.

6. Pretty handmade invites are the way to go

The key to organizing a bridal shower or a bachelorette party is to remember, it’s a time to let your hair down and go a little crazy. So getting embossed and engraved invites shaped like scrolls is really a tad much. Get some colorful craft paper, pick up some craft scissors with different edges, throw in some glitter, glue and ribbons and make some pretty, personalized and penny-saving invites.

The Bride’s Attire

Portait for bride all in white.

All wedding-budget experts agree: the bride’s outfit is probably the one aspect of the wedding that you just cannot skimp on.

When you look at pictures ten, twenty, thirty years from your wedding day, you shouldn’t feel sad having bought a dress that wasn’t quite you.

So, most wedding money saving tips do suggest keeping a slightly more realistic amount aside for the wedding attire.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t save a lot of money on the bride’s attire!
There are many little nifty tricks you can try and save hundreds, even thousands, of dollars on what you wear on your special day.

7. Fix a budget for the entire outfit

Before you can begin shopping for your bridal attire, you have GOT TO fix a budget for it. Sure, you cannot quite put an exact number on how much you’ll spend on the dress, the shoes, the veil, the accessories and so on, but you do have to put an upper limit on how much you are willing to spend.

It’s entirely possible that you might have to put aside a little extra and allow for an unexpected expense, however starting out without a ceiling limit is just asking for trouble. When you know what your limit is, it will be that much harder to lose focus and spend beyond your means.

8. Know exactly what you want so that you don’t get carried away later

Most women have a fairly good idea of the kind of wedding dress they want. It’s important to have a clear vision of what you want to wear at the wedding because when you’re visiting a boutique it is easy to lose track and get lost in all the lace, taffeta and silk creations.

Do some research, figure out the kind of dress that fits both your budget and your dreams and narrow down the broader details of cut, color, fabric, styling and stitching before you actually start browsing.

9. Revamping an old dress

If someone close to you has a wedding dress they’re willing to give to you, it’s the perfect opportunity to save some money. To make it truly yours, you can get it modified when you’re getting it altered. Add some lace or embroidery to the hem or the wrists, dip the neckline a bit or pull the bodice up, introduce some pearls or threadwork on the body and you’ve got a new dress, without the price tag.

10. When to look (discount seasons)

If you’re going to buy your wedding dress during peak wedding season, be prepared to shell out large sums of money. If, however, you have some time till your wedding, try to buy during an off-season. Months from November to March are typically not wedding season because of the cold weather, so you can get some great discounts at these times.

11. Ask a designer friend to help

All of us know someone who is a fashion designer or someone who loves to sew. Tap into your circle of friends and look for somebody who’d be happy to make you a dress. You’re still going to have to pay them, but it will be a fraction of what you would be paying a boutique or a designer store.

12. Discount/thrift/vintage shops

Many brides-to-be have walked into thrift or vintage stores expecting to find dishwater rags, and walked out feeling like Cinderella (post the dishwater-rag phase, of course). You’d be surprised to know the kind of jewels that can be unearthed at discount stores and vintage shops. Sure, most of it is second-hand stuff, then again you might just hit the jackpot with an unworn dress or a second-hand piece that is better than anything designer!

For more ideas on where to find cheap wedding dresses click here.

13. Renting not buying

It’s understandable that for your wedding day, you’d rather own the dress you’ll be married in than rent it, however if you are on a tight budget, there’s no better way to save the money. Do a quick online search and you will find many “bridal gowns for hire” businesses in your city. Check their inventories or visit them if they have a store and you might just find something dreamy, for 1/10th the price of a new gown.

14. DIY

When you have a wedding to plan and a million little things to take care of, sewing your own wedding dress can be a mammoth task. However, if you do have the luxury of time on your side and you’re talented at designing, stitching and sewing, you can literally save thousands of dollars on buying a dress. What’s more, you’ll know exactly what you want and the dress will truly be one of a kind, made just for you.

15. Buy an evening gown

If you are having a casual wedding there is nothing stopping you from purchasing a well fitted evening gown. You can make it more special by adding embellishments such as beads and lace details.

16. Buy a bridesmaid’s dress instead

Buying a bridesmaid’s dress is a little secret that is quickly catching on like wildfire. The great thing about bridesmaids’ dresses is that they’re glamorous, gorgeous, and available in all styles and most of all, much cheaper than actual wedding gowns. If you’re going for a particular color, you’ll probably be able to find it without difficulty, and if not, you can always get the dress dyed!

17. Buy materials at wholesale rates and pay for stitching and designing

A little fact that most people don’t realize is that the cost of most custom-made dresses is divided into two parts: the cost of the material and the cost of stitching and designing. If you can find a store or wholesaler who you can buy the material from, you can save a bundle on your dress. You’ll be surprised to find that in most cases, the designing and stitching only account for about 10-20% of the total cost of the outfit! The rest is all for the materials, buying and outsourcing them!

18. Buy online

Buying a wedding dress online is a recent trend that has become vastly popular. With hundreds of little online boutiques popping up by the moment, modern day brides-to-be have a distinct advantage over their yesteryears’ counterparts. Now, all you have to do is log online, search for discount wedding stores and you can browse hundreds of affordable wedding dresses, in the luxury of your own home! Make sure you check out customer testimonials’, credentials, returns policy and legitimacy of the business before purchasing though!

19. Getting wedding shoes on a budget

For the wedding shoes, there are plenty of great ways to save money: you can buy the shoes from a discount shop, you can get them from an online store, you can borrow them, or you can even go in for regular dress shoes in a color and style that matches your wedding outfit.

20. Make your own veil or borrow one

Many women are shocked to learn that wedding veils can easily cost upward of a few hundred dollars or more, and if you’re having a wedding ceremony where you require a veil, you can hardly stick a piece of lace over your face. However, if you’re handy with a sewing machine or know someone who is, all you need to do is buy some fine lace or tulle and make your own. Then there’s always the option of borrowing a veil.

21. Change the fabric on your dream dress

If you have your heart set on a designer wedding dress you can save about 30% by simply using a cheaper fabric (even more if you purchase the fabric on sale). For example a wedding gown made from duchess satin will be considerably less than one made in embroidered organza which due to it’s sheerness will have the added cost due to the fact that it will need to be lined.

22. Choose your gown from a bridal store that includes alterations in its pricing

There are some bridal boutiques that offer minor alterations in their pricing. This could be the perfect opportunity for you if your chosen gown has to be altered slightly and better still if your gown is on sale.

23. Wear flowers in your hair

Instead of spending money on a wedding veil you could use flowers or decorative combs or hairpins in your hair. This might not be your choice if you were to have a traditional wedding but could be the perfect option for an outdoor wedding such as a beach wedding.

Hair And Makeup

Close up of bride

The hair and makeup is the second priority of every bride-to-be. Now that you’ve got your wedding attire in place, you have to focus on getting the best possible hair styling and wedding makeup done on a budget.
These are two aspects of your wedding celebrations that you just cannot compromise on. With pictures to remind you of the events for years to come, you have to find the right balance between perfect and price tag!

24. Go to the salon, don’t pay for a home visit

There is nothing like getting your hair and makeup done on your wedding day in the comfort of your bedroom, but did you know that most stylists charge double for paying a house-visit? Imagine that! You can pay half the price by getting your styling done at the salon.

There are two ways to go about it. You can go to the salon, get your hair and makeup done and go home and change into your wedding dress or you can take your wedding outfit along, get your styling done and change at the salon itself so that you can get any touchups done, if needed.

25. Do it yourself, just take lessons

It pays to sign up for makeup and hair styling lessons if you do not want to hire a professional for your wedding. It might actually cost you around the same as a professional artist, but there are some great benefits. To begin with, the skills you learn can be used for the rest of your life! Secondly, a professional stylist will charge you an exorbitant sum for each event- right from the bridal shower to the reception. However, by spending a small sum in taking the classes, you can be ready to do your own hair and makeup at each event, without having to pay a stylist each time!

26. Don’t pay for bridesmaids’ hair and makeup

If you are hiring a professional, you can always choose to get only your own hair and makeup done. More and more brides today are choosing not to pay for the bridesmaids’ styling. It isn’t a norm and is more of a cultural habit. In many societies it’s perfectly normal for the bridesmaids’ to take care of their own styling needs.

27. Ask a talented friend/relative to do your hair and makeup

Is there a friend or a relative whose makeup is always flawless and gorgeous? You can always ask her to do your makeup for your special day. This way, you will not have to spend a dime yet you can be assured of great results because you’ve already seen her handiwork before!

28. Ask for free trial sessions so you only have to pay for the wedding makeup and hair

Getting trials with each shortlisted makeup artist is a must. You cannot simply hire a professional on the basis of portfolio images! You need to see how well they do the job, whether it suits you or not and how it goes with your wedding outfit.

If you have more or less made up your mind about an artist, ask them to give you a free trial. They can use lower-end cosmetics to recreate the look they’ll be doing at the wedding (using more expensive products then) and you can judge their expertise, without having to pay for it.

Have a trial makeup session with your makeup artist will help you find out if you both “work” well together, as some personalities do clash and you don’t want this on your wedding day.

