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The crafty bride knows best

By Kim Fulscher · Bankrate.com
Friday, June 22, 2012
Posted: 1 pm ET

Your best friend in the world is getting married, and the invitation arrives one day … in your Facebook news feed.

Have you ever been invited to a wedding via Evite or Facebook event? While fantastic for the more casual get-together, electronic invites shouldn’t be a way brides and grooms save money on their big day, says Kristin Koch, senior editor at WeddingChannel.com.

"We recommend you send a good, old-fashioned paper invitation," Koch says. After all, what about those relatives who get flustered with technology, and what happens when guests decide to click "attending" at the eleventh hour?

The invitation is just one of the many details you'll mull over when planning the big day. Learn where to trim your budget for the tiny details that can add up quick -- and maybe you can become a do-it-yourself crafty bride, too.

You're invited

There is a happy medium between fiddling with clip art on the computer and hiring a fancy-pants graphic designer to make your invitations. Koch recommends visiting your local stationary shop and being upfront about your budget. Find out what you can afford, and negotiate from there. Ask if you can provide the paper and ink -- leaving only the design and printing to the professionals.

Or, you can search for inexpensive do-it-yourself invitation templates, buy your own paper, use your printer and create the entire invite yourself. Set aside time to research stationary vendors, designs, color schemes, envelopes, postage and the RSVP note -- the tenacity will pay off.

'Save the date' notices

You can hire a photographer, go through some awkward "We're engaged!" poses with your new fiance, and send out an upscale "save the date" notice. Or, you can find an existing photo of the two of you (you're an attractive couple, right?) and navigate the photo section of your local drugstore's website. Most have options for creating postcards out of photos. Stick some details on there, an address and a stamp, and you have a frugal, nice save-the-date.

Wedding reception favors

You've probably been to a few weddings but managed to lose all the trinkets you get at the reception. (For me, that's been a coaster, a wine bottle stopper and a plastic cup.) The average couple spends about $217 on favors, according to TheKnot.com & WeddingChannel.com 2011 Real Weddings Study.

But you can trim that cost by making your own. And if you don't want to to spend dozens of hours creating tchotchkes, provide your guests the gift of choice. Offer several options for charities you'll donate to in lieu of reception favors. Create a sign, put it on a table at the reception, and provide a box with ballots. The amount you donate and the charity (or choices between charities) are up to you.

But there's one thing to remember for these do-it-yourself projects, Koch says: Weigh time against the costs. Is it worth it to save costs but spend 300 hours finishing a project?

"Don’t take on too much," Koch says. "Planning a wedding is … an intense amount of work, time and coordination."

Essentially, don't lose sleep because you're juggling a full-time job that pays the bills with wedding planning that spends the bills.

What are some ways you've saved on wedding costs? Tell me in the comments section!

Follow me on Twitter: @KimSavesMoney.

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