Wedding Planning How To Have Your Dream Wedding On A Budget

Contributed By Nily Glaser
©All rights reserved, 2004
Many couples are shocked to learn that today, the average wedding costs over $20,000.
But, it does not need to cost quite that much. You can have your dream wedding for a fraction of the price if you use good organizational skills, ingenuity, flexibility, and enlist the help of friends and family.

Many components go into planning a wedding day. Many details need to be completed and intertwined to create not only a wedding but a dream wedding as the bride and groom pictured it. Today, about 70% of the marrying couples pay for their own weddings so, setting a realistic wedding budget and sticking to it is a must if you are to keep the cost of your wedding within your budget. There are many options to choose from and many ways to save. So keep on reading.

So, get creative and examine your options.

SEARCH THE INTERNET
Search the Internet thoroughly and you can save time and money. The World Wide Web Provides you with information and resources for making purchases on-line. Many wedding web sites provide links to wedding related businesses that could be your answer to quality products and services. A-wedding Day offers you a series of wedding planning articles that concentrate on how to choose and work with wedding vendors, professionals and service providers, a wedding resource directory, a wedding planning checklist and a discount bridal mall where you save on wedding gifts and accessories.

SET YOUR PRIORITIES AND YOUR BUDGET
As you plan your wedding create three categories:
  • Must have

  • Optional

  • Nice to have.

    Base your decisions on availability, on your budget and on your ingenuity. Once you decide what your priorities are, use your ingenuity and creativity.
    Involve yourselves, your friends and your families in at least some of the preparations. Loved ones will appreciate the opportunity to contribute to your happy day, have fun and save you money.
    Choose vendors and service providers who can assure that your priorities will be met and that yours will be the wedding you dreamed of.
    Before you do, read the series of wedding planning articles devoted to
    choosing and working with wedding vendors, professionals and service providers

    When you negotiate with vendors and service providers, be firm. Stick to what you decided you want and to what you budgeted for. Do not let them talk you into anything you neither budgeted for, nor want. But by the same token, be flexible enough to spend more or substitute, if you cannot find exactly what you considered a priority within your budget.
    Be sure you are familiar with all changes, return and / or cancellation policies before you sign any contract or finalize any arrangement. Having to buy something twice, or having to pay additional fees for changes can and does add up.
    Always keep documentation of every contract and receipt in a safe place and pay special attention to deadlines for returning items.
    Whether you are looking for a service provider, wedding accessories or wedding supplies Always comparison shop. Interview at lease 3 service providers before you select the one who will accommodate you best.
    Look for discount malls on and off the Internet. Shop for bargains and clearance sales. If you are careful, you can save a lot of money. Do not get confused between inexpensive and cheap. If you purchase at a discount mall, you'll generally receive the same merchandise you would at a more expensive shop and be able to return or exchange items. However, when shopping for reduced priced and clearance items, check to make sure that they are not of inferior quality since you'll most probably not be able to return or exchange them.

    WEDDING CONSULTANTS AND WEDDING PROFESSIONALS CAN SAVE YOU MONEY
    Here too, base your decision on your budget. If your budget permits, engage a wedding consultant to help you with tasks as small as locating trusted vendors and service providers, to tasks as large as organizing your entire wedding event from A-Z. Wedding consultants work with local vendors and service providers, who like the referrals generated by them. As a fair trade, they often have special arrangements for reduced rates which when added up will save you money. Yet, the least you engage outsiders and the more you enlist friends and family and do yourself, the more money you save.

    WEDDING STATIONERY
    You'll probably want to send engagement announcements, save the day, invitations etc...
    If you are willing to depart from the traditional printed invitations you can save not only money but time and anxiety.
    Create your own wedding stationery and invitation right on your computer and print it on blanks. You can purchase all your wedding stationery needs including papers used by professional printers, and click here for
    print your own wedding invitations and stationery instructions, .
    If you have a good printer, your stationery and invitation will look just as professional as the expensive ones ordered from printers.

