focus of this special day need not be about how much was spent
or saved. But, here are some budget-savvy strategies to help
make your special day memorable.
1. Prioritize. Decide
what are your top five wedding priorities -- dress, location,
style, etc. Fit these in your budget and cut costs in other
2. Limit your guest list.
Keeping your guest list concise will drastically reduce reception
costs. Most caterers, restaurants and banquet halls charge
per person, so the difference between 100 guests and 150 will
3. Watch your cuisine costs.
Food can be the biggest expense at a wedding. Research your
options. Consider a buffet instead of a sit-down meal, or
host a high tea, a dessert reception, brunch or luncheon instead
of a multicourse meal. Another possibility is "drop-off
4. Choose a low-cost location. There
are many options for low-cost or no-cost locations, including
local and national parks, forest preserves, your own back
yard or that of a friend or relative.
5. Ambience included.
If you choose to wed in a location that is already decorated,
you'll see big savings. A stylish mood is already set in a
garden, art museum or a beautifully furnished home.
6. Get the word out.
Invitations are definitely an area where do-it-yourselfers
can show off their skills and pocket the difference in costs.
7. Be a savvy shopper.
Shop around and negotiate everything. Seek estimates
from at least five vendors in major categories, such as photography,
flowers, clothing, the reception area and caterers. Make sure
every detail is written in a contract. Don't forget that you
have the money. Make the vendors earn it.
8. Do it yourself.
Make like you're in summer camp and do arts and crafts. Try
making your own bouquets, veil, centerpieces and party favors.
But let the experts handle the wedding gown and the cake.
9. Get music on a budget.
A disc jockey offers two benefits: a master of ceremony to
move the reception along and a DJ is usually cheaper than a
band. If your hearts are set on live music, look for bands
that have day jobs and play music for fun. A rock-bottom
budget idea: make your own tapes of your musical favorites.
10. Catch the candid
moments. Place disposable cameras on every reception
table. Encourage your guests to help you capture special moments