Let's face it; we can't all have a Beverly Hills style wedding. If the thought of your wedding day makes you cringe at the thought of the bills you will have to pay to afford it, it is time to plan a budget. Yup, that B word.
That doesn't mean we can't have fun with what we have. You too can have a beautiful wedding on a budget. It just takes a bit of extra planning and knowing where to go.
Budgeting On The Small Things - To Spend More On The Important Things
The trick to planning a wedding is to be realistic as well as knowing what is important. Do you really need to have expensive roses at every turn? Do you need for your wedding party plates to be porcelain and gold? Realize that the more you can save on certain aspects, the little bit more you could spend on the things that matter to you most, like the wedding dress.
Start with knowing how much you would like to spend, and be realistic. Here's a list at the necessary expenses you can expect from a wedding:
Bride's maids' dresses
Tables and other equipment rentals
Thank you cards (for after the wedding)
You might notice that really, it can be a very simple list when you put it all together and know what you will need. You can go through the list one by one. Note what will be most important to you and where you would be willing to budget. There are tricks to getting the wedding you want, and spending what you want. You don't need a wedding consultant or a high priced caterer to help. In fact, you'll save money if you can do it yourself.
Locations For Your Wedding On A Budget
It all starts with where the wedding will take place. It could be something as simple as a park and gardens. Imagine you might have to decorate less if you pick a location that is already beautiful.
If it will be a church, perhaps see if the church might already be decorated itself. Many churches do not need much decorating additions at all; some already have flowers already in place. If many weddings happen at a particular location, see if you can conspire with another bride and split the cost on flowers and decorations at the place, by having your wedding a little later in the afternoon on the same day.
The location itself doesn't have to be expensive. This is especially true if you call ahead and plan early. The earlier you pick a location, the easier it is to get what you want and at a good price. Remember, a weekday wedding might actually be more affordable than a weekend wedding.
Wedding Cake and Food
Let's start with the cake. There are now tricks that many bakeries are doing to be able to help you get a nice cake without spending a lot. One of the newer tricks is to make a 'fake' cake. The cake has only certain parts that are real cake, like a certain corner of the cake where the bride and groom will cut into, and the top part for saving.
After the cake is cut into, it can be carted off, or it can remain on the table as a decoration only. Pan style cakes are then passed to guests. You could even have mini-cakes created for each guests, which is still cheaper. In the end, it is more affordable to do it this way. Ask a baker about making a 'fake' cake for a tight budget.
For the food, a buffet style wedding is highly recommended by most. It relieves the problem of having to ask, "Chicken or vegetarian?" Imagine all those lost cards and the occasional surprise guests? Buffet style is certainly the way to go.
Plus, if you still want to skimp on the caterer, you can ask the cooks in the family to conspire with you and help out. What could be better to share with friends and family than the favorite dishes you grew up loving? It is a great way to share some memories with all.
Wedding Gowns and Tuxedos
There is so much to consider here. It is an important part of your wedding, though you will only wear a wedding gown once. If you think it will be an important memento that you will want to keep for a while, the best part is to plan ahead and shop early. Perhaps if you consider it a little more, you might think of borrowing a wedding dress, or reselling the dress after on consignment.
Consignment shops are great locations to get designer wedding dresses that are still in like new condition. You'll save so much money and you'll still get a dress, and you might find a wider selection in one or two locations. Don't forget about bride's maids' dresses. Check those same locations for ideas.
Tuxedos are a bit easier to deal with, but what you want to remember is to call in as early as possible. Get all the men fitted and make sure the tuxes arrive at least a day early, so you can make any needed changes if there are problems. You'll save time and frustration by doing it early.
Wedding Invitations, Flowers, and Favors
Other places you can save are in the small things. Buying flowers that are in season can be more affordable. Favors can be bought in bulk online at a variety of stores. Again, shopping around and planning ahead can help.
Wedding invitations are probably a place where you will want to save money by planning early. One of the very first things to think about is what to say and how many invitations you need. You can shop online for wedding invitations and you might find them cheaper online. You can get a copy of an invitation before they are printed off, so you can make any needed corrections before they are sent off.
Music, Decorations and Wedding Photography
Music for during the wedding and at the reception can be selected before hand and made to play on speakers. Ask a music and tech savvy relative to help with burning disks of music and setting up the system. You'll save money on a DJ.
Decorations can be easily bought online. There are many you can buy in bulk and you can purchase ahead of the event, especially to ensure you have enough. Centerpieces can be as simple as a glass vase with candles or a bowl with fancy candies inside.
The photography can be easily worked with. Digital cameras have a very good quality and are relatively cheap. You can give some to photo savvy relatives who can be in charge of taking photographs at the wedding and after. If you want to ensure professional quality, hire a photographer for the wedding only, and select how many shots you want ahead of time.
So you too can take steps to ensure you will have a beautiful wedding, even if you have a limited budget. Take it easy on certain elements to spend more on things that matter. Keep it simple, and keep it fun.