     

    WEDDING ACCESSORIES FOR CEREMONY AND RECEPTION
    Following are the basic wedding accessories: ring pillow, champagne flutes, cake serving set, guest book, pen, garter, a unity candle set. Additional accessories most brides add are a flower girl basket, a bridal purse, a keep sake cake top and the photo album.
    As most brides opt for coordinating accessories, complete collections are available. You can purchase your collections in an online discount mall and save anywhere from 10 to 25 percent, or you can have others purchase your desired accessories as gifts.
    Your friends and family will most probably celebrate your engagement and up coming wedding with engagement parties and bridal showers and of course gift giving holidays. Most guests need some guidance regarding appropriate gifts but few consider items for the wedding. This is why bridal registries are so helpful. So if you let the hosts of your wedding celebrations know what you want, not only will they be able to coordinate it but they will assure the guests that their gifts are wanted and will be highly appreciated. A win win.

     

    CEREMONY SITE
    The only decorations expected in the ceremony site or sanctuary, are 2 standing flower bouquets. Use flowers that are plentiful and inexpensive. Today, many supermarkets, even Costco sell wonderful fresh and silk flowers and bouquets at a very reasonable price. You may wish to add pew bows. If you make your own you'll save a lot of money. Making the bows is easy and fun and all you need is wide ribbon, scissors and a little time.
    You can make your ceremony special by lighting a unity candle and if you have children, involving them in the ceremony.
    You can buy unity candles in stores, you can order custom designed candles from artisans who will create personalized candles just for you, or you can create your own.

     

    ATTIRE
    Wedding gown
    Wedding gowns are very expensive but there are many options you may exercise to get what you want and save money.
    Do you have a friend or a family member who sews? Engage them and in return give them the honor of serving as an attendant at your wedding party. If you shop for a gown, before you decide to have it custom made, go to department stores and check their sale corner.
    Occasionally, Department stores have wedding gowns on clearance and you can buy a gown at a fraction of its original price and save a "ton" of money. Another option is buying a sample gown which was used for a fashion show or a display. If you still can not find just that special gown, and you need to purchase one, consider a simple gown off the rack. Or comb the wedding ads and auction sites on and off the web. You'll probably be able to buy a gown that was used only once or even a brand new one for "peanuts". To save even more, you may considered a white "prom" or a bridesmaid dress.

     

    Bridesmaids dresses
    Today it is customary for the bridesmaids to purchase their own dresses shoes and accessories. Since they intend to gift their maid of honor and bridesmaids, most brides provide the bridesmaids with custom jewelry that coordinate well with their gowns or dresses. The jewelry does not have to be expensive but does need to be of good quality and look good.

     

    Groom and grooms men
    Depending on your wedding motif, the groom and grooms men can wear a dark suit and white shirt they probably own. Gift them with matching ties for uniformity. If your wedding calls for tuxedos, have the men in the wedding party rent the tuxedos, shoes and accessories. Here too it is customary for the groomsmen to pay for the rental of their attire. Many rental places will furnish the groom's attire for free if all the men from the wedding party rent at the same time as one package. A saving for you.

     

    FLOWERS
    For wedding planning - How to choose a florist, click here
    You can save money on your flower arrangements if you are willing to be 'original' and creative. If any of your guests create flower arrangements even as a hobby, ask them to do the flower arrangements.
    If you can not find a capable guest, you'll need to purchase the bridal bouquet and the flowers for the altar at a reputable florist. But, consider giving the bridesmaids mixed seasonal flowers. They are available in supermarkets and Even at Costco at a fraction of the price charged by a florist. Ask your bridesmaids to insert their bouquets in vases to serve as centerpieces for the reception tables. Your bridesmaids will oblige with pleasure knowing that after the reception they will take home not only their flowers but the vases as well. The flowers will not keep forever, but the vases will become keep sake mementos of your wedding and, you'll save money.

