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How To Plan A Wedding: Working With a Budget

Updated on November 19, 2009

Congratulations!

Whether it was done in a fancy restaurant, on a beach vacation, or in an airport receiving area, he has just popped the question, and you said yes! Never leave behind that feeling of joy and excitement you have, but do rise from your euphoria enough to ask: What will we do for our wedding?

Many of us have tight budgets nowadays, but still want to have a great wedding and reception. I may not be able to help you with your dream wedding, but I may be able to help you make it affordable with some tips and suggestions I myself am using for my own.

Timing is Everything

First and foremost, you two should probably think about the date. Remember, weddings don't happen over night! My fiance and I chose a date that was almost a year away at the time, and some couples set the date even longer away, for varying reasons of their own, so choose one that sounds good to both of you.

The date will help you to determine what kind of wedding it'll be. Though you might hear a lot about summer and winter weddings, don't forget that fall and spring are also very beautiful times of the year to get married. Once you have your date in mind, you can determine the time frame you have to work with, and can organize accordingly.

Getting Started

Once I had a date for my wedding, the first thing I did was hit the internet to look for ideas on how to organize the upcoming adventure, and you should try it too. There's a lot of great stuff out there to help with organization, creativity, and more, especially if one of the things you're going to skip to save your budget is a wedding consultant.

http://www.theknot.com/ is a great site to get started with. They have a vast amount of ideas and information and (my favorite) a checklist. The list has lots of things you might consider superfluous, but you can just immediately check those off to get them out of the way, so you can focus on the important stuff.

If you're one of those couples who prefer the extraordinary, then you should check out http://offbeatbride.com/ for cool pictures of themed weddings (Halloween ladies, who thinks that's a cool idea or what?) for advice, for vendor lists, and for blogs from brides just like you.

Need some things to focus on to get started? Try thinking about color, theme and location, before moving onto more complicated things, like the dress and the guest list.

The Wedding Party

A wedding party is different for every wedding, but typically it includes brides maids (including maid/matron of honor), groomsmen (including best man), parents of the bride and groom, flower children/ ring bearer and the officiant. Some may also include ushers, pages, or other form of attendant, or whatever applies to each particular culture, religion or tradition you are marrying by.

It is best to choose your attendants early, so that they know what's going on and have time to assist you with planning and details. Remember, they are there to help you, so respect them! Don't be a "bridezilla", it only serves to alienate others, and makes your wedding something less than wonderful, if not for you, than for everyone else.

Venues and Themes

Those of us who don't have the budget for expansive ball room receptions have to be a little more thrifty when we choose a location(s) for ceremony and wedding. This can be as easy has having it in a parent or relatives backyard or on family property (such as a ranch or farm), to renting space in public parks, which is considerably cheaper. Some places of worship might let members have their ceremony for free, so if you are a member of a church, don't leave that option out either. It takes some time, but with the right mindset and a little research, you'll find the place that works for you. You can have two separate places for ceremony and reception, but having just one for both would undoubtedly be cheaper, but it's up to you.

Once you have your location, you can think about the theme you'll use, but be sure to make clear what the location will allow and what it won't allow. Most places can be dressed up to look like anything you want. Well placed potted plants, cute little directional signs if it's a multiple roomed place (perhaps pointing out the bathrooms, or showing the way to the dining area), laying down homey rugs or placing bouquets of spring flowers or autumn leaves and twigs around for splashes of color. Windows and doorways might be draped with color themed fabrics as well, perhaps to match the tablecloths. It's all up to you and your budget.

Outdoor locations, such as gardens, can be great places for both ceremony and reception. Some places may even plant flowers of your choice (several months in advance of course!) to match your theme. If you have relatives who garden, or are florists, perhaps ask if they might grow flowers for you as a wedding gift, and create your bouquet from the flowers they grow.

Be sure to catch my upcoming articles for more tips and wedding ideas!

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