From my own personal experience not every makeup artist will do your make up the way you want (they only seem to have a one style suits all attitude) so this is the perfect opportunity for you to test their work.

29. Look for a salon/beautician offering a package deal

When you are getting ready for your wedding, there’s a lot more beautification than just hair and makeup to take care of. You’ll have to get waxing, bleaching, threading, facials, skin polishing, face masks and whatnot. Find a salon or beautician who will give you a bridal package where you can get a bunch of services together at discounted rates.

30. Book a professional only for the main event and not for the other functions

While the other functions are equally important, the showstopper is without a doubt, the wedding itself. So, go ahead and splurge on a professional makeup artist and hair stylist on your wedding day, but make up for the costs by foregoing the professionals for the other events.

31. Do touch-ups on your own, instead of paying a professional to hang around

Most professionals charge a flat base fee on top of which they charge a hourly rate. If you hire the makeup artist for the entire duration of the wedding, you’ll be paying them an excessive sum to hang around.

A great way to save money is to get your makeup done and then keep travel-size cosmetic products handy so that you can do the touch-ups through the day yourself.

Special Tip here would be if it is an extremely hot day, do keep your makeup in a cooler bag this will stop your lipstick and other makeup from melting in the heat.

 

 

32. Find a styling/salon that will give a discount if you get your entire bridal party’s hair and makeup done from them.

Now, you and your bridal party can all go to the same salon or beautician and given that there’s so much profit for the professionals in it, they should be more than happy to give you a hefty discount on bulk services. Most salons offer “the bride and her bridesmaids” type packages!

The Groom’s Attire

Bride and groom kissing

Ironically enough, while most budget-conscious people planning a wedding emphasize on how a bride can save money on her wedding attire, few realize that much can be done to help the groom save money too!

In fact, what most of us probably don’t realize is that when it comes to weddings, men have to spend as almost as much as women do in making sure they look good!

From tuxedos to shoes, from ties to cummerbunds, there is just so much to take care of that the possibility of exceeding the budget is so high it cannot be ignored!

So here are some things you can do, as the groom to make sure that you and the lovely lady don’t spend too much on the wedding:

33. Don’t buy big brands, go to a smaller boutique

The temptation of wearing a designer brand at your wedding is great, but it has to be controlled. You might want to march right out and buy that fabulous Tom Ford tuxedo that your favorite movie star looks so dapper in, on the other hand think about it: would you rather have a fancy designer name stuck on the inside label of your dinner jacket and be paying off the debt for a year or would you rather enjoy your marriage and not have any financial strain after the wedding?

Visit boutiques and stores that house more affordable brands or even go in for something that is not branded. Big names are not the only option for style.

34. Pick a formal suit over a tuxedo

Tuxedos are invariably more expensive than regular suits. Sure, they’re fancy, but that does not mean you cannot cut a sharp figure in a great dinner suit! Instead of paying big bucks for a tuxedo, choose a formal suit with a nice dinner jacket, dress slacks and a beautiful shirt instead. Chances are you’ll be able to use it several times over the years. Keep the tuxes for the Oscars only.

35. Have a suit stitched

This is possibly the best advice a groom can follow. Instead of buying an outfit that is readymade, have one tailor-made for yourself (but this will really depend on the country you are living in).

See, when you buy something off the shelves, you are paying for lots of things like: the item itself, the designer’s work, the tailor’s work, the designer’s label, the raw materials, the store charges and so on.

Instead of putting in a stack of cash for all these intangible elements, go to a cloth shop, buy some material you like and find a tailor who can make it for you!

36. Rent a suit

Renting a suit is a great idea, especially if you are looking for something fancy. If you have a particular theme to your wedding, such as a Victorian theme, or you want a very specific or elaborate type of suit, it is probably better to rent it than to buy one or have it made.

For starters, purchasing one is going to be a lot more expensive. Secondly, you are hardly going to be able to reuse something so specific.

37. Avoid fancy, traditional attire such as waistcoats, cummerbunds and so on

If you want to go the whole nine yards on your wedding, you’re going to have to pay for it. Fancy apparel such as cummerbunds, waistcoats, coattails and accessories such as fob watches, gloves and top hats do not come cheap.

You’ll be shocked to find that all these little, seemingly insignificant, add-ons can add a significant amount to your expenses. Skip the additional pieces and focus on a classic outfit.

If you don’t normally wear a suit in your normal day to day life, just being well groomed and wearing a well fitting inexpensive suit on your wedding day will make you look very stylish so you really don’t need all the extras.

38. If you’ve got the clothes, borrow the rest

If you already have your outfit ready, whether you bought it or rented it or borrowed it from someone, a great way to save some cash is to borrow all the other items from a relative or close friend. While you can’t quite compromise on the fit of the suit or tux, there are other tiny items that can make or break your look, as well as your bill. You can borrow ties, cummerbunds, gloves, and boutonnières from your friends. Remember, if you cannot skip the add-ons, don’t spend money on them either!

39. Wear your best dress shoes.

Just because you are getting married, you do not have to spend money on a pair of shoes you will probably never ever wear again. A brand new pair of dress shoes would certainly be nice, but can overstep your budget (pun intended!). If you already have a decent pair of dress shoes, make sure you get them cleaned and polished so they look as good as new. When the big day rolls around, hardly anyone is going to be checking the wear and tear of your footwear!

In addition to this just like the bride you the groom will want to wear comfortable shoes (no that does not mean wear your sneakers) and what could be more comfortable than a pair of shoes already worn in. However do pick a pair of shoes that match your chosen outfit.

40. Don’t book at the last minute

If you have decided that buying new clothes and accessories and shoes for your wedding day is not going to fit your budget and you want to rent, then the best way to save money is to book well in advance.

If you try to book at the last minute, you might get stuck with something you don’t like, or worse still, only a choice of expensive outfits.

You might even be caught in peak renting season rush or a time of the year like Prom or wedding season when the prices are at their all-time highs.

The Guest List

Wedding guests

Fixing the guest list for the wedding ceremony and other events is always the trickiest part of the entire wedding planning process.

Who do you call and who do you leave out? How many guests does your side get to call and how many guests is your fiancé/fiancée inviting?

Do you have too many people to invite yet too few funds? Here is how to deal with the guest list crises that every couple about to get married faces:

41. Call only family and close friends

When you are organizing a wedding on a strict budget it is important to keep the guest list very small, and you can only do that by calling only the closest of friends and family. As a general rule, the only friends you should call are the ones you are currently in touch with and are close to, and where family is concerned, you should obviously include immediate family and relatives you are close to. Don’t worry about hurting or offending people; just tell everyone it’s a family-only affair. Remember, it’s better to exclude a few people than to take out a loan just to be able to pay for numerous guests.

As mentioned before we wanted to keep the costs down so that we could go on an extended honeymoon and by doing this tip we saved an enormous amount of money by only inviting close family members such as parents, brothers, sisters and their children, our aunts and uncles and only a very few close friends to our wedding reception. We just explained to the others that we were on a really tight budget and they understood.

42. You don’t have to call people you’re not in touch with

It is tempting to call friends from middle school or colleagues from your first job, but if you are not in touch with the person and they are not up to date on your life, they don’t have to be called to the wedding. Instead of looking into the past and picking people you have been close to, have a forward thinking approach and determine who are your friends at present and will be around in the future and invite people accordingly.

43. Give your parents a limit on how many people to call

When it comes to restricting your parents to a specific number of people they are allowed to invite, you are going to have to be tactful. It is understandable that your parents want to invite every last person they know to share their joy of their child getting married. But when you have a budget, you can hardly afford to invite your mum’s boss or your dad’s college roommate!

44. Offer the “Plus One” option only to some

Giving your guests the option of bringing a date along is the biggest wedding expenses related trap to fall in to. Many people look around for people to invite as dates to a wedding just for the sake of it, so that they don’t have to go alone. Instead of having someone at your wedding that you have never met before and will probably never see again, limit the “plus one” option only to guests who you know are already in serious, committed relationships. It is your wedding, and you should only have people you personally know!

The Bridal Party

Members of the bridal party

It is a common understanding that the people chosen to be a part of the bridal/wedding party are the closest to the bride and the groom.

So, whoever expects to be a part of the wedding party but gets left out invariably ends up feeling bad about it. But the size of the wedding party directly affects your expenses. And there are other miscellaneous costs associated with the bridal party! Here are some tips on how to cut down on these expenses:

45. Keep the numbers low

If you want to save money, you have to limit the number of people in your wedding party. Remember that there are reception dinners, various festivities, catering, gifts, ceremonial tokens, clothes and so on associated with the wedding party and depending on the custom in the country where you live, all these expenses may have to be borne by… YOU! So the more people you include in your wedding party, the higher are the costs you’re going to incur. Only pick your immediate family, closest cousins and best friends. Anyone who does not fall into these categories will have to be in the guest list only.

46. Don’t have too many events

The trick to minimizing costs incurred on the wedding party is to keep the number of events low. Remember, you are going to have to invite the members of your wedding party to every event, starting from the bachelors’ party to the bridal shower to the rehearsal dinner, and of course, the main ceremony and reception. So, instead of having many smaller events, limit your celebrations to some choice important ones.

