Look over your reception plans, and cut back. Trim down your guest list. The fewer people you invite, the less costs you will incur for invitations, catering, centerpieces and flowers.
Plan the wedding day for an off-season, and really save. Talk to venues to find out what times of the year are their slowest, and while you're at it, always avoid the Saturday wedding. When looking for venues, find one where you can have both the ceremony and reception in one place, saving you in rss for guests and vendors.
Buy your décor early, and always be on the lookout for deals. Remember that after holidays like Christmas, red and green decorations are available at deep discounts, as are blacks, oranges and purples after Halloween.
Lower the cost of flowers by opting for more greenery and filler. Choose cheaper flowers over pricey ones when using them in accent décor. Keep your flower choices to one or two types of seasonal, local flowers.
Cut back on flower use, and use more lanterns and candles. The lanterns can also be given as gifts at the end of the night.
Keep food choices simple and basic. Think comfort foods and buffets.
Avoid the expense of full bars by offering beer, wine and a custom cocktail. Stockpile drinks before the big day. Buying from bulk shops instead of buying direct from a vendor will cut costs big time.
Buy a small, one- to two-tiered cake that will be displayed, and buy a matching sheet cake to supplement the smaller one. Keep the design simple. Avoid sugar flowers by using fresh-cut real flowers. Decorate the cake table with flowers from the ceremony.
Make or buy simple favors. Give one favor per couple, cutting the amount needed in half.
Make your own invitations. With the many DIY kits on the market, you can make a professional-looking invitation. If DIY is not your thing, look for graphic designers breaking into the wedding industry. Some may cut you a break if you're their first wedding.
Contact local city college art departments to see if they have any great photography students who are looking for their first gig. You may have to work with them and do engagement shoots. The savings can make it worth the trouble, however.
Find a disc jockey who can do the music and audio for both the ceremony and reception. Look for one with personality and an ability to control the situation if you don't have a coordinator.
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