6 Tips To Stretch Your Wedding Budget

wedding-budgetPlanning a wedding is extremely stressful, but add monetary constraints caused by economic woes can make it even more stressful.  Try these 6 budget tips to cut some corners.

Select a special and cost-saving locale
Most churches and chapels decorate for the holidays, spring and winter especially. Take advantage of these beautiful decorations in a house of worship (that’s appropriate for you of course), and schedule your wedding close to a religious holiday and omit floral costs for the ceremony space.

Set the date in the off season
Consider tying the knot when your friends won’t be bored by yet another wedding.  The smaller demand for events in late fall and winter allow for more options, availability, and often better venue and vendor pricing.  Still want a summer wedding?  Then consider a Friday or Sunday instead.

Narrow down your guest list

With each additional guest you invite, the total cost of your wedding increases. Not just because of the additional food costs, but adding guests means more centerpieces, invitations themselves, rentals, cake, and all the other trimmings.  So while you may think that the guest list should include everyone and at work and so on, consider scaling down and hosting a more intimate affair. Try to keep it to those who are closest to you and your fiance only. If the parents are paying and have other ideas, then perhaps say no to children.  You won’t have to plan for a special table, offer them party favors or include kid-friendly food.  Try Get Married’s Guest List Manager also to help with this task.

Cut invitation corners
Today many couples are reaping the benefits of wedding websites (and doing the environment a favor too). While sending out an email invitation isn’t exactly appropriate, including additional information via the web can cut down the cost of your paper invitations.  When it comes to printing your invitations, the most expensive printing is letterpress or engraving, so if you can live without, consider the more affordable options of offset printing or thermography.

Selecting your gown
In this department a little extra effort can go a long way. Take the time to shop sample sales and shop around. Remember dresses can be altered to fit (but keep in mind the alteration costs). And if nearly new is okay by you, consider shops and websites that offer new and/or nearly new couture at a fraction of the price.
Note: When shopping for fashion online, be careful to read the fine print and find shops like Encore Bridal that allow for returns and guarantee the gowns you get.

Select your menu wisely
Don’t spring for the lobster and don’t overdo it on the hors d’oeuvres.  Cutting just one or two items from the cocktail hour can save you cash and your guests will never notice anything missing.  Work with your caterer and allow them to guide you to dishes that are seasonal and often less expensive but still flavorful. And beware of buffets; they tend to be more expensive than a seated meal because the caterer has to prepare enough food for each guest to try everything in abundance.

For more tips to keeping your costs down and your dollar on budget, check out the Budget Manager Tool on GetMarried.com.

7 Tips for the Budget Minded Bride

budget-weddings1The economy got you down?  Or perhaps got your guest count is what’s down?  Your wedding is still one of the most important days of your life, regardless of market status.  So how do you have that fairytale ending but do it on a budget?  Get Married’s host Colin Cowie shares with us some insider trading secrets to creating an extraordinary and cost-conscience event to make your wedding planning a lot easier.

1. Dream big
Small ideas get small results, so put budget aside while envisioning your dream wedding, then figure out what you can afford.

2. Cut your coat according to the cloth

It’s better to do 5 things correctly than 10 things on the skinny.

3. Consider a destination wedding
Weddings can take place anywhere, so think beyond the exotic beach and think about a bed-and-breakfast or country inn.

wedding-dj4. Opt for a fantastic DJ
Instead of a big orchestra band, find a great DJ who can create great background music and just as easily keep the guests moving on the dance floor.

5. Invest in a trusted wedding planner
A professional is there to ease some of the pressure while bringing your vision to a reality.

6. Design a signature drink
Rather than serving an open bar, offer guests a specialty beverage that is as delicious as it is memorable.

7. Create monochromatic flower arrangements using one type of flower
When bundled en masse in short ceramic vases, whether roses or carnations, tulips of spider mums; these flowers are beautiful and impactful

10 Tips For Weddings on a Budget

Mr. Christopher hitting the web waves with some great wedding advice to help with your wedding planning.  I’ve perused the web for you and dug up all of the lists that I could find on budget weddings.  Nowadays the wallet is tight and as a father of not one, not two, but THREE girls, I can tell you, I’ll be trying to find ways to cut corners in every way possible.  So I scraped together the 10 best tips out of all gazillion that were out there.  Here are the most common money saving ideas.

1. wedding-flowersHome Grown – Almost all of the lists made reference to picking a local florist.  Not only picking a local florist, but to be wary of what types of flowers you’re picking.  Getting a dark orchid at under a dollar piece instead of that Egyptian Tiger Lilly kissed by the pharaoh’s daughter at $10 a stem is a big way to save money on something that unfortunately is going to die within a week.

Cool tip: Pick up a bag of white play sand for about $10 at your hardware store and bury any arrangements that you want to keep in the sand for a few days which will naturally dry the bouquets.  They maintain their color, never die,  and you can then use them in art projects, frame them, put in a baggie for memories, or whatever you’d like to do with them.

