Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Slash Your Wedding Costs

With the cost of an average wedding in the USA at $23,687, today's wedding couples are looking for ways to host their dream wedding at an affordable cost. Besides the obvious of working with your budget, it is possible to have an amazing wedding using common sense, cutting the fat, setting priorities, and having a plan.

Set your priorities: What is important to you? A large wedding reception? Dancing? Alcohol? Music? Your dress? A big wedding album? Write down the priorities in order, budget the largest amount to that category and then cut the fat. Have the wedding you can afford without going into debt.

The day of the week and the time of day will raise or lower the cost of your wedding. Saturday evening is the most expensive time to host a reception, since its the most popular day to have a wedding. Scheduling the wedding on a Friday night or Sunday afternoon will significantly lower your costs. If you aren't planning on serving food, don't schedule the reception for meal time or your guests will expect to be fed.

Cut your guest list. You will pay a per head cost per guest, so cutting your guest list to a manageable list will save you thousands.

An open bar will raise your reception costs. Consider instead having a champagne toast, putting bottles of wine on each table, having a spiked punch fountain, or limiting the open bar to one hour only.

A disc jockey will cost you less than a band. Some disc jockeys will also include dinner music and a video in the cost of their fees. A good DJ will keep the party going, ask for references.

A buffet is less expensive than a sit down dinner. Two main dishes will be less expensive than three main dishes.

Wedding flowers in season will be less expensive than just having to have your favorite flower flown in for your bouquet. Ask your florist to substitute your favorite flower in silk. The savings? Priceless, and you still have what you want!

You can save hundreds to thousands of dollars on your wedding dress by buying a dress on sale or on clearance. All bridal salons have clearance sales usually in the summer and inventory reduction sales in December. Ask if there are any discounts available if you take the stock dress. You can also check eBay for bargains on new wedding dresses. If you are having a destination wedding, consider ordering a bridesmaid dress in white, ivory or champagne for huge savings and the look is the same!

Consider a destination wedding. Destination weddings are less expensive and there's no travel time to your honeymoon, you are already there!

Instead of hiring a wedding planner, do it yourself. Use web sites such as for tips and help in your wedding planning.

Cut the fat: Ask yourself if you really need certain items such as wedding favors, elaborate invitations with all the enclosures, china or elaborate floral decorations on every table. If the answer is yes, then cut the cost.

There are inexpensive wedding favors in the market or make your own. Candy kisses wrapped in tulle make cute inexpensive favors. Buy the candy in bulk, buy the tulle and tie with ribbons from the craft store. You can print tags on your computer with your names and wedding date, put in a hole with a paper punch and tie it on the ribbon. You savings? A lot! These can be done in advance using your family or friends as helpers.

Wedding invitations don't need to be costly. You can buy attractive invitations online for $58 per hundred. This is a significant savings over printing them yourself. Add up the cost of the blank invitation, the printer ink and factor in your time and having them printed can be a big savings. Remember postage costs have gone up, so make sure your invitation will not have oversize or overweight postage. If you invite everyone to the wedding and the reception, you can have your reception printed on the invitation as a footnote. This saves you the cost of reception cards, which is a big savings on the card AND postage.

Flowers at the reception can be a huge budget buster. Every table doesn't need an elaborate floral arrangement to make a statement. Use some ingenuity for your centerpieces and think outside the box. You can float flower heads you buy at the market in a fishbowl from the dollar store and add a floating votive candle. Or order an assortment of 3 to 4 inch blooming potted plants in season from a local grower and have them put in a colored pot cover to match your wedding colors. Group them on tables, varying the heights or put one on each table. You can give them to the guests to take home or take them home and plant them in your own garden after the wedding.

Use bridesmaid bouquets on the head table instead of buying large floral arrangements. Buy large potted ferns for greenery and take them home for your own house after the wedding. Intertwine clear holiday lights at the head table to give the table a festive look without a lot of expense.

Use common sense and don't second guess your choices. There is less chance of going over budget if you keep to your original plan.

Thanks to Wedding Loco for this post!

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