47. Buy ceremony clothing from a thrift shop

If you are paying for the attire of your entire wedding party, you should consider shopping at thrift and discount stores. You can pick up some great pieces and amazing prices. When you have to buy clothes for a number of people, you cannot afford to shop designer!

48. Choose a color scheme, buy different dresses

Another great way to save money on the wedding party’s clothes is to simply choose a color scheme and pick outfits within that color scheme from different stores. Or you can even ask your wedding party members to buy outfits of their own choice, but adhering to the color scheme. This way you can get clothes from all kinds of discount and thrift shops and mix and match pieces while staying in your budget, yet maintaining some homogeneity.

This definitely does give you an easier choice because you can find different outfits at different prices, and it will add some “brightness” to your day instead of everyone being in one design or color which may not suit all members of your bridal party, after all they too do want to look good for your wedding too.

49. Save money on gifts

Your wedding party will have to be given special gifts to commemorate their role in the wedding celebrations. You don’t necessarily have to buy fancy gifts: you can always make them at home and save a lot of money! Handmade gifts are the best way of saying ‘thank you’ to your near and dear ones.

Or, you can visit stores and buy items in bulk. Some great ideas would be: earrings, trinket jewelry, handmade bags, a broach or a photo album for each of the women and a business card holder, cigarette lighter, cufflinks for the men!

50. Assign different roles, don’t include everyone in the bridal party

If you want to keep the members of your wedding party to only a handful of people, but you don’t want to hurt others’ feelings, a great way to involve people without spending money on them is to give everyone different roles spread over the wedding celebrations without formally including them in the wedding party.

You can ask a musician friend to play at the ceremony, a designer friend to help you with your bridesmaids’ dresses; a talented aunt can help prepare small cupcakes for the guests while your favorite uncle can touch base with the guests and confirm invitations!

The Venue

Wedding reception venue

If you are planning a wedding on a budget, your biggest source of worry is probably the venue itself.
You cannot compromise on a wedding venue because everyone is going to remember the surroundings your ceremony or reception took place in, and after all, it does set the stage for the entire wedding.

But, wedding venue rates can be sky-high and have a crippling effect on the budget. So, how can you have a beautiful venue without spending a bomb? Read on!

51. Venue with cheap rental rates

This is the first, most obvious option. Look for venues that don’t cost an arm and a leg to rent. You can look at local community centers, town libraries, local club houses and so on as affordable options. You don’t have to book The Plaza to have a wedding of a lifetime!

52. Rent a community hall instead of a banquet hall

If you are having a small wedding (and given that you’re on a budget, you probably are!) consider hosting it in a community hall instead of a banquet hall. Banquet halls are especially for large events and galas such as weddings, and thus have a minimum rate in their price tag just for specializing in big celebrations. You don’t have to pay those high fees for your wedding. Locate a community hall in your city and you’ll find you can knock off hundreds of your venue rental bill.

53. Borrow seating and other venue items from friends and family

Once you have paid for the venue, you have to look for all the other things that go into completing the venue: the chairs, tables, standing fans, lighting, and cushions and so on. It makes sense to borrow these items from close friends and family instead of renting them or paying the venue owners to supply them. You’ll save a bundle!

54. Host the wedding in your backyard

If you (or anyone in your family or friends) have a large enough backyard to accommodate your guests, nothing spells a more affordable and beautiful venue option! You will not have to pay a rental or booking fee, and you can concentrate on arranging some seating, tables, an altar for the ceremony, clergy to conduct the ceremony and some decorations. You’ll find that you will be striking off half of your bill in one simple move.

55. Pick a naturally beautiful place so you can save on decorations

If you are looking for a picturesque yet affordable venue for your wedding, nothing compares to a natural setting. Ask anyone who’s organized a wedding recently and you will be told that decorations can cost as much as a fifth of the entire wedding budget. If you decide to host your wedding in an empty hall you will be spending large sums of money on furniture, lighting, decorations, flowers and so on. Instead, do some research and look for venues that are naturally beautiful so you do not have buy decorations.

56. Outdoor theme weddings- beach weddings/park weddings

The best way to save on wedding venues is to have outdoor weddings. You will save on venue rental costs, decoration costs, lighting costs if you have a wedding in the daytime and maybe even seating costs (well, not the last bit so much!). Holding your wedding in the city park, or at the beach, or by the sea or lake is a stroke of genius. You will hardly have to pay anything and what’s more is you’ll have a pristine, beautiful wedding to remember!

The Ceremony

Bride and groom in church

The ceremony! The star of the entire show! This is the part when all eyes are on you, your beloved, and of course, every little detail!

Most brides and grooms-to-be suffer anxiety over planning the ceremony because even the smallest flaw seems glaringly obvious and in today’s world, the ceremony can make or break everyone’s opinions about your wedding and in turn reflects on the newlywed couple! So, when the stakes are so high and the budget is low, what do you do?

57. Have a ceremony near a festival, the church/other religious place will already be decorated

If you are holding your wedding at a church or similar religious building, organizing your wedding for a date right after a major festival is a nifty trick. The venue will already be decorated for the festivities that just took place and you will not have to spend any money on decorations.

58. Have a simple registry (court) wedding and enjoy the reception

This option was really popular some days back, but in today’s times of pomp and show it seems to have lost some favor. You can bring it back now, and be sensible, yet enjoy yourself! Have a court wedding and registration and spend some money on a loud, fun, festive reception with friends and family!

59. Opt for a minimalistic, elegant ceremony

A grand dream wedding sounds wonderful, but when it comes to footing the bill, the more the thrills, the more the chills! Instead of going overboard, choose to have a simple, classic ceremony. And if you are worried about how festive it will be, remember, small is beautiful and everyone will be impressed with your elegant and classy wedding.

60. Avoid peak wedding season

Depending on where you live, the wedding season is definitely the time to avoid getting married in. Whether autumn weddings are popular in your country or spring weddings, remember this, if you get married at the same time as everyone else is getting married, you are also going to be paying peak wedding season rates. Everything is more expensive and harder to book when it is most in demand. Be sensible, plan for a time when the rates are low and there’s no crazy rush.

61. Have a friend/relative who is a minister officiate

Sadly, weddings these days are also a money-minting business for officials and clergy. Just as is with other things, even ministers and priests are also now hired on the basis of their reputation, brand identity and popularity. Instead of paying a famous minister (Really? Come on!) to conduct your wedding, ask a friend, relative who is a minister or your regular minister to officiate. You will probably not have to pay them at all or very little, and you will also enjoy the personalized touch of having a dear one oversee your union.

62. Make your own ring pillow

Buying a ring bearers pillow just like everything else that is attached to weddings can be quite expensive to purchase. If you can sew or know someone who can, you can make your own ring pillow for just about nothing. If you already sew you just may have all the things that you need without even having to spend a cent. All you need is to decide on a shape and size you want and decorate it to suit your theme. You could also use any fabric left over from your gown or that of your bridesmaids if you are having your dresses made.

63. Make your own unity candles

A unity candle ceremony is a lovely touch to a religious ceremony, but the cost of the candles can be quite unattractive. You can purchase plain candles very cheaply and add your own decorations. You can decorate these using special paints, lace trims and even paper. For the main candle you could select a large thick pillar candle and the other candles (the number will depend on how many people you would like to include in the ceremony) could be more slender candles such as tapper candles. To finish of the look purchase candle holders (or use ones that you already have) and decorate them with fresh or silk flowers or even just greenery.

Safety tip: when making your own unity candles keep the decorations about mid way or below,
if you have them close to the burning flame these could catch fire.

For more information on the wedding unity candle ceremony click here.

64. Make your own wedding sand ceremony set

Wedding sand ceremony sets can cost you quite dearly depending on the type of containers that you choose. You can save yourself some money by making your own wedding sand ceremony set. All you need is one large glass container and two smaller glass containers that look the same with some decorative sand. You can look at thrift stores or department store sales for cheap vases or jars in a style that you like. The sand can be purchased from good craft stores and online.

For more information on the wedding sand ceremony click here

65. Host the wedding ceremony at a park or backyard

This is a great idea, especially if you and your betrothed are nature lovers. Organize your wedding ceremony in a city park or a backyard. This way, your entire ceremony will inevitably be an intimate affair because you will have to keep the guest list small, and it will also be a highly personalized event because you will have complete control over the surroundings!

The Reception

People dancing at wedding reception

So, after you decide on how best to organize an affordable yet adorable wedding ceremony, the focus shifts on the reception.

The first point to come to mind is that while wedding ceremonies are intimate, the receptions are usually louder, more boisterous and involve more people.

The reception is where everyone lets loose and revels in the bliss and joy of the newlyweds. Which means that there is just that many more people, priorities and expenses to take care of! Here’s how to cut the stress and the costs:

66. Book a year or more in advance

If you have enough time between your engagement and your wedding, you should consider booking a venue and professionals for your ceremony a year, or more, before the date itself. Instead of hiring any expensive professional or renting an exorbitantly priced venue during a last minute crunch, you will have the luxury to shop around, browse affordable options and competitive prices and you will also get a hefty discount for booking so far ahead of the date.

