The most effective way to lower the cost of a wedding is to lower the number of guests. Food and alcohol are the biggest expenses, therefore, the more people you invite, the more you will spend. If your wedding will be at a hotel, you can save money by grouping the services you need. If the hotel is providing guest accommodations, event space, food, and alcohol, you can often get a lower price since you are getting everything from one service provider.
Negotiate everything. Speak to a manager or someone who has the authority to make deals. Most vendors will gladly throw in a few extras or give you a lower price if they can secure your business. Always ask for a better price or a better deal. The worst the person can do is say “No.” Venues that specialize in weddings usually offer package deals that include everything you will need for once price. These can be a much better deal than hiring separate vendors for each service. Ask friends and family to contribute their skills to your wedding day instead of giving you a gift.
Perhaps your Aunt Sally is an amazing baker and could make your wedding cake, or maybe Cousin Ricky is a graphic designer and could design your wedding invitations.
Hold your ceremony and reception in the same place. You’ll only have to pay one site fee and you won’t need to pay for transportation between locations. Don’t hold your wedding on a Saturday. Since most people have Saturday weddings, they are the most expensive. Consider having it on a Friday or Sunday instead. You’ll save a bundle in almost every area of your budget. May through September is peak wedding season. Often wedding vendors will charge higher prices during these months since there is more demand for their services.
By planning your wedding anywhere from October through April, you’ll be able to get lower prices for the same services. Find out if your church has a hall or room where you could hold your reception. This will usually cost far less than a separate banquet hall. See if your reception venue will allow you to bring in your own alcohol. Most banquet halls, restaurants and hotels usually have a significant markup on liquor. By providing your own, you can save a ton of money. Print your own wedding invitations instead of buying them from a stationer. You can purchase nice quality paper and find free wedding invitation templates online.
If you buy invitations from a stationer, assemble them yourself. Most stationers charge up to $1 per invitation for assembly. The cost of calligraphy can be hefty—often $2 to $3 per envelope. Save that money by using your computer and a good-quality printer, to address your envelopes. By printing directly on the envelope in a script font, you’ll get a similar effect for less money.
Hit the discontinued racks at bridal shops and department stores for bargains on your dress. You can find a great dress for less money. Another way to save money on your wedding dress: Browse internet sites for discount dresses, or gowns that never made it to the altar. Wear your mother’s dress. It can count as your “something borrowed,” and you’ll only have to pay for the cost of cleaning and alterations. For a casual wedding, buy a white or ivory dress off the rack. Not only will you save money, you might be able to wear the dress for other events in the future.
Borrow whatever other wedding accessories you can. These costs can add up quickly, so borrowing jewelry from a friend or family member can help keep your budget under control. Have the groomsmen and fathers rent their tuxedos from the same store. Many businesses will throw in the groom’s formalwear for free. Don’t assume a buffet dinner will be less expensive than a sit-down dinner. Buffets generally require more food, so ask for estimates on the price of both serving options from your caterer before you decide. Have an earlier wedding, and hold a wedding luncheon instead of a dinner reception. Guests tend to eat less and drink less alcohol in the afternoon. Skip the steak and lobster in favor of ethnic foods or seasonal dishes. You’ll cut your food bill significantly.
Have an earlier wedding, and hold a wedding luncheon instead of a dinner reception. Guests tend to eat less and drink less alcohol in the afternoon. Skip the champagne toast. If you’re providing beer wine and liquor for your guests, you can probably skip the traditional champagne toast and save a lot of money. Most guests only have a sip or two of champagne anyway. Limit the menu to 3 courses: dinner salad, entree, and wedding cake for dessert.
Save on your wedding cake bill by having the baker prepare a small cake for the cutting ceremony and a large sheet cake (which is less expensive to make) to be served to your guests. As an alternative to cake, serve decorated cupcakes—or even a variety of doughnuts—instead of an ornate cake that requires many hours to create. You can stack these sweet treats on a large, cake-shaped, tiered tray.
Instead of top-shelf open bar, offer beer, wine, and a perhaps a signature cocktail. By limiting the offering at the bar, you’ll have lower alcohol costs.
Cut down the number of flowers you need in bouquets and centerpieces by using plenty of inexpensive greenery, like ivy and baby’s breath. This will help you save money on wedding flowers. Large floral centerpieces require many blooms. Conserve cash by using low centerpieces, which can look great with fewer flowers.
When choosing ceremony and reception locations, look for a place that doesn’t require additional decorating. Museums or botanical gardens are beautiful spaces and are often available for weddings. Hold your wedding around the holidays, when houses of worship and reception venues are already decorated for the occasion.
Rather than hiring outside musicians, ask whether the organist at your house of worship would perform at your ceremony for a small fee or donation. “Instead of paying a professional string quartet to play at your ceremony or cocktail hour, post an ad at the music department of a local college. There are always talented music students who would love to earn some extra money, and they’ll charge less than a professional musician. Enlist a friend or relative who plays an instrument well, or has a good voice, to lend his or her talents to your wedding day. Chances are, he or she would be honored.
Book a DJ instead of a live band. It usually costs less to hire one person than a whole group. For an informal event, skip the band or DJ and play your favorite music on an ipod during dinner and for dancing. You can rent your own PA equipment for a fraction of the cost of hiring a DJ.
Hire your photographer and videographer from the same company—you may be able to get a discounted rate for doing so. Save on the cost of ordering additional prints from your photographer by using your proofs for an album. Shop post-holiday sales for affordable wedding favors. You can often buy great items like candles and picture frames at rock-bottom prices.
Choose wedding favors that do double duty, like small picture frames that hold your guests’ table cards. – See more at: The Free Wedding