Budget Wedding Checklist
It's no surprise that weddings can be expensive -- with so many details to figure out, extra expenses pile up. But with resourcefulness and creative planning, you can have your dream wedding day, down to the last detail, without breaking the bank. Plan ahead to cover every important base on your wedding day.
Finding an inexpensive venue is one of the top priorities in budget wedding planning. Write down a realistic budget and keep it in mind as you search. If you're really dedicated to cutting costs, book your venue as far in advance as possible -- good locations tend to go quickly, and prices usually rise closer to the date. Try to find a venue that works for both the ceremony and the reception -- or book a cheap ceremony venue and pair it with a free reception venue, or vice versa. For instance, hold the ceremony at a church and the reception in a nearby park.
Decoration expenses can add up quickly. If you're holding your wedding in a church or similar venue, see if there are any decorations you can use free of charge. If your wedding coincides with a major holiday, many locations will already feature decorations. Grow your own flowers ahead of time for major floral budget savings. Don't feel obligated to produce major decorations -- keep the look simple and chic, and let you and your partner act as the focal point.
One simple way to cut refreshment costs is catering the wedding yourself. If you know any skilled cooks or people who like being in the kitchen, helping out with the refreshments is a great bonding experience and could even act as a wedding gift. If you don't feel equipped to tackle a wedding cake, try wedding cupcakes instead. These take less pastry expertise and look just as charming. Try baking cupcakes in a variety of flavors and with different wedding-themed decor, displayed on a tiered stand.
Giving up your dream wedding gown can feel like a huge sacrifice, but luckily it's possible to find cheaper alternatives that look just as beautiful going down the aisle. Avoid stores tailored specifically to wedding dresses and instead look at more general clothing stores -- chances are, you'll find a white, cream or ivory dress that flatters your figure and looks stylish, even if it's not a full ball gown. If you have a female relative who's been married, see if you fit in her wedding dress -- wearing your mother's wedding gown is sentimental, and adds vintage charm to your ceremony.
Bridal Party and Guest List
Although you probably want to celebrate your special day with as many friends as possible, scaling back on the guest list is an effective way to decrease your budget. Sit down with your partner and rank your guests by importance -- for instance, nuclear family members probably rank high, while former colleagues may rank low. Stipulating on the invitation that children are not invited can cut costs, but use diplomatic phrasing. Choose a smaller bridal party as well -- two bridesmaids instead of five, and no ushers, for instance.