Budget Wedding: 9 Tips for a Cheap and Beautiful Wedding

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Budget Wedding: 9 Tips for a Cheap and Beautiful Wedding

From a young age, most girls dream about their "Big Day." The beautiful flowers, the sparkling ring and the dress – Oh! The gorgeous dress! – are all elements often found in a typical girl's daydreams. Once you say "Yes!" to the engagement ring, you realize that there is so much to do before the big day.

But what if you don't have the typical 20K+ wedding budget? No worries! You can have a terrific wedding on a small budget by eliminating any extra frills and knowing the right strategies. Below are the 9 basic wedding elements and the budget-friendly tips for planning a beautiful event.

1. Guest List

You can save and allot your money to other wedding resources if you carefully comb through your guest list. Having fewer guests involves less catering, less food and drink and fewer expenses. It's difficult to cut people off the attendee roster, but if you haven't seen or even spoken to someone in ages, it's ok to exclude them from the list.

2. Invitations

Save money on wedding invitations by cutting back on all the frills. Postage is rather costly for larger, oddly shaped invites, so stick with something small and simple. Or, email your save-the-dates and have guest email their RSVPs rather than using snail mail or sending response cards. You can also print or make your own invitations and send personal thank you emails post-wedding.

3. Wedding Date and Location

The date and location of a wedding can greatly affect your overall budget. Consider scheduling your wedding in the off-season months, as many venues and vendors typically hunt for business during this time and are willing to offer better deals. Scout non-traditional venues such as restaurants, parks, museums or the house of someone you know. This may save you more money than going to a hotel or club house.

4. The Dress

You can skip the couture boutiques and cut your wedding dress cost significantly by shopping online for the best deals. You can also find once-worn designer gowns on eBay for a fraction of the original price or get a good deal at a bridal shop sample sale. Perhaps even consider searching for a "white" or "ivory formal evening gown" instead of a "bridal gown"; this will cut the price of your dress by quite a bit in many cases.

5. Wedding Party Attire

A great way to cut costs in this area is by letting your bridesmaids choose and buy their own dresses. Keep a uniform look by requesting that the dresses be in your wedding color or general color scheme. Similarly, the groomsmen do not have to wear tuxedos; instead, they can keep their suits in the same color scheme and perhaps only wear matching ties for consistency.

6. Menu

An essential element of weddings, the menu you select can drive your budget through the roof. If you are set on having a seated dinner, don't be afraid to ask the caterer for the least expensive entrée, as well as trim a five-course meal to only a three-course meal. Other options include buffet dinners or simply drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Beer and wine cost less than liquor, and you can buy your own at a discount store if permitted by your venue.

7. Flowers and Decorations

Even on a budget, you can create a beautiful wedding setting. Choosing seasonal flowers will save you money as they are easily attainable. Certain rose variations, carnations, camellias, chrysanthemums, freesias and daisies are among some of the most budget-friendly flowers, as opposed to orchids, magnolias, calla lilies and peonies. Use fewer flowers and compensate by embellishing your setting with less expensive décor, such as candles, lanterns, fruits and greenery.

8. Photography

Minimize your photography costs by hiring a professional to only take pictures before and during the ceremony. Let guests take candid pictures at the reception and ask if they can share the images on an image hosting site or make an image disc for you to keep afterward.

If you have a talented shutterbug friend, or even better, one who is a pro, ask them to photograph your wedding as a gift to you. Another great option is to scout talented photography students at a local college or university. In return for a discount price, they have the opportunity to build their portfolios.

9. Music

Rather than hiring a DJ (which can cost a pretty penny), make your own personal playlist on your iPod or MP3 player to play during the reception. You may only need to rent a sound system, but it is much less costly than hiring a DJ or live cover band. Plus, you're guaranteed to only hear the songs you like.

Planning a wedding requires careful consideration, as well as diligent money and time management. The first step in making sure you don't go over your budget is to outline a list of what you need and want for your event. The second step is to know the strategies that will keep you within your budget. Before saying "I Do," keep these 9 budget-friendly tips in mind. In the end, you will have saved more money, as well as enjoyed your own beautiful wedding.

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