As soon as we were engaged we started to look at possible venues. I am glad that we did because it was “hard work” trying to find the perfect place. And I would advise you to try and visit the venues on your short list several times before you confirm your booking. I say this because it is easy to miss little things like the condition of the floor coverings, paint work and lighting on a first visit and it is also a good way to see if you like the “feel” of the venue, also try and visit at about the same time your reception would be held.

67. Keep a relaxed, friendly atmosphere instead of a themed event

Theme parties are fun, but super expensive. Instead of paying for everything along a particular theme, keep the celebrations relaxed and fun. The point is to get everyone together and have a good time. The ceremony is the formal leg of the celebrations; the reception is the informal one. Let things flow and don’t try to have a themed, elaborate affair!

68. Have a buffet and self-service

Just pay for catering and set up a buffet. It is cheaper, you get more varieties of food and drink, and you don’t have to pay service charges. Plus, it makes for a fun and friendly atmosphere. Who knows, you might even end up playing matchmaker as your single friends meet in the buffet lines!

This was something suggested by our venue manager we had a variety of tasty hot dishes including roast beef, pork and chicken as well as pasta and vegetables the table was then made to look fuller by the addition of bread rolls and a variety of salads. There was more than enough food for everyone and no one went hungry.

69. Avoid hiring waiters and butlers

If you hire waiters, attendants and butlers, you’re going to have to pay for them! Instead of hiring professionals to serve your guests, let them serve themselves. If you’ve already decided on the buffet system, make sure you eliminate all extra professionals. All you need is the cook(s) and their assistants to keep the food ready and warm, and someone to manage the bar. Try to keep the professionals you hire to a minimum. Only hire as much staff as you need. If you hire too many people they’ll just stand around doing nothing but you will still have to pay them!

70. Host at home/friend’s home

By organizing the reception at your own house or that of a friend or relatives, you will not have to pay venue rental charges and booking rates and all the other associated prices. You can concentrate on getting some great catering done, and the rest is all taken care of.

71. Look for an alternative, cheap venue and decorate yourself

If you do manage to find a relatively cheap venue you can host your reception in, don’t ask the renters to decorate it and don’t pay a professional to do it up either. Remember, receptions are marked by a casual and fun vibe, so even if you just get bunches of balloons and streamers and put them all over, you are good to go!

72. Have your reception on the same day as the wedding to cut costs

Who says you have to have your wedding and reception on two different days as two unique events? You can move from the church (or other wedding venue) to a large house or hall and continue the festivities on the same day. Or, you can even have the reception at the same place. It’s simple math really. Instead of paying for everything twice, you will be paying for most things only once. Plus you can probably get some great package deals too!

73. Have the wedding on a weekday/Sunday night instead of peak wedding days of the week

Fridays and Saturdays are the most popular days for organizing wedding ceremonies because the following day is an off. Since everyone plans their weddings for these two days, they are also the most expensive days to have your wedding on. Try planning your wedding for the midweek, or better still a Sunday, because they are “off times” of the week in terms of wedding celebrations. You’ll be able to get lower rates on just about everything.

74. Serve a Good Sparking Wine instead of Champagne

Not everyone likes the taste of champagne but will drink it out of courtesy because of the wedding toasts. So why not offer a cheaper but still good quality wine. You will not only be saving yourself money you will also know that this wine will not be wasted.

75. Purchase Your Drinks Early

If you are having a home wedding or catering it yourself shop for your drinks early and buy in bulk when they are on special.

The Catering

Wedding table with food

Catering is typically one of the most expensive aspects of any wedding celebration. Food and drinks cost so much these days that it comes as no surprise that having to organize eats and drinks for guests’ right from the engagement party to the reception can be enough to put a dent in anybody’s finances.

However, we all know that you cannot compromise on the quality or the style of the food because after all it’s common knowledge that the main attraction of the wedding is the food.

76. Don’t have an open bar

An open bar is akin to a death sentence for a couple planning to cater on a budget. If you keep the alcohol flowing, you are going to have an excessive bill by the end of the evening. Firstly, the bill will not be predefined because it will depend on the guests’ consumption. Which means it might turn out to be in thousands without your consent. Secondly, if you keep alcohol access unlimited, the guests will drink and you cannot blame them. So keep it simple and limit access and only serve a fixed amount of drinks.

We did not have an open bar we opted to serve several selected soft drinks, wines and beer and most of our guests where happy with this, but we were prepared for those few who did want something stronger, we had organized with the bar staff to confirm with us before serving the spirits so we were fully aware of what was being served and charged for.

77. Get all the catering from one provider at a discount

If you’re going to have multiple events, you will need to contact caterers for all of them. Instead of hiring a number of catering services, hire only one provider who can organize all the food for all your events. This way you will strengthen the chain of accountability and responsibility and since you are buying in bulk you will be eligible for a hefty discount as well.

78. Ask friends and family to make a dish each

If you are really on a tight budget, you can always ask friends and family to help out. You can organize your guests into categories on the basis of food and all the members of one category can make that dish and bring to the wedding. Since one person can obviously not cook for a wedding party, you should decide on a limited number of varieties you want and request a small group of people to make multiple dishes of each item; this could be your wedding gift from them.

79. Get prepared food from local stores

Buying prepared food can work out really cheap too, provided you shop smart. You can go to your local grocery store or mart and pick up canned foods and packaged frozen foods. If you buy in bulk you can save a lot of money because when you hire caterers you will be paying for raw materials and ingredients, preparation charges, heating charges, serving charges and service tax.

80. Have your ceremony at a non-traditional time to avoid meal times

If you cannot afford to have full-course meals organized, consider hosting your reception or ceremony at a time when you are not obliged to provide full meals with multiple dishes. Ideal timings would be a midday ceremony or a late-afternoon event.

81. Avoid or cut down on hors d'oeuvre's

Appetizers and hors d’oeuvres are generally very expensive, made in small quantities and typically fancy food. When you serve a lot of these foods, you overstep your budget in two ways: Firstly, these foods cost a LOT and you spend quite a bit of money on tiny tidbits and secondly, most people stuff themselves on appetizers and the main course dishes tend to go to waste. So in effect you pay for a lot of food but most of it is wasted. Instead of running either of these risks, simply cut down on the number and varieties of appetizers or do away with them altogether.

82. Choose buffet options

Buffets are great for people looking for catering on a budget. Firstly, you will be paying for dishes on a bulk rate and not on a per-dish and per-plate basis. Secondly, you can get more for less because with buffet and you get more dishes at reduced rates. Thirdly, you will not have to pay for butlers and waiters fees.

83. Avoid sit-down dinners

Sit-down dinners are typically elaborate and lengthy affairs. When you get a large group of people to sit down for dinner, keep a lot of food and beverages in their access and mix it all together with conversation, music and festivity, the guests will eat a lot. It’s a well-known fact that people eat a lot more sitting down than they do at buffets. So, cut the sit-down dinner and cut costs.

84. Use economical alternatives to extravagant options

When you are deciding which dishes to include in your wedding menu play it smart and choose the ones that go easy on the pocket. For example, chicken dishes will any day be less expensive than beef preparations. Also, seafood is invariably some of the most expensive food you can organize. Similarly, stick to some regular good wines instead of ordering fancy names.

85. Limit the number of dishes and drinks

If you are on a budget, the menu is not the place to show off. Do not try to impress your guests with dozens of dishes and drinks. Remember that in a day or two nobody is going to remember the name and taste of each dish they sampled and the many others that they passed by. All people are going to remember is whether the food was good or not. So, don’t try to outdo your friend’s catering extravaganza by ordering five varieties of each food category. Keep it simple, sophisticated and good quality.

86. Avoid holidays/high demand dates

Having your wedding at a time of year that is marked by other popular events and festivities can spell bad news for your catering budget. Holidays and high demand dates mean that the food prices and catering charges will be hiked up and you will lose your bargaining edge. So think ahead and try to pick a date that doesn’t fall close to any major event.

87. Avoid or limit alcoholic beverages

Alcohol costs a lot. It’s a simple fact, if you are planning a wedding on a budget you are going to have to rethink serving alcohol at the event. It’s true that it is tough to have a wedding without a bar, as most guests will be looking for more than just fruit punch and cola. However, if you cannot do away with it completely, limit the number of alcoholic beverages. Try to keep it to two to three glasses per person if you can.

88. Order kegs/crates and save on individual bottle costs

Instead of ordering individual bottles and paying the recommended retail of each bottle, you should consider ordering kegs and or crates. This way you pay for the box and not the individual price of each bottle, which when put together is usually more than the full cost of the box. So you get more product for less cost.

89. Keep light snacks only

It goes without saying that full-course meals and main course dishes are the most expensive to cater. Instead of having elaborate, formal meals prepared you can go in for light snacks only. This way, you will be spending a lot less and you can have a lot of variety too.

90. Choose a caterer that will supply everything

If you can find a caterer who will supply everything such as cutlery, plates, glasses and napkins you could be much better off than having to hire these on your own.

