Getting hitched on a budget is not cheap. It's actually a practical way of getting there and you shouldn’t be embarrassed about being cost-conscious. Even Carmen Elektra, with all the pomp in her own affair, voiced her concerns about too much cost during her pre-wedding prep.
While relatively speaking, most regular couple's budget concerns may seem a pittance compared to Elektra's (her wedding gown alone reputedly cost $10,000), it is still well worth your effort to put some thought into your own wedding preparations. Here's how:
Everything's in the plan.
You can't hope to build a budget if you haven’t got a plan. Start your wedding plans as early as possible. Use a separate notebook to record everything from your schedules, motif, florists, churches, wedding receptions, list of invitees, your mom's clothes, everything. If you can foresee your needs versus your wants, you can trim down your budget significantly.
Limit your invitees
Do you really have to invite Aunt Sally's best friend's cousin who helped you with your third grade art class assignment or every member of your dad's golf club who knows your name? Keep your budget down by focusing on a more intimate, exclusive affair. For everyone else, just host a simple pre- or post-wedding get-together. This way, you get to share with them your happiness without incurring too much cost.
Rent, make or borrow
That includes shoes, jewelry, even utensils and toasting glasses. Ask your relatives, friends and close colleagues for help. Have your flowers, wedding invites and favors made by volunteers and save on cost.
Professional florists cost more, so why not tap your small flower arrangement class around the corner and have them make your bouquets for you?
Consider getting married on a Friday than on a weekend. Restaurants and bars charge cheaper on weekdays than on Saturdays or Sundays.
Wedding gowns and dresses
Wedding gowns can cost a lot, regardless, but you can shave off dollars by a little creativity. Shop for dresses from consignment shops, popular catalogs, newspaper and internet ads. Or, begin a family tradition by using your mother's gown (if it fits) or maybe even your grandmother's beautiful lace dress. Vintage can look very becoming for a wedding. If you want an updated look, go to a trusted seamstress and have it trimmed or embellished.
If you want celebrity wedding gowns on the cheap, check out sites like WeddingChannel.com. You'll find imitation dresses that look exactly the same as the ones worn by your favorite celebrity but at a much affordable price. A $10,000 celebrity wedding dress can be had for $500 to $800.
The most expensive part of your wedding is the reception, so this is the part where you'll need the most help. If you want to have the best budget choice, start your search ahead of time. Look beyond the price when shopping for the right location. Some reception halls may cost more but might have better facilities and extras, so be sure to compare well.
If you're hosting a wedding reception in your home or in a location that doesn’t serve food, you will have to hire a caterer. You can maintain your budget by asking a relative or friend who is qualified to prepare the food. You save more by just spending for the raw materials. Ask for his/her service as a wedding gift instead.
Choose buffet or plate meals or to bring your budget down even further, get married earlier for a breakfast reception. A mid-morning or afternoon reception will mean less food expense, allowing you to serve just hors d' oeuvres, cake or non-alcoholic drinks. You can just add wine or beer later on. To save even more, buy liquor by the bulk or stock up on sale items weeks before the wedding.
Instead of hiring a DJ, record your music in one CD and assign someone to play it at a given time. And when it comes to transportation, rent cars only for the bride, groom and the main entourage like the best man or maid of honor. The rest of the bridal party will usually bring their own cars or ride with their parents, spouses or significant other.
Planning a wedding on a budget need not be a scary, cheapo affair. On the contrary, it can be as classy and as memorable as any expensive wedding. By putting in much creativity and thought into the process, you not only save money, you can even be confident and satisfied enough to know that you are starting a new life on the right foot, debt-free.
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