How to Plan Your Dream Wedding on a Budget

Arguably, one of the most stressful components to planning your dream wedding is your budget. This is your big day and it should (and will!) be perfect and memorable. You want to invite all of your family, extended relatives, buddies, co-workers, and Facebook friends. You want the over-pricedvenue that serves escargot during cocktail hour and has the wraparound terrace where guests can view the waterfront at sunset. A dozen doves will be released into the air as you and your sweetheart take your first kiss as a married couple. Unfortunately, these are all factors that contribute to the stress of your wedding budget.

If you are one of the lucky ones and budget is not a concern, then we wish you on your merry way! If you are like the rest of us, you’re likely stuck with the dilemma of how to have your dream wedding within the confines of a tight budget. Never fear, we’ve assembled a few tips to help plan for your big day no matter your price point.

Set a budget and  stick to it

This is something that you and your partner need to discuss openly and honestly from the beginning. Then once you’ve both agreed on a number, make sure that you can pull that money together in the months leading up to the wedding. Some couples make the mistake of thinking that they have until the wedding day, but many of your expenses will creep up on you well before then.

Start planning as  early as possible

This seems like a no-brainer, but really is true when it comes to planning your wedding. An early start will allow you to visit with multiple vendors, compare venue rates, seek out discounts, and negotiate pricing. Your negotiating power dwindles as you get closer and closer to your wedding date.

Be flexible

No, not with your budget, but with other aspects of your wedding. Saturday evenings are the most popular (hence, most expensive) time for a wedding reception.Are you open to having a catered brunch for your guests earlier in the day? Would you consider a Sunday wedding reception? If you’ve already found your dream venue, ask about their rates for these alternative time slots.

Purchase non-wedding  items

Have you ever noticed how “wedding” items are automatically marked up in price? There’s a reason for this – there is a lot of money to be made in the wedding industry and manufacturers know it. Instead of an engraved, white unity candle at the ceremony, opt for a (less expensive) plain, white candle sans engraving. Order a small wedding cake for your cake cutting photos, and then order a large (less expensive), but still tasty, sheet cake for your guests to eat. Often times the cake is cut behind the scenes, so your guests will be none the wiser.

 Outline your list of  must-haves

While you’ll need to be flexible in some aspects of your wedding, you need to have things that will make your big day memorable for you and your sweetheart. Create of a *reasonable* list of things that you must have and can afford at your wedding, and then cut out the other things that would be nice but aren’t required. Who says that you can’t have a dozen doves at your wedding ceremony…in your parents’ backyard?

Whatever you do, we hope that your wedding is your dream wedding and, ultimately, that your marriage is your dream marriage. Did you have a dream wedding on a budget? If so, we’d love to hear what budget-friendly tips worked well for you.

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