I got a frantic text message this week from my sister in law saying, "my friend is trying to plan a wedding for $2000 and doesn't know where to start!"
So I decided to put together my list of "Budget Friendly" tip when it comes to planning a wedding!
1. The date: Choose a Thursday!!! Or any other day of the week if you plan on using an all inclusive venue. It will be WAY cheaper if you chose an off day or an off season!!! Don't get married March-May or August-October. This goes for rentals and vendors as well. You can get your amazing vendors that are always booked for way cheaper in the off seasons or on a week day.
2. Venue: If you are religious in any way, use your church! Usually ceremonies are free or you make a "donation" to the church. Also many have multi purpose rooms you can rent for free and decorate to look AWESOME! Or take your wedding outside! If you have family or friends with a beautiful backyard, give them a call! Or reserve a public park... I know this one sounds weird but trust me. Here in Las Vegas the county has over 100 parks! A lot of them are really beautiful and not just for playgrounds. If you are in Vegas looking for an outdoor venue, check out anthems plethora of parks. They are all hidden from the street so no car noise. All parks can be reserved online and all have electrical you can hook into! Which brings me to my next advice
3. Decor: Lighting, Lighting, Lighting! you know those white christmas lights everyone owns? send out a mass message to friends and family to keep out their lights as they take that tree down this year so you can borrow them. Or hit the after christmas sale for some. Lighting does wonders for an out door or indoor wedding! Tables - some churches have these you can borrow for free but i have a better idea! Ask around to borrow 6-8ft banquet tables. The linen rentals are cheaper for these tables anyways and you can usually fit more in one area!
4. Food: People offer to help all the time with weddings... this is a great place to accept this help. buy everything to cook the food but have others prepare it. You can do just a desert reception or a backyard BBQ this way. Have an uncle who is a grill master, ask him (as a wedding present) to man the grill for the night! ALSO!! Your favorite "fast food" resturants cater! Cafe Rio charges $7 pp... We used them for a 100 guest wedding and had TONES of food left over. and it was so yummy!!! They brought all their own chafers, plates, silverwear, and napkins too!
5. Cake: Same goes for cake. know someone who is a baking queen? I have had some REALLY good home baked wedding cakes before! Also my diamond in the rough is Albertsons. Skip the fancy bakeries and got to the grocery stores. My next wedding is getting an 8inch round red velvet cake with 7 doz cupcakes (red velvet and chocolate) for $70!!! We did a cake tasting for $6... aka I went and bought a variety of cupcakes to try... and they were a big hit!
6. Attire: If you are not crazy about a wedding dress there are lots of ways to get a beautiful dress to wear for cheep or FREE! First, think of all your awesome friends that have gotten married that are your same size and borrow theirs! I don't know many people that would decline you wearing their wedding dress. Picture shown is of my bride Jessica. This was her second marriage so she saw no point in buying another dress. So she borrowed this beauty from a friend that had been married for 5 years. If your moms is still in style, i'm sure it would thrill her if you wore that one. Check craigslist, Tradesy, or brovo bride. People here are selling or renting their dresses (some times DESIGNER) for next to nothing cause they need the closet space or need the money! Also in this economy there is usually a dress shop close that is closing. you can buy flora samples for 25-40% off! And dont forget good old Davids Bridal. They have their semi annual $99 gown sale! As for the groom, don't waist your money on a Tux rental... buy a suit if he needs an new one! mens wearhouse always has great deals! Or if you are doing a relaxed/casual wedding, let him buy a new colored shirt, suspenders, new tie, and pants.
7. Photography: You don't always need a photographer the whole night BUT YOU DO NEED A PROFESSIONAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER!!!! Do NOT skimp on hiring a pro when it comes to your wedding. Most Photographers have 3 hr packages. You can have photos of your ceremony, a couple bridals and family and then the toasts and first dance... Those are the important shots anyways... You don't really need pics of your groomsmen streaking through your neighborhood drunk at midnight... Just saying! One of my great photographers Vanessa Fultcher at Visions by Vanessa has packages starting @ $400 for weddings!
8. Ceremony: So my new obsession!!! Is there someone you had to leave out of your bridal party? Funny Uncle that's really close? Best friend with no bridal party? Ask them to Marry you! Seriously! Ask them to officiate your wedding! Its really easy. They jump online and obtain a single use officiant permit for like $30. Thats it! This will also make your ceremony mean that much more to you! You can write your own ceremony/vows as well. Decor for ceremonies too can be done beautifully in a simplistic way! if you have a handy soon to be hubby, build something together for the backdrop. Or my Favorite, find a really big tree! You can drape fabric or tulle in it or string lights from it! And then flower petals!!! And lots of them!!! Its a great/ cheap way to bring color to the ceremony. you can get discounted flowers from grocery stores because the roses are on their last leg. these are excellent for aisle petals.
9. Floral: Did you know your local grocery store will make bouts and corsages? Or better yet, make them out of something non floral! The grooms men probably prefer this option! At Costco and Sams Club you can order Bulk roses! If you know someone who dabbles in floral design, ask them to do it as a wedding present! Don't pick flowers that are out of season! Be reasonable people! You can not get Peonies in Dec. End of story! Don't ask!! May through July, that's it! Don't do floral for the bridal party. Give the girls something else to haul down the Aisle like a fan!
10. DJ: Last but not least!!! If you have a party crowd then music is going to be very important. This might be where you want to stick some of that money. But ask around! Hire someone who has their own equipment but does if "for fun". They will have lots of music and will be able to keep your guests entertained. If its not totally important to you, put together a play list and hook up your ipod to some speakers and let it go! Have a friend run it for specialty dances... For my wedding I found a CD of classic Big Band love songs, Frank Sinatra, etc! That played through dinner then I had a "dance mix"! Throw it back to high school and pull out those mix tapes!