91. Check out your local colleges

You may have a college close by that teach hospitality/restaurant courses. They may run a small catering service that gives their students work experience; you could possibly also get your waiters from here as well and all at a well reduced rate.

92. Order the appropriate sized meal

If you have children at the wedding reception order appropriate child size meals for every child under the age of 12 (they simply don’t have the same tastes as adults and don’t eat as much).

93. Ask caterers if there is a minimum number that cater for

Most catering companies work on a minimum number and will not reduce the cost for an amount less than this. For example let’s say that you have 60 people to feed at your reception and if their minimum is 100 people they will charge you for 100 people regardless of the actual number which in this example would be 60 people. With the amount that you have spent on 40 nonexistent guests you could have easily put that amount to better use somewhere else.

94. Choose your caterers carefully

You should find a caterer who will listen to your needs and work out a menu that will fit within your budget. Be very open and honest with the caterer when discussing the pricing so that you both know what is expected.

95. When renting a self service reception venue

If you are hiring a venue and are doing the catering yourself you should check the type of equipment that is already there. The more equipment that they have on site will mean less expense for you because you don’t have to hire more equipment to meet your catering needs on your wedding day.

96. Choose a smaller catering company or restaurant

There are many good small catering companies and restaurants that do outside catering and can offer you cheaper prices than the bigger caterers who have higher overheads due to extra staff and other related expenses that go with big business. In most cases you will probably get better service from a smaller company because they can’t afford to get a bad name.

The Wedding Cake

Wedding cake

The wedding cake is quite literally the star attraction of the show. Once the ceremony is over and the celebrations begin in earnest, all eyes are on the wedding cake.

It comes as no shocker then that wedding cakes are outrageously priced and some wedding cakes can cost as much as a down payment on a house. So, what are the options you have when you’re working on a budget? Read the following to find out.

97. Make your own

Have you always loved baking? Is your talent with cakes and confectionary celebrated? Do you adore making yummy treats? Well if the answer to these questions is yes, how about making your own wedding cake. Sure it is a huge responsibility and it will take a lot of time, but just think about all the money you will be saving, and you can boast of a cake like no other, personalized to suit you and your beloved’s tastes.

98. Try a local bakery

You don’t have to go to a fancy bakery or a cake maker to get your wedding cake made. If you visit someone who specializes in wedding cakes, it goes without saying that you will be paying an extra amount for that specialization. Instead, go to a local bakery, try some samples and if you like what you taste, hire them to make a wedding cake. You might just be surprised by how good some of the lesser-known vendors can be.

99. Ask a friend

If you cannot make the cake yourself, you might have a friend or a relative who could help you out. Do you have an aunt who always baked cakes for your birthday when you were little? Well, why not tap into her talent and ask her to make a special cake for your wedding? She’ll need help of course, although the costs you incur will be amazingly lower.

100. Ask for a wedding cake as a wedding gift

The thing about wedding gifts is that most people present them as a formality, without putting much thought into it. And those who do put thought into often get confused by the array of options. Why not make things simpler for your friends and you can ask a group of close friends to chip in and buy a wonderful cake for your wedding. Your friends will appreciate your solving their gifting dilemmas, you’ll get a beautiful cake and you won’t be stuck with meaningless gifts.

101. As a part of the catering deal

If you have already shortlisted a catering service to provide the food for your wedding, perhaps you can speak to them to include a cake in the entire service contract as well. It is highly unlikely that they’ll throw in a full wedding cake for no cost at all, but in all probability you will be able to get one at much reduced rate.

102. Use a dummy cake for display, serve the real thing

As a last resort, you might want to consider getting a dummy cake to be used as the centerpiece and display at the ceremony while you can buy a smaller cake or order a specific number of slices to be served during the ceremony. Getting a giant cake with many tiers and lots of decorative work is next to impossible for someone on a tight budget; however that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a beautiful display piece and savor the actual delicacy at more affordable rates.

You can also have some fake cakes made and decorated as extra tiers with your real wedding cake. By doing this you will save yourself money on the cost of ingredients, but it will still look like you have spent a bundle on your cake.

103. Order non traditional wedding cakes

Order cakes such as cheesecakes or mud cakes from your local baker and have them made fresh the day of your wedding if possible. You will have to organize someone to collect the cakes and deliver them to your reception venue. These cakes will cost you a good deal less than having a cake made especially for your wedding.

104. You can make cupcakes instead of a wedding cake

Cupcakes are quite simple to make and you don’t need to use expensive ingredients to make them. Just use the best and freshest of ingredients and decorate them simply and when placed attractively on your cake table you will have an impressive display.

If you do want to make cupcakes for your wedding click here the information on this page will give you a very good idea on what you need to make and show of your wedding cupcakes.

105. Order a smaller cake

Order a smaller version of your ideal wedding cake. And if you are serving more guests than the cake will serve have a cheaper sheet cake made and decorated in the same flavor. This can be kept in the kitchen and served when necessary after your cake cutting ceremony.

106. Bake your own cake and have it decorated professionally

If you love to bake and have a favorite recipe that you would like to share with your wedding guests but are not confident in cake decorating you could make the cake yourself and find someone (a friend or professional) who will be willing to decorate it for you.

107. Have your cake baked and iced by a professional

Most of the cost that goes into make a wedding cake is the time that it takes to make the decorations. You could have a cake made and iced by a professional and then decorate it yourself using fresh flowers.

108. Cake bags

Purchase readymade cake bags rather than having them especially printed for your wedding. After all they are just used by your guests to take a slice of cake home and after the cake is eaten just thrown away.

The Wedding Flowers

Bride holding bouquet.

The wedding flowers can set the tone for the entire ceremony. From the blooms picked for the bride’s bouquet to the flower arrangements all over the ceremony venue, the wedding flowers are instrumental in setting the scene for your grand day.

Flowers can be expensive, depending on when you’re having the wedding, the variety you prefer, the size of your order, the number of varieties and so on. Here are some money-saving tips you can use:

109. Limit the number of flowers

Don’t go overboard and order hundreds and thousands of flowers. Sure they look gorgeous, but you only have to use them as accents to the venue, not create a magical garden of your own. Depending how much one flower costs and what your total budget for the flowers is, choose to order only a limited number of blooms. Keep in mind that they’ll be in use for only a few hours on a single day and will wither away soon. Don’t spend heaps of money on something so short-lived!

110. Use silk flowers

Silk flowers can look stunning and can be very cheap. If you know someone who is good with arts and crafts you can ask them to make the flowers out of silk and silken ribbons for you. If not, you can always buy them from a specialties store. Not only will you be saving a lot of money, you can also get unusual color combinations you might not be able to get with natural flowers, and if you’re an environment-conscious bride you’ll be doing your own bit for nature as well.

111. Get in-season flowers

A common wedding trap most couples fall into is to order flowers that are not in season. Either these blooms have to be imported or they are artificially grown. Either way you end up paying more than the standard rate. Instead, visit a local florist and ask about the in-season flowers and take your pick from the available options.

112. Get locally grown flowers

In continuation of the previous tip, only order flowers that grow locally in your city or wherever you are having the wedding. You might want a particular variety and it is okay to have your heart set on something beautiful and unique nevertheless the price tag for importing and maintaining flowers that are transported from a different location can be enormous. Keep a simple fact in mind flowers no matter the variety are all beautiful. A bunch of carnations can look just as stunning as a bunch of orchids!

113. Avoid exotic, obvious “wedding flower” choices as they will be expensive

Just as it is with other aspects of wedding planning, there are some choices that will fall into the category of standard, popular wedding flowers. As these flowers are mostly used for wedding decorations, they are more expensive than regular varieties. Instead of paying a lot more for flowers just because they are specially grown for weddings find an alternative that is just as pretty and yet more affordable.

114. Get from a local florist and not a big chain

Hiring a local service provider always works out more affordable than hiring a store with a recognized brand name. When you do not have to pay for the brand, you are only paying the fair price of the goods you are buying. Visit a local florist and tell him what you need, see his selection and you will easily be able to come up with an agreeable arrangement.

115. Book in advance to avoid holiday/ festive season peak prices

Booking flowers for a wedding during or just before a major festival or holiday is a bad idea. Because flowers make for popular gifts and decorations their prices go up through the roof during festive times. If your wedding is going to be around a holiday, make sure you strike a deal with your florist much in advance so you can get regular rates. After all, if you’re getting married in February and booking flowers at the last minute, you’ll be paying for your wedding and the Valentine’s Day rush.

116. Avoid fancy arrangements

Getting fancy, complicated flower arrangements can be a waste of money. And when you’re penny-pinched as it is, going in for elaborate arrangements is ill-advised. Simple flower combinations and bunches can look just as pretty. Look at it this way, people will be pleased by the colors, the combination and the fragrance of the blooms. The styling and arrangement are secondary, so you don’t have to pay for them if you don’t want to.

117. Have an outdoors/ already flowery venue

Having an outdoors wedding is a great idea because as mentioned earlier, you do not have to spend much, if any money on decorations, and if you are having a wedding at a place like a community park or by a lake or even in your own backyard, chances are that there will already be enough flowers growing naturally! Enjoy nature’s offerings for free!

