August 3, 2011

Budget Friendly Weddings

   Your wedding day is a time that you will cherish for the rest of your life.  It is a special day that should be unforgettable for everyone in attendance.  Even with months of planning, your “perfect dream wedding” can quickly become “pricey dream wedding”.  However, there is no need to cut back on things that you want just because they cost too much.  With a little research and proper planning, you can still plan the perfect wedding without having to break the bank.  Here are some tips to help you along the way to maximize your dollars when planning your day to remember.
  1. Determine what you can spend and stick to it: Sticking to a pre-made budget is the absolute best way to keep the costs down and is the first thing you should do.  Once you have begun your research and have a general idea of what things will cost, you can go back and adjust your budget accordingly. By doing this, you will not run into money trouble closer to the wedding and you may even have a little money left over.  
  2. Compare and keep track of prices for everything: Keeping track of all the little extra fees and costs can save you a ton of money.  Some venues will offer catering, linens, cake, and more for the base price while others will not.
  3. Public places can mean big savings: Many public places can be rented for a lower price than private locations.  Here in Virginia, many of the close by historical sites located on the water and in nature settings are owned by the county or state and offer beautiful, well-kept grounds.
  4. Use the same location: By having your ceremony and reception in the same place, you can pay a single fee and save on transportation costs.  If you are outdoors, you can rent one or several tents to ensure your guests comfort and separate the area.
  5. Use your connections: This can apply in many ways.  Look into community organizations, military discounts, or other large groups that may be offered discounts.  If you have a family member or know someone who has a scenic property, talk to them to see about having your wedding there.
  6. Leave the city:  Big cities mean big prices.  By leaving the city for a smaller rural area you can save a lot of money by taking advantage of lower costs.  You can find countless farms, historic places, and other venues that host wedding by taking a short drive out of the city limits.
  7. Save on the rehearsal dinner site:  This is a great way to save big money, especially if you are going with a rural country theme.  You can often have a backyard barbecue or picnic instead of a big showy rehearsal.  By renting a grill, tables, chairs, and a tent; you can have a more laid back dinner for far less.
  8. Timing is everything:  Saturdays during the Spring and Summer is the most popular time to get married.  By going with another day or during the off-season, you can save big money at venues.    By picking a time during the off-season you can save big bucks.  Also, companies tend to run specials during these slows times where you can find additional savings.
  9. Tents:  They are a growing trend and have countless benefits.  It's not uncommon for people to rent tents for indoor weddings.  They can be placed almost anywhere and can increase the space for your wedding.  For outdoor weddings, multiple tents can be used to separate your  the ceremony and reception if they are in the same location.  They can be decorated in many ways to give the feel of whatever you please.  If it rains, a tent is worth every penny.  Here is a great example of how tents helped save this wedding.  For more information on tent rentals, click here.   
  10. Carefully plan your drink menu: This is an area where you can save a ton of money. Don't go for the full bar, instead serve beer, wine (red and white) and one or two choices of liquor or cocktails.  If you are near a vineyard, offer their wines, which can often be cheaper.  Remember to also offer inexpensive nonalcoholic options.  A great way to expand the drink menus is by including popular mixes for the liquor you have chosen to give guests a wider selection. For example: offer whiskey as one of the liquor options and serve ginger ale or Coke as two of the nonalcoholic choices. Also, don't include shots.  Drinks that require multiple types of liquor quickly run up a bill.  
  11. Band or DJ:  This depends on what kind of music you want.  If you must have a band, look local. Finding a local band or even students will require less in travel costs and they may even be as good as professionals.  If you cant decide between a large band or DJ, go with the DJ; you will save at least half.  You can also see if you can negotiate a price.  You should also consider what types of music you will be playing.  If the crowd is more diverse in their taste of music, a DJ is the better option.  If you are looking to save big money, you can create your own play lists and be your own DJ and just rent the sound equipment.  
  12. Get the perfect setting without the cost:  You can do this several ways.  Caterers can present the food to look very expensive and extravagant by adding a few extra pieces of lush vegetables for little cost.  If you have decided that you want your event outside, there are many things you can do.  For the rural wedding, timeless outdoor displays can be made with little effort.  Tents are also highly customizable.  They can be complete with dance floors, lighting, stages, and table settings of your choice.  This allows for you to hand pick every detail to make sure that your wedding is perfect.  
Its no doubt that planning a wedding is a lot of work.  But planning your wedding doesn't mean it has to cost a lot of money.  By following some of these simple tips, you can save some big money, possibly to be put toward a honeymoon!  

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