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Plan a Wedding on a Small Budget

Updated on December 9, 2012

Wedding Planning Done Right - Starting Your Journey!

The first step of how to plan a wedding on a small budget is to start a list of all the things you want in your wedding. Categorize your list according to priority with the most important items listed at the top. As you work through your budget, it will be easier to cross things off the bottom if you start to run over-budget.

Once you’ve made the list, you can use it to help you determine how much you want to spend on each category and individual item. It’s always a good idea to keep a calculator nearby.

Keep your list in a handy note book; a three ring binder and loose lined paper allows you to move pages to the back as you complete certain tasks, but you can use whatever you like to keep your list handy whenever shopping or getting cost estimated from vendors.

If you're looking for a few ways to keep costs down, take a look at the next section...

5 Steps to Save When Planning a Wedding on a Budget

One ~ Ceremony Costs

This is without a doubt the most important question to ask when planning a wedding - where will you hold the ceremony? If it is a religious affair, you may want to hold it in your church, or that of your fiance.

Find out if there are fees for locations and officiant (judge or minister.) Determine the costs for the marriage license and musician. If a personal church wedding, ask talented family members and/or friends to provide musical services. There’s no rule against playing pre-recorded music on a portable stereo over the PA system.

Two ~ Stationary Costs

If you're a budget minded bride and groom, you'll need to save money any way you can. One area of how to plan a wedding on a small budget where you can easily accomplish this is your wedding invitations. You don't have to settle for flimsy paper or poor printing quality. To get the most bang for your buck, purchase your invitations online.

You can design and print the invitations yourself with desktop publishing software, a good laser printer and best quality printing stock with matching envelopes. Check with the US Postal Service to determine what you need to avoid (extra embellishments, overweight envelopes, odd-size envelopes,) or you may incur additiaonal postage charges! Instead of including RSVPS, save postage by including an email address and/or phone number

Three ~ Clothing Costs

The custom made, keepsake wedding dress is a must-have for some brides, but not a necessity. By planning ahead, you can shop sample sales at the end of the bridal season. If you wear size 6 to 10, you will likely find a great bargain.

Auction and buy-it-now websites also offer wedding dress deals. Have your measurements taken by an expert, and know them by heart, and buy a dress one size larger if you do buy online. You can have the dress custom fitted at a reasonable price. Hire a talented friend or relative to make your dress! Offer to pay a fair price for the work. Chances are, your loved one will not chargemuch, or may even donate services as a wedding gift.

Four ~ Venue Costs

Another technique of how to plan a wedding on a small budget is to schedule your wedding between November - April, and hold the event on a Friday or a Sunday. The wedding, reception, dinner and dance can all take place at the same location to avoid double rental fees and transportation costs. If you hold your wedding during the Christmas season, chances are, the venue will already be decorated.

There are many other ways to save money on the venue, especially for small weddings. The back yard of a friend or family member is a great place to have a wedding BBQ during the warmer months. You can string up strands of white or colored lights to add a festive, romantigc feel once the sun sets, then you can party to your heart's content.

Five ~ Favors & Food Costs

An appetizer table at the reception will cost far less than serving gourmet hors d’oeuvres to each guest. Enlist your family and friends to help you make the appetizers. Have a nice wedding topper made for the ceremonial cutting of the cake, then serve sheet cake you and your retinue can bake and decorate yourself. Consider hosting a buffet style lunch rather than a formal dinner meal. Make candy, cookies and fudge for favors at the reception and dance. Have a cash bar and give tickets for one free drink.

These 5 steps for how to plan a wedding on a budget won't solve all your budget problems, but they're guaranteed to cut your costs by hundreds of dollars!

The Wedding Budget Poll

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4 Ways to Get Get Great Second Hand Wedding Dresses

Your wedding day will probably be the biggest day of your life, with memories to last a lifetime. A wedding gown should be the most beautiful and amazing garment you will ever acquire or wear. I say acquire because as prospective brides know or soon discover, the bridal gown will likely be the most expensive garment you will ever wear, and you may well choose NOT to purchase your gown, rather to wear a gently used garment which you can obtain from a variety of sources. This article will list and discuss several ways to get second hand wedding dresses so you can look your best in the perfect dress without spending a lot of money!

Ask Relatives & Friends

Some brides will of course opt for the traditional route, and wear the gown borrowed from or passed down by a close relative. It is a fabulous tradition for the bride to wear an heirloom wedding dress, and this is easiest when the bride has a sense of style similar to her mother, grandmother as the case may be. If your mother saved her dress, it is likely that she's been hoping for the chance to pass it down to you! So, go ahead and ask...this is one of the best ways to get second hand wedding dresses. It will surely make her proud to see you in her dress as you glide down the isle on your big day.

Vintage Clothing Stores

Perhaps you're a history buff, or just have a romantic fondness for a certain period in history. Visiting vintage clothing stores in metropolitan areas is another of the most effective ways to get second hand wedding dresses. You can also look online for a retail outlet specializing in this type of wedding dress. However, most brides want to see and try on the prospective gown before shelling out any cash.

Antique Malls

Visiting large antique malls is another example of ways to get second hand wedding dresses. You may need to make arrangements with the owners to try on an antique wedding dress; as most items for sale in these malls are under consignment. Whether you choose to buy locally or online, - f you can't try the dress on, make sure you get a written agreement for a money back guarantee. That way you won't get stuck with a damaged dress, or something that you don't like.

Local Drama Groups Costume Departments

If you live in or near a college town, or your state university, you're in luck! There's a really good chance the school's theater program has a large cache of costumes with many garments of all types; including wedding dresses! Local bridal shoppes and wedding gown manufacturers sometimes donate new dresses to be worn in by cast members in college and community playhouse productions. So don't be shy! Pick up the phone and give your local theater group a call!

Professional Entertainment Studios & Drama Houses

For those who live near the BIG big cities on either coast, Chicago, Nashville or Las Vegas ~ go ahead, take a shot and make some phone calls to the entertainment venues that present big entertainment productions such as, opera, ballet, Broadway and off-Broadway plays. Virtually any style of gown from virtually any era is surely hanging somewhere in storage, waiting for another hopeful bride to come along, knock off the dust and parade that gown down the aisle one more time! Happy hunting! May you find the dress of your dreams at a price you can easily afford.

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