118. Get some of your flowers made by a florist

If you have chosen some simple flower table decorations you could easily get some friends to organize this for you on the evening before your wedding or early in the morning of your wedding day, and have the more important arrangements such as the bouquet and corsages done by a florist.

119. Grow your own

If you have enough time and a green thumb you could grow your own flowers or you may already have a garden full of flowers that you can use. Use these for your less important displays such as flowers for the church or ceremony location and wedding reception tables.

120. Order your flowers from an online wholesaler

There are many reputable online flower wholesalers that deliver flowers right to your door all packaged so that they arrive in good condition. They can even make your bouquet and bridal party flowers for you or you can order flowers in bulk and make your own.

121. Carry a single flower instead of a bouquet

Quite often a simple single flower can look quite elegant. You could carry a single flower yourself or have your bridesmaids carry a single flower each and then you can carry a bouquet. Either way you will be saving money. Just be sure to select a flower that looks lovely on its own such as a calla lily or a spray of orchids. Complete the look by tying a matching ribbon around the stem.

122. Use cheap filler flowers for your large arrangements

Use cheap filler flowers for your larger arrangements because most of the time these arrangements will only be seen from a distance. So use cheaper flowers such as carnations and hydrangeas and when these flowers are grouped together can look quite stunning.

123. Don’t have a tossing bouquet

It seems to be the trend these days for the bride to have two bouquets one large for her to carry and the other for the bouquet toss. This smaller bouquet for the toss is an added expense that you don’t really need, and after all once it has been tossed after all the clawing and grabbing it’s not much to look at it is, such a pity. So, why not take out a single flower from your bouquet and toss that instead.

124. Ask the florist to surprise you

If you trust your florist and have spoken to her in great length about your ideas and don’t mind surprises, why not ask her to purchase the flowers that are on sale from the market the day before your wedding and have her create your arrangements around those flowers.

125. Use a combination of silk and fresh flowers

If you have your heart set on expensive flowers such as orchids use silk ones instead with inexpensive fresh flowers. The quality of silk flowers these days are so good it is very hard to tell that they are not real.

126. Donate flowers to the church

Most churches have members of their community do the arrangements for their weekend masses and most of them can make up some beautiful displays. So why not check with whoever organizes the church flowers at your church to see if they will do this for you if you donate the flowers of that weekends mass; the worst that they can say is no. Then again if they do say yes, you eliminate the cost of the florist for the ceremony flowers and all it might cost you is just a small monetary donation as a gesture of thanks.

127. Share the flower expenses

Check to see if there are any other wedding ceremonies on the same day as yours. You could possible contact the other couple or couples and share the cost of the flowers. Of course you will all have to comprise on flowers that will suit all your tastes but this is a very economical way for everyone involved.

128. Carry an alternative to the bouquet

Who said that bouquets had to be used? You can carry a bouquet and give your bridesmaids something else to carry such as matching clutch bags or fans with some inexpensive flowers to decorate them or lovely lacy parasols. These can also end up being your thank you gifts to them and they will have a lasting treasured memory of being a member of your bridal party.

The Decorations

Pink wedding reception decorations

The decorations are the pretty little things that go into making a sentimental day into a beautiful one. The decorations can solidify a theme for your wedding day, set a mood and tone for the ceremony and reception and add to the ambience and atmosphere you wish to create.

Decorations are, thankfully, one of those aspects of wedding planning that are very flexible and you can actually keep a strict check on your expenses with some handy moves.

128. Candles

Candles make for beautiful, uplifting and economical decorations. Candles are available in endless sizes, shapes and colors. You can get scented candles or floating candles. You can get candles with stripes or candles shaped like a bride and groom at the wedding altar.

There is, literally, no limit to the amount of fun and variety you can enjoy. The best part is, candles are very cheap and when you buy them in bulk, they’re even cheaper! Imagine the effect that hundreds of candles, big and small, will have when they are placed all over the venue and lighted up! Breathtaking!

Just a word of caution here, if you choose to use scented candles be very careful and not use too many if you are using them indoors. The scent from too many candles can become quite overpowering and uncomfortable for some of your guests.

129. Small bunches of flowers as table centerpieces

You do not have to get fancy table centerpieces to decorate the places where your guests will be seated. If you know the number of tables you will have at the reception just speak to your florist and ask him to create small bunches of flowers keeping with the theme of the rest of the flowers. This will be much cheaper, will look pretty and the fragrance will keep your guests’ moods uplifted through the reception and celebrations.

130. Paper decorations

Paper decorations are a great way to go if you are on a budget. You can make them yourself or you can buy them from a local store. The options are limitless. You have streamers, cut-outs, lanterns, paper flowers, decorative place cards and so much more.

131. Fabric decorations

Fabric decorations can be very useful if you want to decorate your wedding venue on a budget. The first thing to do of course is to choose a color scheme. When you have that decided, there are so many ways to use fabric to decorate your venue. You can hang fabric banners and drapes, use grand looking curtains as backdrops, make fabric flowers, tie beautiful bows on the pews and the back of the guests’ chairs and so on.

132. Get it done by a friend who’s great at arts and crafts

If you know someone who is very good at arts and crafts, you can ask him or her along with others, to make the decorations for your venue. Whether you go for cute little cutouts, collages or murals, there is so much that can be done with do-it-yourself decorations, and at very reasonable prices!

133. Buy lots of little pieces in limited colors to maintain a theme yet save money

You do not have to limit yourself to one type of decoration. You can limit yourself to a color and buy all kinds of little odds and ends within the color scheme. This way you choose a color or a few, and you can buy balloons, streamers, flowers, wall hangings, candles, and figurines and so on within the color theme. You’ll have a lot of variety, the option to pick dirt-cheap pieces from all kinds of stores and a unified decoration theme.

134. Reuse the decorations from different events

You do not have to invest in new decorations for each of the events. Simply pack the decorations carefully and reuse them at the next event. It’ll be so economical and will help you maintain a theme to your wedding.

If you do decided to do this and borrow decorations from someone else’s event, do make sure that you check the condition of the decorations well before your wedding date (not everyone is careful when storing things), so that if they are in a bad state you will have time to organize something different.

135. Shop for your decorations at end of season sales

If you know your wedding date is going to be around a particular holiday and you are planning your wedding well in advance, you could take advantage of the clearance sales at the end of a season.

136. Use cheaper artificial flowers instead of fresh

For your less important decorations such as your wedding table centerpieces or arch ways you could use artificial flowers to create these displays. Use inexpensive greenery as the main element of the display and tuck in your silk flowers to create and inexpensive full looking arrangement.

137. Shop at dollar stores and other bargain stores

Visit dollar stores and other bargain stores regularly to pick up inexpensive items. They often have a high turnover and different and new stock is always arriving which means that you just might get what you need from there at ridiculously low prices.

137. Use your wedding favors as your table centerpieces

If your favors are large enough you could arrange them attractively in the center of your wedding table eliminating the cost of your centerpieces.

The Wedding Photos/Video

A happy bride and groom

As a thumb rule, most experts agree that you should not skimp on the wedding photos and videos. With time memories fade, and while it is highly unlikely that you will forget a day as monumental as your own wedding, there are many tiny little moments and details that you might miss out on.

Photos and videos are the best way to preserve memories from the most important day of your life and you will not want to compromise on something of such enormous sentimental value. However, there are some great ways you can save money on the same. Here’s how:

138. Ask a friend, skip the professional

Friends are so resourceful, aren’t they? Well, if you know someone who is good with a camera and has a professional and semi-professional camera, you can ask him or her to be the official photographer at your wedding. These days, just about everyone has a DSLR camera and if you know someone who takes decent pictures, you can ask them to do it for you as a wedding gift.

Try and select a friend who you will know to give you the photos soon after the wedding because from past experience I have known some friends who have had photos taken by friends but it was well over a year before they ever got them in their hands.

139. Hiring a professional? Get a package deal

If you are determined to hire a professional and get fabulous shots of your wedding proceedings, speak to them about a discount for a package deal. If you hire the same person for all the different events (only if you are having more than one event) you are eligible for a big discount. So, you’ll have beautiful snapshots of all the events without having to pay for each one individually.

140. Limit the number of photos

Many photographers charge on the basis of the amount of work. So, if you are hiring someone on the basis of the number of photographs taken, limit the number of photos. This might seem constrictive, but then how many of us sit down with the photographer after the festivities are over and find reel after reel of meaningless shots? Fix an upper limit and instruct the person you hire to stick to it.

141. Take only digital copies, print on your own

If you take digital versions of the photographs on a CD or a USB data device, you will not have to pay for printing costs. And as most professionals these days use DSLR cameras, you will in effect only be paying for their services and expertise. You can always have the photos printed on card paper at a later time.

142. Fix “must have” shots/moments

Instead of letting a photographer loose on the event with no specific guidelines, sit down and have a meeting with them when you decide on some “must have” photographs. There are some classics that no wedding album is complete without: exchanging the rings, the first dance, cutting the cake, the kiss and so on. Give your photographer creative license and freedom, however do limit the shots to some essential photos!

