Get Your Dream Wedding on a Budget

by wrylilt

Why does a beautiful wedding have to be expensive? Here are some top tips to cut the costs on your big day.

You've finally got the proposal you've been waiting for - now it's time to plan for the big day. But there's something you didn't realize - how many different parts there are to a wedding and how much it costs!

I had a wedding in 2007 for $3000 (AUD). It was still a beautiful wedding with photos, food and fun but I managed to cut down on some of the expensive parts.

The following is a list of tips for all parts of your wedding - from the flowers to the reception, cars and food.

You May Legally Repin This Image
You May Legally Repin This Image

The Invites

Some places charge a small fortune for embossed, shiny wedding invites. Why should you pay that when you can send out something more personal for less?

Homemade - For that extra nice touch, make your invites at home. It's easy; buy some thick card, some thin semi-transparent card to type or write the invites on and some ribbon. A bit of work and voilà - personalised invites. Add a special item (such as a shell or pressed flower) for that special touch.

Premade - If you just want to keep to a certain colour theme, it's often cheaper to buy premade wedding invites. Shop around and you can often buy packs of 25, 50 or 100 for just a few dollars, either at local stores or online.

The Venue

Outdoors - If you think the weather will be suitable, consider having the wedding in a garden or park. Just make sure you have a backup plan in case it rains.

Backyard or house - If you or someone you know has a large house or suitable backyard, it might be perfect for a small, memorable wedding.

Hall - Consider using a hall instead of a church. They can often be a fraction of the cost.

The Beach - If you love the sand and sea, the beach may be a cheap and easy option.

The Outfits

Formal/prom dresses - If you choose the right time of year to shop, there are plenty of pretty dresses available in gorgeous styles and colours for girls going to their end of year proms.

Dress variety - If your bridesmaids come in different shapes and sizes, consider getting a completely different dress (style, colour or both) for each bridesmaid. Just remember to vet them before the big day!

Bridesmaid/groomsmen pays - Remember that it's customary in many countries for the bridesmaid and groomsmen to pay for their own dress/suit and shoes.

Suits - Try to buy the groom's suit. You'll find that it's only a little bit more expensive and if there's any accidents you know you won't have to shell out for drycleaning straight away. Hiring suits can often cost as much or more than buying one.

Bridal dress - Consider buying a second hand dress. You can get fashionable and barely used dresses for a fraction of the cost. If they aren't exactly what you want, you can get them altered.

The Reception

Selective invitations - Invite as many people as you want to the wedding but be more selective about the reception, inviting only close family and friends. Another idea is to ask parents to leave the children with a sitter for the reception.

Backyard nibbles - Keep it low key with a small backyard home reception or barbecue.

Pay instead of gift - If you've been living with your fiancee for awhile, chances are you've already got all the home items you need. Requesting guests to pay for their meal instead of bringing a gift may be a good compromise.

The Flowers

Plastic flowers - Silk flowers are coming back into fashion and can often be as much as a 1/4 of the cost of live flowers. They're also a great idea because you can make sure they're right ahead of time and you can keep them for years after the wedding.

In Season - See what flowers are in season and stick with those. Getting flowers that aren't in season can often double the cost. If you have your heart set on a specific flower, see if you can get a slightly different variety (dahlia instead of daisy for instance) or a different flower in the same color.

Other Wedding Tips & Tricks

  • Adding the word wedding onto any item doubles its price. You'll often find the same quality items in non-wedding shops for a fraction of the cost.
  • Try buying wedding items, such as table decorations or hair decorations, online.
  • Ask a family member to act as emcee for the wedding reception.
  • Don't hire cars, ask around. You may have friends who have just purchased a new car or a friend that collects and restores old cars. You may be able to borrow them for a small price or (if you're lucky) for free.
Updated: 02/16/2015, wrylilt
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dustytoes on 04/17/2012

I think it's important for the couple to spend the money for the part of the wedding that is most important to them. If having professional photos is very important then they will have to budget for that and maybe cut back someplace else. You have good suggestions, and there is a LOT that goes into planning a wedding - even a small one!

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