Wedding Planning

Page 4 of 10

Heart-shaped photo of a bridge and groom almost kissing

OK, so you’ve decided to take the plunge. Everyone wants their dream wedding, but don’t get so wrapped up in the ceremony that you forget what it represents. If given the choice, would you want a great wedding or a great marriage? Try not to stress about wedding details and remember that your life together is much more important.

You can save money—and stress—on your big day. Talk to friends and family who have recently tied the knot to learn ways they cut costs or things they deemed unnecessary for their marital bliss. Want to know how to have a happy wedding day and a happy spouse? Check out these wedding planning tips.

Talk about what you can and can’t afford.

Determine what’s most important to you and stick with it. Would you rather have a large wedding and forgo a honeymoon? Care more about the perfect location than a designer wedding gown? Discuss what’s important to both of you and stick with it. Tell others your plan so they can help hold you accountable.

Determine how much you have to spend.

Talk to both sets of parents and tap into your own savings to determine how much you have to spend. Once you have that figure, make sure you stay under that amount. If possible, record what each party is responsible for on paper, so there’s no misunderstanding down the road.

Set a budget.

Now you know how much to spend, set a budget and stick to it. Be sure to include all the costs you’ll incur, like court fees, marriage counseling, the dress, food, entertainment, etc. Assign each item a piece of the pie and do your best not to go over that amount.

Don’t use credit.

It’s easy to get carried away planning for a wedding, especially if using credit to pay for it. A word of caution … don’t use credit! Only use your cash at hand.

Comparison shop.

Look for sales, off-season deals and special discounts to help you pinch every penny. Have a crafty aunt? Ask her to make your centerpieces. Is your sister-in-law a budding graphic artist? Ask her to make your invitations. Personal touches not only cut down on costs, but they make your special occasion more memorable.

Trim costs.

If you haven’t talked to your best friend from second grade in eight years, keep her off the list. Forget about the second week in June and book your event in October or November. Keep in mind the more people you invite and the more popular time of year you get married in will raise the price significantly.

Consider the timing.

Have an afternoon wedding to avoid shelling out tons of money for a nice dinner. Cake, punch and finger foods are perfectly fine for your guests mid-afternoon.

Save on postage.

Instead of a return RSVP envelope, ask guests to respond via email or by phone.

Shop samples.

If you wear a common dress size, shop at sample stores to get designer gowns dirt cheap. Or, shop for gently-used dresses on craigslist or eBay. Dry cleaning a dress can be expensive, so you may want to avoid one with stains or a dirty hem.

Switch days.

The majority of weddings occur on a Friday or Saturday. Be flexible and go with a Sunday date. Vendors will probably be more willing to give you discounts if you decide to go with a day that’s rarely used.

Enlist the help of friends.

Have incredible friends whom you trust completely? Then there’s no need to turn to a wedding planner. Seek your friends’ opinions and assistance during the planning process.

Limit the number of groomsmen and bridesmaids.

If you can’t scale back the number, don’t require formal dress. Allow them to wear semi-formal attire they may already own.

Limit flowers.

Try decorating with balloons or faux flowers if you don’t have a budget for expensive real flowers.

Work with your lighting.

Stock up on clear lighting after Christmas to use in your décor.

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