143. Make only one video copy

If you are working with a professional to have your ceremony recorded on videotape, ask for only one copy. You will have to pay for each additional copy, and it is more affordable to pay for one and make copies later at your own convenience. This works out even better if your hired video-person gives you the final tape on a CD!

144. Book as far in advance as possible

As with all other professionals, photographers and videographers charge much less if you book them well in advance. Any businessman will try to make the most of your urgency by quoting higher rates if you go to them in a time of crisis. Instead, browse different professionals and portfolios at leisure, look for discounts, speak to them about better rates you have been offered and show that you are in no hurry and will only go with someone who works well with you on all counts.

145. Speak to a local photography/videographers’ school

If there is a photography or videographers’ school functioning in your city, it is a goldmine of an opportunity for you. Most such schools seek opportunities to train their students on real-time field assignments and test them with the challenges and demands of an actual project. Also, most schools are looking to add clients and testimonials to their portfolio and will be willing to work on your wedding at very reasonable rates.

146. Pay for work done and not on an hourly basis

Never fall into the trap of hiring a professional on a hourly basis. He or she might hang around at the wedding without doing much, or might run out of photo opportunities early in the ceremony but stick on till the very end and you will end up paying for the time spent instead of the work done. Fix a flat fee that is agreeable to you or fix a fee on the basis of a per-photo rate. This way, you will only pay for photos you like and select and your hired service provider will actually be a professional on scene and not an almost-guest.

The Stationery

Black and white wedding stationery

Wedding stationery is often said to build the first impression of your upcoming ceremony.
Once a wedding has been announced, everyone begins to eagerly look forward to the invites. Before anyone actually attends the ceremony, the opinions are formed on the basis of the invites.

At the wedding itself, other stationery such as place cards, thank you notes, the schedule and so on are carefully analyzed for style, content, design, quality and innovativeness. The pressure is enough to cause anyone to overspend and just because you are on a budget it doesn’t mean you have to get cheap paper or messy printing.

147. Choose a cheap printing method

Letterpress printing is no doubt the most favored and most popular way to have your invites printed, but it is also very expensive. Because the process is essentially labor-intensive, it can be rather costly. You can choose to opt for flat printing, which is cheaper. You can even have simple print-outs done on nice paper- it will hardly cost you.

148. Choose elegant, but economical stationery paper

Who would not like to have heavy parchment paper for their wedding invites? Or perhaps you would like invites printed on silken fabric? Sure, we all dream big but come on, there are so many cheaper stationery paper options available; do you really have to pull out all stops with the material of your invite? There are some great card papers and printing papers that cost a tenth of parchment paper and will look beautiful and elegant. You just have to look around.

149. Avoid using images (cost more to print)

You begin with wanting to include a picture of the two of you on the invite, then you want a snapshot of the engagement, then you want to include an image of the rings and pretty soon, your invites will turn into a photo album. Images cost more to print, especially on card paper, and you should not just limit the number of images, you should do away with them altogether. Don’t complicate things and make your invites and stationery look tacky and messy.

150. Avoid engraving. Use thermographed stationery instead

Engraving is one of the oldest and most glamorous types of printing and also one of the most expensive. You do not have to get your stationery engraved to achieve the classic, formal look you desire. Thermograph is a great alternative and it costs very little and looks much like engraved stationery does.

151. Simple color combos

Firstly, different colors cost different prices to be printed. A unique shade or exotic-looking hue will invariably cost more to print. Also, complicated color combinations, especially those that involve a number of shades, prove to be very expensive. Instead you should opt for classic combos such as ivory and navy blue or cream and black and keep your stationery elegant and economical. Also, use practicality when selecting a color combination. White and lavender sounds lovely, however when you print it, the text will hardly show up!

152. Avoid additional stationery like inner envelopes and blotting paper

When you’re cutting costs, keeping things simple is essential. Inner envelopes, a separate invite for each event, blotting paper, and response slips and so on will only add to your costs. You should print a single invite for the events together and stay clear of additional stationery.

153. Save on postage

Firstly, do not buy postage in small amounts. Buy it in bulk so you get a discount. If you need a lot of stamps save yourself the time, the bother and the money by buying them all at once.

154. Don’t make extra large invites

It might be tempting to order larger-than-normal invites, but these bring with them a whole list of additional expenses. To begin with, you will have to pay for the additional paper.

Then you will be paying a charge because these invites are unusual and don’t fall into the standard sizes. Then, printing on a larger base will cost you more money. After this, you’ll have to get specialized envelopes made to size, which will once again cost you more for the big size.

Once your invites are finally ready you’ll have to post these and because larger invites will be heavier and incur and extra charge due to the size you’ll have to pay additional shipping and postage rates.

155. Ask for electronic RSVP, save on “RSVP stationery and postage”

Remember, when you make it mandatory for guests to respond to the RSVP requests by post, you will also have to pay for their postage. Instead of paying to have RSVP stationery printed and paying for everyone’s return postage, ask them to respond to you by electronic means. You’ll be saving a lot of money, a lot of paper and the hassle of opening up each RSVP letter.

156. Make your own

DIY tips are always the favorites on any budgeting list. You might think making your own stationery can be quite a chore and while it is a lengthy task, you can have personalized invitations that are perfect for your wedding without paying a designer to custom-design and create them for you. Get some card paper, paints, ink, maybe a little glitter and some stick-on embellishments and you can make beautiful cards.

157. Send electronic invites

Electronic invites are becoming really popular these days, especially with the whole world taking to the online realm for their daily activities. In this age of social networking, is it really unusual that more and more couples prefer to send e-invites? These are cheap, they’re environmentally friendly, they’re instantaneous and you can have a ball designing them.

158. Look for free templates online

When it comes to having wedding stationery made, a large portion of the costs is incurred on the designing process. You will have to pay a designer for coming up with the concept and pattern of your stationery. Instead, what you can do is browse websites on the internet and look for free templates. If you find one you like, take it to a printer and you can skip the entire designing charge altogether.

159. Print at home

Printing your invites and stationery at home is a great idea, especially if you’ve designed them on your own using a software program or found free templates. All you have to pay for is the printing paper and the ink cartridges, which amounts to almost nothing in comparison to having the invites printed professionally.

160. Buy mail-order instead of from stores

f you are buying the stationery, do not go to stores and big stationery brands. You will be paying for the product and the store prices. It makes more sense to order from mail-order catalogues as these sell in bulk and at reasonable rates.

161. Proof Read

This might seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many couples find errors on their invitations after they have been printed, and have to do it all over again at an extra cost. Before having your invitations printed have several trusted friends proof read the original and double check that the names, addresses, dates and times are all correct.

162. Order extra invitations

You should order extra invitations just in case of errors when addressing the invitations or you would like to invite other guests once some of your invited guests RSVP back saying that they cannot attend your wedding. Because ordering your extras after the fact will cost you more because everything will have to be set up again as a new order.

163. Use premade invitation kits

Depending on the level of formality of your wedding can use invitations kits. These are invitations that are pre-printed with the standard text that you find on invitations, all that you need to do is fill in the blanks with your wedding details and your invitations are ready. Most come complete with envelopes and some with matching place cards. You will find these at places like newsagents and small specialist gift stores.

164. Contact your local graphic design school

You may find some willing students who are eager to get real life experience and put their design skills to use by creating your wedding invitations for you.

The Music Reception/Ceremony

Guitars for the wedding music

While there are many ceremonies around the world where music is not part of the main ceremony, most cultures do involve music as part of the after-ceremony celebrations. Whether you’re looking to cut costs on music at the main event or the reception, here are some tips:

165. Hire a local band

You do not have to fly in some well-known singer or band to perform at your wedding. Leave these frills to the stars. Are you looking for someone who is a good musician or a known face? You are looking for a good musician, right? So, do the smart thing and visit local music clubs, ask around in your social circles and find a local band that will play good music for a good price.

166. Ask any musician friends/family

Everyone has a friend or a relative who is gifted with a musical instrument or a beautiful voice. What could be a more fitting wedding gift than to have someone close to you perform at your wedding. You will not have to worry about costs and you will enjoy the intimacy of beautiful music, made even better by the fact that someone who personally knows both you and your partner, will be performing.

167. Hire a student band/musician

Student bands and musicians, especially those studying at a local university or college, are always looking to catch a break and make a name for themselves with any and every job that comes their way. Since such bands are only just starting out on the social circuit, they’re relatively inexpensive.

168. Use pre-recorded music instead of a live band

The joys of a live performance are well known and if you cannot afford to have a band or musician perform live, there is very little you can do about it. That said, it does not mean you will not have any music at your wedding. You can have pre-recorded music play in the background and set the tone for the event.

169. Limit the number of musicians/band members. More artists equal more expenses

If you are hiring a band or a group, try to hire one with fewer band members. Also, if they have backup members or additional members whose services you do not require, only hire the ones who will be actively performing. More members means more expenses in terms of fees, refreshments and other odd costs that might turn up.

