How to have a wedding on any budget
Brides have an array of options when it comes to the all important dress. They can get what they want without breaking the bank. The first place to start would be bridal shops such as David's Bridal. You can get a great dress at a great price. I would watch out for the $99.00 sales that a lot of stores offer now. You can also check out dresses on ebay or craigslist. You can find great deals. Don't forget about the ever popular local classifieds also. Local options gives you a chance to go see what you are buying and you don't have to worry about shipping.
Try thinking outside the box a little to save money. First, check and see if a friend or relative has a dress you can borrow. How many brides actually keep their dresses anyway? Also, you can try checking out consignment shops. If you start shopping early enough, you will have time to wait for the perfect deal. Don't forget about nontraditional dresses too. Old prom dresses look beautiful...if they are the right color : ) Another option is to rent your dress. Lightinabox.com is a site where you can rent all sorts of wedding attire. Wedding dresses are as low as $69. Did you know that Target has wedding dresses? You can buy them on line for as little as $99!
Pastry chefs have gotten so creative nowadays that you can have pretty much anything you want. Go ahead and hire the master baker at you favorite sweet shop if you have the money but be warned. According to The Bridal Association of America, the average cake costs $543.00. The most expensive cakes cost $10 a slice! Better keep that guest list low.
The medium cost per slice is about $5.50. Even with a low guest list, you are still looking at almost $600.00. Ouch! Here are some ways to combat that. Use real fresh flowers. They are easier and cheaper than sugar flowers. Fondant icing can add up to $1 per slice so stick to buttercream. Also, some shops charge a fee of $50-$100 for delivery and a cake cutting fee. Keep an eye out for these charges. If you want the look of a tall, tiered wedding cake without the price, ask your baker to put one tier of real cake, which you will cut into, on top of fake tiers made of Styrofoam and icing; then have a sheet cake waiting in the back to be cut.
Think outside the buttercream! Homemade cheesecakes look and taste great! You can put a few on different level stands and have different flavored toppings for each one. Try cupcakes. They are great for portion control and you can make a day out of it with your girlfriends! Use a pastry bag to pile on the icing for a prettier look.
Go custom. You can get invitations in any shape, color, or design. You can give them hand written in calligraphy if you want to. These invitations are usually around $20.00 a piece...that's a lot for paper. There are cheaper alternatives.
You can still pick your size and color, just be more sensible. You can order invitations from www.partycity.com for about $1 a piece. You can also go to Party City or other party supply store and buy invitations pre made in 8 ct packs for $3.99...that's 50 cents a piece. Another cool option is printing your cards at home. Target has 50 ct packs of invitations that start at $24.99. You just bring them home and type out your own personal invite message and print. That's 50 cents a piece for custom cards...you can't beat that.
Most brides use 8-10% of their budget on flowers. Think about your budget and figure out how much it is before you go shopping. You should always know how much your budget is before hand. I am just simply going to show you the best ways to save on flowers and ways to get by with less.
*The most expensive flowers are Lily of the Valley, Calla Lily, Orchids, Magnolias, Peonies, Gardenia and Hydrangea
*Choose flowers that are in season - visit Elegala.com-Weddings and Wedding Planning for a list of flowers by season
*Either cut down your guest list or opt for bigger tables that hold more guests. That way you need less center pieces.
*Use rose petals and votives for a great centerpiece. You can also throw in some colored stones for a more expensive look.
* Use tall glass vases filled with water and stones on the bottom. You can add a single flower in each vase
*If you have your wedding and reception in the same room, you don't have to worry about paying to decorate 2 venues.
*Don't get married on holidays such as Valentines Day or Mothers Day. The price of flowers can double.
*Have your bridesmaids carry a single flower instead of a full bouquet.
Food can take up half the budget and if the budget is small, you have to be creative. If you have a sit down reception, the cost of food is going to be enormous. I would opt for a buffet. You can put a variety of options up and you don't have to fret about whether the right amount of steak verses salmon dishes were made. Plus this gets people out of their seats so they can mingle. You can also save if you have a cocktail and hors d'oeuvres reception. This can save you hundreds! You can save money if you have a lunch or dessert only reception also...dinner is a lot more expensive.
Another way to save is to have the wedding at home and have a friend cook for you. You can also have your favorite restaurant cater. Why not have your favorite food at your wedding?
There are so many options here so I will list a few of my favorite.
*Stay with your theme. If its oriental, give out chopsticks or tiny fortune cookies.
*You can buy bulk packs of blank cds and burn all of your wedding songs onto them for your guests. You can even print personal labels with the day of your wedding on them
*Personalized candy bars are becoming popular. You can get them for about 60 cents each.
*Donate. Instead of favors, put up a note that in lieu of favors, you donated to your favorite charity in the name of all your guests.
*My personal favorite is to set up a 'candy bar' table filled with candies in the colors of your wedding. Set out cellophane bags and let the guests pick out the ones they want. Its always a conversation starter and people will remember it.
Most brides go with a professional photographer that takes pictures of everything from start to finish. Personally, I prefer a couple of the bride and groom and for the rest to be candids. If you get pictures of the wedding only and skip the reception, you can save big bucks. To capture memories at the reception, just strategically place a few disposables on your guests tables and tell them to snap a pic and pass it along. The shots you end up with will be amazing.
I think that most brides push the guestbook to the back burner but it is great opportunity to make a precious wedding memory. Here are a few ideas beyond the traditional book and feather pen.
*Make a guest tree. Put up a real one or rent a fake one. Have the guests leave you a special wish or a favorite memory about you and write it on a tag with ribbon attached. Let them hang it on the tree. At the end of the reception, gather the tags and read them on your honeymoon. You can keep them in a special box and read them on your one year anniversary while you are eating your stale top tier of cake : )
*Set out a picture of you and your groom that has a big matte around it and let the guest sign it. Have it framed and keep forever.
*Get an unfinished ceramic plate or bowl and set it out for guests to sign with a special paint pen. Have the plate glazed and fired and put out as a talking piece in your home.
More Simple Wedding Ideas
1. If the bride and groom aren't living together yet, sell 1 set of furniture and put that money towards wedding expenses.
2. Have a friend or relative become licensed to perform the wedding.
3. To add flare to the cake serving, add the top of a rose or a chocolate covered strawberry to the plate. It makes a beautiful presentation.
4. Give the bridesmaids a dress color and let them shop for the one they want. You will get your color scheme and you give them the opportunity to spend the amount they want and pick a dress that makes them feel comfortable.
5. Instead of pricey flowers, buy plain candles from the dollar store and wrap a single piece of ribbon around each one to give it color. Place that on a mirror and add colored rocks or petals around it.
6. Hire a babysitter to stay in a nearby room with the kids so that parents feel free to mingle but also have close access to their kids.
7. Never have bachelorette/bachelor parties the night before the wedding. I think this one is self-explanatory.
8. Have a personalized slide show of the couple at the reception.
9. Design the wedding around a color or theme and stick to it. It makes the decision making process easier and narrows down options. The less stress the better.
10. Wear comfortable shoes. Even if you insist on wearing heals during the ceremony, have a pair of slippers of crystal studded flip flops to throw on during the reception.
11. Have Fun! It's your day and you can be as creative as you want to. The more off-the-wall the idea is, the more your guests will remember it and enjoy themselves.