The ring is on your finger and now it’s time to start planning your dream wedding
Ever since you were a little girl, you’ve had grandiose ideas of what everything would look like, from your glistening white dress to the table centerpieces.
There might be one problem...
You have a budget.
And it’s a tight one.
There are several ways to make sure your luxury wedding is absolutely beautiful, but doesn’t break the bank.
1. Get Married in the Off Season
May through September is considered the busy season for weddings.
It could also be called the expensive season.
Due to the popularity and demand to get married in the late spring and throughout the summer, wedding venues can charge outrageous rates for hall rentals and food.
And it’s not just the wedding venue showing you that hefty price tag.
Photographers, DJs and florists also charge more during peak wedding season.
Getting married in the fall or winter can sometimes cut that cost by more than half.
Because there is less demand for everything wedding-related during those seasons, photographers, DJs, florists and wedding venue managers are willing to offer a great rate.
And don’t be afraid to negotiate.
Always assume they won’t have any business during your wedding.
If that’s the case, they’ll be willing to give up a few hundred dollars here and there.
2. Get Married Around The Holidays
The holidays are an expensive time of the year regardless, but they’re a great time to get married for a few reasons.
Your decorations are already up.
If you get married at a beautiful estate or hotel around Christmas time, there’s a great chance that the venue is already decorated for the holidays.
You can now check decorations off your list.
Photos are absolutely beautiful if there is a light snow fall.
Of course, this requires a little luck from the weather man, but don’t be scared about the weather.
You’re getting married inside and celebrating inside.
Barring any kind of monstrous snow storm that would prevent guests from attending, a December wedding is absolutely stunning.
Availability is great.
Most Christmas parties at major venues are actually held in the afternoon or on weekdays.
That makes trying to land the perfect wedding venue much easier.
3. Skip Hard Liquor and Offer Only Beer and Wine
You could even opt to not have any alcohol at your wedding, but you don’t want guests to be upset if they were planning on having a drink or two.
Alcohol at a wedding could easily be the top cost, but that can be prevented by avoiding expensive hard liquor.
By serving just wine and beer, the cost is not only cheaper, but it’s also easier to control.
Beer and wine also fills people up quicker than liquor, so they won’t drink as much either.
4. Search Extensively for Photography
Photography is one of the most important services at your wedding.
It’s really the only way to preserve those precious memories visually.
But photography is expensive.
That’s why it’s vital to shop around.
Here are some things to consider when looking for a photographer:
Do I get one or two photographers with this package?
Having a two-person photography team is great because you can have photographer with the bride and groom individually while they are getting ready.
What kind of rights do I get with these photos?
Some photographers will force you to order prints through them, which can be quite expensive.
Look for a photographer that gives you all the rights to your photos, allowing you to print them at affordable photo print shops.
When you have full rights to the photos, it’s also much easier to share those photos on your social networks.
How long do you really need your photographers?
Of course you want your photographer there while the wedding dress is going on, for the couple's first look and the ceremony.
And then you need the traditional photos during the reception (cake cutting, first dance, etc.).
But do you really need them for the last hour or two where only a small crowd is dancing on the floor and people are getting ready to leave?
Budget an hour or two less to save some significant dollars
While having a videographer at your wedding would be great, they tend to cost twice as much as photographers.
Have one of your friends or family members video tape the key moments of your ceremony and reception on a personal camera.
5. Plan Ahead on Your Wedding Dress
Wedding dresses are another item that can put a cramp on your budget.
The number one tip to get the best deal is to shop early.
As soon as you know you’re getting married, start your search for a wedding dress.
You’ll have more time to shop the sales (wedding dresses on sale could come in any size, so you need to look all over the place) and you won’t feel this pressure of having to find a dress last-minute.
When you go last-minute shopping, you become desperate, pull out the credit card and end up spending an unbelievable amount of money.
If the dress isn’t that special to you after the ceremony, you can always sell it after the wedding.
That would allow you to spend a little bit more and get the dress you really want.
6. Explore Your Music Options
Common sense says that a DJ is much more affordable than a live band, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some live music.
The easiest solution is to hire some kind of small quartet — either a jazz combo or string quartet — for your cocktail or dinner hour.
Live music is quite memorable and adds a nice touch to your ceremony.
But isn’t that expensive?
It doesn’t have to be.
Contact a local college or university’s music department and ask if they have a student group willing to play at your wedding.
Students are willing to work for a cheaper price than a professional group and most of the time, they’re just as good, if not better.
Make sure to provide drinks or dinner to these students though as a nice touch.
As far as a DJ goes, remember to negotiate.
If he throws out $600 for the night, come back with $350.
You should be able to meet somewhere in the middle.
7. Get Creative with Invites
There are several online print shops that you never imagined would make beautiful wedding programs and invites.
Vista Print is one of those places.
They tend to be known for business cards and address labels, but they also make great wedding invites, announcements and programs.
To save some more money, print information on both sides.
For example, print your dinner menu on one side of the program and the wedding party information on the other side.
Most print shops will give you great templates that allow for double-sided printing.
Do you have any creative tips to add to this list?
Share your thoughts in the comments below...