170. Hire in advance

Book much in advance so that you have a chance to meet with and listen to a number of different performers so that you can shop for a musician or band within your price range. The time will also give you room to change your mind should you come across someone more talented and reasonable.

171. Limit the number of songs

Most artists charge on the basis of the number of songs they will be playing or singing. You can certainly cut down on your expenses by narrowing down the number to a few choice melodies. If your budget is really tight, even a single soulful rendition of a song that is priceless to you and your beloved can be more than enough.

172. Avoid song requests

If you allow your guests to requests songs throughout the event, it will add to your bill. While all artists play a fixed set and are usually happy to do one or two numbers free of charge, endless song requests are chargeable.

173. Make a CD of “our songs”

If you cannot hire an artist at all, don’t fret. Simply go to your computer, make a CD of your favorite songs and play it on a really good sound system at your venue. Remember to include songs that are meaningful to you and your to-be-spouse!

174. Hire a DJ

DJ’s are usually cheaper than hiring a live band and much better than CD music. Before your wedding discuss with him/her the type of music that you would like to be played. They usually have good range of music which would suit most tastes. Some will also have special effects equipment that they will use to create more added atmosphere to the occasion.

If you do decide to hire a DJ get them to play some music on the sound system that they will be using on your wedding day. By doing this you can make a judgment as to whether or not it you like the quality of the music equipment.

The Transport

Picture of bride and groom in car.

The transport is one of the aspects of wedding planning that most couples overlook. Whether it’s just that it is not as exciting as other things, such as the wedding clothes or the wedding cake, or as sentimental as the wedding photos, the transport gets pushed to the backburner of wedding planning activities.

Interestingly enough though it’s also one of those small aspects that have really large price tags associated with them. Booking transport to take you and your wedding party to and from the wedding venue can cause quite a strain on your wallet. Here’s how to work around it:

175. For limousines, avoid high-demand dates

If you are going with the classic choice, the limousine, make sure you plan your wedding at a time when there are no other popular public celebrations and occasions coming up. At times such as Prom and Farewell and Graduation Day, limousine services can cost thousands of dollars. Most companies run out of vehicles and you won’t be able to get one of your choice, and the few companies that will have vehicles available during the mad rush will inflate their prices so much it will no longer be an option.

176. Book in advance

Booking the transport in advance is important so that absolutely nothing can go wrong. The company will have ample time to prepare for your event and ensure that nothing crops up at the last minute. Booking in advance will also ensure that you get regular, even off-season rates. You might even get lucky and make the most of an ongoing discount.

177. Borrow a nice car from someone

If you are close to somebody with a nice car, you can always request him or her to lend it to you for your wedding. Lots of people these days have fancy cars or even vintage cars and these can add a fabulous touch to your wedding. You will have to be careful to make sure that the vehicle is taken care of and returned in pristine shape.

178. Rent a cheaper car, you don’t have to have a limo

It goes without saying that renting a fancy car costs more than renting a regular car. If you are on a tight budget, getting a limousine will only add to your financial strain. You can always get a really nice looking car without going all the way with it. And if you want to mark the occasion, you can always do up the car with flowers and streamers and make it special!

179. Don’t get a different car for each wedding party group

This is one of the common problems most people bring upon themselves. Sure, before the ceremony the bride and the groom have to go in different cars, but you do not have to send every person or group of your wedding party in a different car. Have your parents ride in the same car as you and maybe hire one more car for the bridesmaids. Most people, however, will be comfortable taking their own vehicles.

180. Rent for two different trips (coming to and from the ceremony) instead of paying the driver to wait in-between

Most car rental companies charge on the basis of the time spent during the hired period. So, if you get the driver to hang around while your ceremony goes on, you will be paying a much bigger amount than is necessary.

Instead, you should call them at two different times; once to pick you up from your home and take you to the wedding venue and the other time to take you and your new spouse back from the wedding venue. This way, you cut costs on the waiting period.

181. Try your local classic car club

Some owners of classic cars will hire their cars and act as chauffeur for weddings and in some cases could work out cheaper than hiring from a hire company.

182 Have your wedding and ceremony in one place

If you have your wedding and ceremony in one place you don’t need any transport from the ceremony to the reception. Just get someone to drive you in your own car to the venue.

183. Check to see if the hotel venue has contacts with a car hire company

Some hotels use car hire companies for their VIP guests, ask them if they could get you a discount from the hire company that they use, they just might do this for you because you are a wedding client.

184. Don’t choose extras

When hiring a limousine don’t choose one that has a bar, tv or other extras as you really won’t be using any of these on your wedding. By selecting a car that has the basics only, you will still have an impressive ride to your wedding. The money that you save here can be put towards some other area in your wedding.

The Wedding Favors

Cookie wedding favors

The practice of giving wedding favors is a wedding tradition that is more sentiment and style than anything else.
If you come from a culture where given wedding favors to your guests is custom, you probably can’t escape from the practice. Yet there is a lot that you can do to keep your expenses to the minimum.

185. Buy in bulk

If you’ve decided what you want to give to your guests as wedding favors, buy the item in bulk. When you are buying many of the same things, the seller will make a profit without a doubt and this gives him more room to give you a hefty discount. Also, most sellers run some kind of discount on bulk purchase, which makes it more expensive to pay for each individual item than to pay for the total.

186. Look for online sellers

Buying wedding favors online is a fantastic idea. The best thing with wedding favors is you do not have to entertain the regular online shopping worries about size, taste, expiry date and so on. You’ll probably get something that does not involve any of these concerns, so you can look online for discounted items.

187. Don’t necessarily buy from a wedding shop

The minute you step into a specialty shop, you pay an extra price for the ‘specialty’ bit. So, when you walk into a wedding supplies store, be prepared to dish out some extra dollars just because the shop caters to an exclusive clientele. Instead of spending a lot of money on items you can get at any other store by shopping at a weddings-only shop, look for an alternative store.

189. Buy in the post-festivals/Christmas-New Year period

When you buy right after a festival, there will be lots of discounts and end-of-season sales going on. The great thing about these post-festival discounts is you can find all kinds of items on sale. So whether you’re looking for gift baskets of candy or candles, there’s a lot of money to be saved!

190. Save money on the wrapping

Getting your wedding favors professionally gift-wrapped is not an option. Why waste all that money on a professional when you can do an adequate job yourself? Get transparent cellophane paper, some scissors and lots of ribbon. You can watch a YouTube video or two on how to wrap gifts to get some great ideas!

194. Make your own wedding favors

Making your own wedding favors means you can save a lot of money and satisfy your creative urges. From homemade photo frames to homemade candles, there are lots of artsy ideas you can try. Making your own wedding favors does involve a lot of time and patience, so be sure to enlist the help of some friends.

195. Gift home-recorded CDs

Homemade CDs are a thoughtful, sentimental gift to give to your guests. You don’t have to make play lists of the most obvious musical choices. Pick beautiful melodies and songs that are lesser known, and if they are of some sentimental worth to the listener, then it’s even better. Also when you buy CDs in bulk packs, you may get them at discounted rates.

8 Important Tips for Your Success

Bride and groom walking away.

There are 8 significant and I think the most important tips that you should always keep in mind at every stage of your planning.

#1
196. Be organized

Start your wedding planning by creating a journal. This can be a note book or file. It is important to keep all your information in one place rather than having bits and pieces all over the place where this information can easily get lost. Use it to store your vendor contacts, quotes, venue address and receipts and anything else to do with your wedding.

#2
197. Create your budget first

Before you go out and start spending on your wedding it is wise to sit down and work out a budget and decide on what are the main items that you will not compromise on. For example you may have a dream of a designer dress or having an expensively decorated wedding cake, whatever your preference you should budget for these first.

#3
198. Keep track of your expenses

As you plan your wedding it is wise to keep track of all your expenses this way you will be able to see where every cent has been spent. So get an exercise book and keep it with you at all times when you purchase your items and record what has been spent.

#4
199. Read all contracts

As you confirm all the details with your vendors there will be contracts to sign. Take the time to read all the fine print this way you will avoid any unpleasant surprises of hidden cost which you may not have been made aware of.

#5
200. Keep it real

Don’t plan a large and extravagant wedding for 200 guests when in reality you can only afford 80 wedding guests.

#6
201. Take advantage of store discounts and coupons

Where you can start collecting coupons early and use these to get discounts on your wedding items. Also take advantage of last minute deals but do make sure that you are not paying more than what you originally intended to in the first place.

#7
202. Negotiate a price

Always set a price in your mind before purchasing anything and when the time comes don’t be afraid to negotiate a price – you just might be surprised at the discount you can get as most vendors don’t want to lose a sale.

Another way to negotiate is to get prices in writing (but do be sure that you are NOT OBLIGATED to these quotes). Take the lowest price presented to you and present these to other vendors offering the same service and see if they can match or better these prices before you sign any contracts.

#8
203. Take the time to plan your wedding in advance

Don’t rush into signing any contracts of purchasing items. If you can and do have the luxury of time take advantage of this and shop around for the best prices that you can get.

Images obtained from Flickr have been used by permission under the creative commons licences by -sa/2.0/ and /2.0/ and –nd/2.0/