What is the easiest wedding expense to reduce when a bride is on a budget and how is it done?

Sharon Ives
ScrapFree Photobooks

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Reducing your guest list is the #1 way to reduce your wedding expenses. If you think about it, the # of guests attending your wedding effects everything...food, alcohol, rentals (i.e. tables, chairs, linens, etc...), # of centerpieces, # of invitations/stationery items, postage, and even the size of your wedding cake. I always encourage my brides to keep the guest list to close friends and family if they are on a strict budget.

Happy Planning!

Sumer Schmitt
Simply Perfect Weddings
I agree with Sumer. Reducing the guest list is the #1 way to reduce your wedding expenses. In addition, there are other ways such as - photography - do you have someone in the family who is in the business? If so, see if that person would be willing to do your photos and give you a nice package/price. Or, are you and/or your family members crafty - why not have them make your favors instead of ordering them. You will definitely save money if you do it yourself. There are ways to reduce expenses, you just have to be open to those ideas.
I just read an article that talked about a really progressive way to reduce costs. Now, this idea is NOT for everyone. The idea is "This Wedding Is Brought To You By...." and the bride and groom seek out vendors who will give them free or reduced cost services or products in exchange for letting them advertise at the wedding/reception. For example, I make custom jewelry and can do some favors so I would be willing to cut a deal with the bride and in exchange for that I would be able to put business cards out or put a little card on the table stating where the products came from. It's a crazy idea and I think it can be done tastefully if all parties are in agreement.....

That's a great idea. Also you should know personal costs ahead of time, like these: http://weddings.gatheringguide.com/ac/wedding-budget-timelines/unex...

Reducing the guest list is a good idea, and if you have a photographer in the family that is a Professional, then that would be great too, but you would be using them anyway. Chances are, they already reduced their prices because you are family. But don't expect professional photography from a hobbyist.
Yes the guest list, but I don't agree on the photographer thing, I think and now that this is one of the most important areas of the wedding, Here are the answers that I have impleted for the last 25years, The little things are what add up, in the grand scheme of things, The favors no one really takes them unless they are great food items, or something of value.the camera's on the table forget about that, Invites, you can do things but don't spend tons, because it is not like back in the day where everyone kept them.There are tons of things to do to save. and I would have to put a book up on here, if you need more infor please let me know.

As a Wedding Photographer I agree with you. Basically everything for that day lasts that day, dresses, tux, flowers (unless plastic), cake, DJ, invites are already out the door, Favors (if not food) tend to sit on some shelves and get dusty. However, your photos, are ment to last the rest of your lives. Just like the photos taken before your day, I bet alot of people have photos of there grandparents wedding and who took those---not the guy who just bought a camera cause someone told him he can take a good picture. Sorry, I'll climb off my soap box now.
Thank you.

I have to say that the guest list is the first thing I have the couple cut. I never advise clients to use family for an of the services. The DJ Photographer and Food are the last thing on the chopping block as they set the atmosphere and are the thing the couple and their guest will remember.(I almost say they are off limits) I say start looking at the extras that are being brought into the wedding. What can be substituted at a lesser price or what can be cut out all together? As others have said you can cut back on things such as food. Have a buffet which tendts to be less costly than a sit down, op to get just the proofs not an album just to name a few

I definitely agree with reducing your guest list. This is a definite way to keep costs down. I also agree with the photography. In a mini e-report below I wrote to cut a wedding budget, I do state that I believe photography is one of the most important things. They are the memories that you will have with you forever.
Even though I sell wedding favors, I do believe that you can cut costs there, to be honest. You can make them yourself, or "double duty" place card holders as favors.
And yes, Carrie, advertiser weddings! They don't always have to include a business card, except in your case as with your custom jewelry. It doesn't have to be distasteful either. You could elegantly type it on the back of a printed menu under a "special thanks" section and say something like "Bridal Jewelry brought to you by_______" in beautiful writing. I had an advertiser wedding because I had so many people. I had a 300 person wedding and the hall gave me a HUGE discount. No cards needed because the hall just wanted to get the guests there to experience a great wedding and to showcase their place.
In the end, it comes down to what the couple feels comfortable with. Some brides cannot afford a lot, and a suggestion of cameras on a table works for them, and some brides just want to cut some corners. So I think any suggestions are appreciated. Its nice to learn from each other!

I agree with the guest list. However, if you have to invite everyone on that list, then you could have less expensive food, and/or a shorter reception. You could also serve just beer and wine instead of a full open bar. For photography-often you can now get all of your images on DVD-and there are so many places out there now that you could make your own album after the fact. This is a huge reduction in expenses, since the photographer doesn't put together your album for you at their increased rate. I agree, too, on the invites. If you DIY from Michaels or AC Moore, you can save yourself some money, and even the non-artistically inclined can handle it! Good luck, and congratulations!
Reducing the guest list would be my first idea.....I know it's a touchy subject, but anyone the bride or groom hasn't seen or spoken to in the last 6 months shouldn't HAVE TO be invited, as well as those people on the parents' list that you don't even know. Also, if I had to make a choice between videography or photography, I would choose photography. When ordering invitatiions, there's really no need to have those extra "outside" envelopes or tissue. Try to avoid holidays where flowers are going to be more expensive (Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, etc.) and keep the flowers seasonal.
Most brides often want the look of a 3-4 tier cake, but may not be able to afford the cost. A way to reduce wedding cake expense is that I can create a 2 tier cake and the bottom tier(s) can be a dummy cake that is decorated to look like the top tiers. It has become quite popular, especially in our current economy!

Syreeta Burnett
Ritzy's Sweet and Saucy


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