Budget Your Wedding: 30 Ways To Cut Costs, Part 1

{Note: This is actually an excerpt from a list I put together back in 2006 on budget-friendly tips. }

Maintaining your budget while planning your wedding is no easy task. Giving and taking is the name of the game here, and prioritizing the aspects of your wedding that are most important to you is the first step. From there, unless you have an unlimited amount of money, you have to find ways to save on other aspects of the event. Here are some tips to help you stay on track, without cutting corners!

1. Plan your wedding during the “off season” months- November through March. Many venues and vendors will have significantly lower rental rates during these months.

2. Hold your ceremony and reception all in one location- you’ll save on everything from site fees, transportation, and d├ęcor costs, just to name a few.

3. While you’re at it, plan to wed on a day other than Friday and Saturday. Sundays through Thursdays almost always have lower rental rates associated with them.

4. Really want your wedding on a Saturday? Try having an early ceremony and brunch reception. Or even just an early afternoon reception…sometimes venues will even offer a different rental rate for Saturday “day” and Saturday “night”.

5. Choose invitation styles that are not oversized or square. These types will cost you more in postage. Also keep in mind that ribbons, bows, charms, and wax seals may end up costing you more in postage as well…if they increase the weight of the mailing and/or cause more work for the postal machine or postal worker, you'll pay more.

6. Rule to live by: always bring a full (invitation, reply card, enclosures) envelope to the post office to be weighed.

7. Do you really need Save The Dates? Are you getting married on a holiday, holiday weekend (Labor Day Weekend, Memorial Weekend), or having a Destination Wedding? If not, consider cutting these out of your budget. If you just mail out your invitations 2 months before, you will be providing your guests plenty of notice.

8. If you will have Save The Dates, try using a post card format. No envelopes!

9. Try to order all of your paper products at once-envelopes, Thank You cards, Enclosure cards, invites, etc.: you’ll save more than if you were to order them all separately.

10. Order about 25% more envelopes than you think you’ll need. It will cost you considerably more if you have to go back and order just a pack of envelopes.

11. If you’re having a more casual wedding, consider looking at bridesmaid dresses! Most will come in white or ivory, and many designs available now could easily pass for a wedding gown.

12. Don't forget to look at discount websites and sample sales. Though you may not have the biggest selection of designers and collections to choose from, and if you're in the mood to dig, they can save you beaucoup bucks.

13. In a budget quandry? Trim your guest list ( sorry, lovelies- it's still true!).

14. A general rule of thumb: the more labor-intensive the menu or item, the more expensive it will be (Example: those individual ramekin hors d'oeurves).

15. Seafood can be heavy in cost; consider adding seafood “touches” to your menu items. For instance, have crab-stuffed mushrooms, or add a lobster bisque for topping. Fancy and elegant? Yes. Nightmare bill at the end? Nope!

Check back next week for part 2!

Happy Planning!

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