2. Play That Funky Music – Another popular tip referred to bands and DJ’s.  Most of the lists suggested that you ditch the DJ or band and just make some mix CD’s to play.  The truth about this is that you can really kill the vibe of the reception if your mix CD is cranking Michael Bolton when your guests are ready to rock.  So ditching the DJ is fine, but if you can have that tech savvy music lover in your family (and there’s always one) manning the CD player, you can alleviate some of that awkwardness that comes from bad music placement.

Cool Tip: You can buy a CD mixer for dirt cheap on Ebay (under $50 and super easy to use) that will connect two CD players so that your family member running the CD’s can fade from one song on one CD player to the other so that there’s no awkwardness while they take one CD out of the player to replace it with another.  Dead air sucks.

3. wedding-cupcakeLet Them Eat Cake (or not) – Bakeries that specialize in wedding cakes will drain your wallet dry depending on how big you’d like your cake to be.  Independent bakeries might even be able to make nice two tiered cake for a fraction of the cost.  Many brides refuse to cut this corner, but shop around and especially small local bakeries.

Cool Tip: Great cake ideas like tiered cupcakes or Twinkies is also extremely memorable and very popular. Tres chic.  Whatever that means.

4. Do Me a FavorWedding favors don’t have to be expensive. There are great places online that offer inexpensive wedding favors like GetMarried.com.  Some people also make their own if your artistically inclined and if you have the time.

5. Invitations – While a lot of brides are even willing to print out their own wedding invitations, you might want to look at some of the online companies out there that offer printing services.  A lot of them do not have the overhead that some of larger brick and mortar companies and they can print massive amounts of invitations for dirt cheap.  Once you figure in the cost of paper, ink, and envelopes, you might as well have someone else do the work.

6. Friday Night Lights – This was listed on a few lists.  Most weddings are on Saturdays and that’s why churches and venues charge extremely higher rates.  They know that it may be easier to get your friends in relatives in town on a weekend then say, a Friday.  But you’d be shocked at just how drastic the price difference is if you were to book your wedding on a weekday instead.   If your attendees know about it with good advance notice, you’ll not only save tons of cash, but also greatly open up your options for venues.  The time of day also has a big impact on what you’ll spend. Plan it around dinner and you’re feeding your guests dinner.  If that’s the plan, then…

7. bbqMini Menu – If dinner is on your plan of events for your guests, keep the menu limited.  This applies to rehearsal dinners as well.  Keeping the selection simple will normally keep your catering costs down.  Some lists even suggested a friendly backyard barbecue for the rehearsal dinner which is an excellent idea. Being able to just relax and let the guys do the cooking is inexpensive and relaxing because you’re home.  Just make sure you get some relatives to commit to helping you clean up afterward.

8. Drinky Drinky – Open bars guarantee that people will come.  It will also guarantee that you will get slammed with a hefty bill at the end of the night.   Alcohol makes the costs skyrocket, so doing without will make a huge difference.  You can get inventive with non-alcoholic specialty drinks like the “sprite/sherbet punch in a bowl” phenomenon.  You can also make sure that your guests aren’t driving their children home while under the influence.  If you simply must have alcohol at your wedding, keep it beer and wine.  Decorate large bins filled with ice offering a selection of brew, red wine, white wine, etc.   Hard liquor is a definite no unless they bring their own.

9. Dress for Success
For the Bride: Wedding dresses are so ridiculously expensive and especially ones that are custom made.  Many brides find great deals on the clearance rack and some are even finding their dress for the big day at department stores.  With stores like Target getting into the wedding dress business, finding that beautiful wedding gown may be only a hundred bucks away and nobody will be the wiser.   If everyone thinks you look gorgeous and like a million bucks, what in the world does it matter?  Especially when it will end up in a box in the attic and stored for years after only being worn once.

For the Groom – Let’s face it. 95% of grooms go to a tux rental store to get there tuxes for the big day. Make sure you prowl the online coupon sites for huge deep discounts on tux deals.  They are all clamoring for your business and will undercut their competition by leaps and bounds to get your dollar.

10. Involve the Family – You probably have multiple family members that can help in some form or fashion and save you hundreds if not thousands.  Got a uncle who drives a taxi?  Have him do the chauffeur duties.  Paying him $100 for the night will save you tons of cash.  Got a teen who’s an MP3 player junkie?  You got your DJ!  Just like you, your family members are cutting corners too.  Instead of requesting wedding gifts, ask for their help in whatever their specialty may be.  You may be surprised if you send out an email to ask them how they can help and find hidden talents that you never knew existed.

wedding-planningAs always, some brides just refuse to cut corners and have dreamed of their wedding day since they were children and they have a vision as to how to plan their wedding.   Hopefully these tips will save you big bucks and also help with your wedding planning.  If you’d like more great wedding advice, be sure to tune into WeTV on Saturdays to watch Get Married  or visit their website online at http://www.getmarried.com for everything from wedding planning tips, wedding invitations, wedding favors and gifts, real wedding videos from couples just like you for inspiration and so much more!