     

    WEDDING RECEPTION SITE
    For wedding planning - How to choose a Wedding Site, click here
    Meal
    The reception is the most expensive part of your wedding. But, you can plan it within your budget and have a memorable event. You must be very particular when choosing the site. It must be appropriate and fit in with your reception plan. It does not have to be a traditional hall. How about having your wedding in a historical home, a park, a museum, fair grounds, public gardens, on the beach, etc... You also need to know if it supplies you with all your furniture and dining needs. If not, you must calculate rental fees.
    When choosing a wedding site, choose slow period and either a friday evening or a Sunday afternoon and you'll be able to negotiate the best deals.
    If you invite some good cooks to your wedding, you may ask them to prepare their favorite recipes for your wedding reception. Also, if you invite some good bakers, ask if they could prepare sweets and desserts or maybe even your wedding cake. You'll save money and they will feel honored for being asked. In fact they'll be delighted to serve too.
    If you have your reception catered, you must consider the number of guests, the time of day and the manner in which food will be served. Will it be refreshments only? dessert only? light snack? a sit-down? a buffet? will you serve alcohol? If bar tenders will serve alcohol will it be an open bar? will you or the guests pay for the drinks?
    There is an enormous difference in price between a light brunch, for example, and a five course sit-down catered dinner. Following are some suggestions you may check out to fit your budget. Have a brunch or an early lunch and you need to serve fruit and vegetables, salads, eggs, cheeses, pastries, coffee, tea and cold drinks buffet style. Have a late lunch and you'll need to add some meats and poultry. You may still serve it buffet style, or as a sit-down meal. A sit-down dinner is by far your most expensive choice.

     

    MUSIC
    For wedding planning - How to choose wedding musicians and entertainment, click here
    When it comes to music, you'll need to decide what fits in with your personalities when choosing whether to use instrumental music, a band or a disc jockey. Check out the local colleges and universities and find out if they have a music department. If so, inquire if there are students in the music program who will be able to perform at your wedding.
    We thank Meredith from Phoenix, AZ who sent us the following information about how she is saving money on wedding music while helping the local high school band in their fund raising efforts. She writes:
    " I am getting married and paying for it myself. So, I have had to cut costs like you wouldn't imaging! One thing that was very important to me and my finace is music. We both were in band and choir in high school and love music to this day. Unfortunately, having a string quartet was entirely too expensive and forget the live band or even a dj at our reception, so i had an idea. I was in jazz band in high school and we were very good, winning all kinds of awards and stuff. High school bands are always looking for fund raisers and so we approached my old high school jazz band about playing at our reception. We worked out a great deal for paying them but significantly lower than getting a professional band. AND, the school usually has uniforms already - just request that as part of the package. Thank you for you web site it has been very helpful. Meredith from Phoenix, AZ :)"
    But, don't overlook your guests. If you invited singers, let them sing. Have them sing a solo or as a group during the ceremony And / or at the reception.

    PHOTOGRAPHERS AND VIDEOGRAPHERS
    When it comes to photographers and videographers, choose your professionals very carefully. Your wedding day will come and go and the photos and video will serve as mementos and memories of your big day. Viewing them you shall re-live it and be able to share it with your kids and theirs building a family history. Before hiring a photographer or a videographer compare prices and references. Choose the very best that are within your budget. Even if you need to choose a smaller package, here is where you want the very best. Go for it. Just like personalized wedding gifts and accessories, photos and videos will become treasured keep sakes to share with and hand down your children. However, consider placing disposable cameras on each table at your reception so your guest will take pictures too. These pictures will usually be real and spontaneous and reflect your wedding as seen by your guests.

    Misc.
    Ask friends to serve as your drivers and save. Instead of a limo, rent a luxury car and have a friend drive. Ask friends to help decorate the reception room, be the disc jockey, help with the seating, etc…
    Good friends and family will be honored and you'll save money and know that your wedding needs were fulfilled with love and care.

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