How to Have a Dream Wedding on a Budget
by Rachel Greenberg
No one wants to pay more than they have to for anything, especially something as
costly as a wedding. And if you're like me, and you had to foot your own bill,
then you certainly want to keep costs down. I was afraid it couldn't be done,
especially since my husband and I live in one of the most expensive regions of
the country. But my wedding is proof that it can be done, and here's how:
Look for non-profit organizations that host wedding receptions, since their
rental fees are extremely reasonable. And many of them - the American Legion is
one example - have gorgeous, well-maintained facilities. If you prefer an
outdoor wedding, then skip the country club and go to a state or national park,
where you can get beautiful landscapes at a fraction of the cost.
Many rental halls offer full-service catering, which includes linens and
tableware, wait staff, all food prep and cleanup, etc. But unless you're at a
non-profit (which hopefully you are, if you followed step #1), then this can be
extremely expensive. Try to find a smaller catering company that typically does
at-home meal service, since they know how to do things on a budget. And they are
sure to give you excellent customer service.
You must, must, must buy your own alcohol. If you purchase it through your
rental hall at retail price, you will be paying through the nose. If you have
followed step #1, then you have most likely found a place that will allow you to
bring your own alcohol, or will give it to you at a non-profit price. This is
the only way to go.
Flowers & Decorations
Eliminate additional expense by keeping everything simple. There really is no
need to have little party favors at each table, since hardly anyone remembers or
appreciates those items anyway. And go easy on the flowers - having a few simple
arrangements strategically placed can be very sophisticated and elegant.
With the abundance of music available for (legal) download via the internet,
it's easier than ever to create your own CDs to play at the wedding. It's great
to have creative control over the music, and it gives you and your future spouse
a project you can work on together. A lot of rental halls will have equipment
available for you to play your CDs, but you can also rent this equipment fairly
Save on invitations by only ordering paper invitations for family members.
Everyone else, including your friends and extended family, can be invited via
email. You may think it's tacky, but it's really the best way to get an accurate
headcount. It's much easier for people to respond to an email than to have to
mail back a response via snail mail. But still use the paper invitations for
your family, since this is the more traditional route. You can get very
inexpensive invitations these days through various printing websites.
In addition to the recommendations I have listed above, there are many other
little ways you can save. For example, going to discount bridal stores for your
dress, getting a friend to make the wedding cake, etc. - but I have found that
trying to micro-manage every little item on your checklist will make you crazy.
So just keep it simple with the big items that I listed above, and you will have
the ultimate dream wedding - a beautiful venue, excellent food, plenty of
beverages, your favorite music, all on a budget!
Rachel Greenberg has a background in business and finance, and she received her
MBA from Duke University in 1999. She writes fun and informative pieces for her
http://www.bargainfamily.com - which she created with her husband Lee. The
website provides advice and recommendations for families on various products and
services for their homes, lives, and businesses.