How to Have a Big Wedding Without Big Bills

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If you want a wedding with a budget that rivals that of most third world countries, by all means go ahead. However, keep in mind that the cost of a wedding is in no way related to the success of the marriage (hello Kim Kardashian!). Holding a wedding that doesn’t break the bank doesn’t mean it has to look like you saved money. A few simple tricks will keep the budget down and the fun up.

Timing is Everything

Avoid holding your wedding during the most popular months and times. During the winter many venues are cheaper. Friday nights are less popular for weddings, so you may be able to negotiate a lower rate. Hold a Sunday brunch, not only is the cost for food less, but your liquor bill will probably be lower.

Less Paper Mean Less Money

By cutting out some of the outdated elements of invitations, you save money and help the environment. You still should send out an official invitation, not an email. However, it is perfectly acceptable to skip RSVP cards (saves money on postage, too). Set up a wedding web site (free on The Knot) and have people RSVP on-line. Do you really need ceremony programs and place cards? Use a seating chart if it’s a large wedding.

Less Drinks Means Less Drunks

Instead of an open bar, have a signature cocktail (mimosas?), or serve only wine and beer. Never ever have a cash bar. It’s tacky.

One Stop Shopping

Have your ceremony and reception in the same venue, possibly a hotel ballroom. Many places will not charge a ceremony fee (like a house of worship would) and you save on the cost of limos between venues. Usually at a hotel, you have the ceremony in the banquet room and then move to an adjacent area for the receiving line and perhaps a cocktail hour. While you’re mingling with your guests, the hotel staff resets the room for the reception, using the same flowers as for the ceremony. Double the savings!

Season to Taste

Choose flowers that are in season, which are much less expensive.

Icing on the Cake

Instead of an expensive wedding cake, order a sheet cake to be sliced in the kitchen that is served to guests, while you have a smaller cake that is used for photos of you cutting the cake. Or, choose cupcakes instead of a cake. Not only will it be cheaper than a large wedding cake, but many restaurants charge a cutting charge for wedding cake.

Hire A Wedding Planner

Yes, they charge a sizable fee, but in the long run you may save money as they can traditionally get you discounts of up to 20 percent on catering, photography or floral design.

Here’s Where You Don’t Skimp

Photography/Videography – Do you really want to take a chance that your nephew accidentally forgot to press record? Get a professional, if you want to save money, book just a studio session which is usually much cheaper.

Music – You need more than an iPod playlist. It doesn’t have to be a full orchestra, but nothing beats live music. Try a string quartet, a klezmer band or a talented DJ.


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