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

Sharon Ives
ScrapFree Photobooks
sharon@scrapfreephotobooks.com

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I dont agree with this because as a cake designer myself I know that the cost of the cake is not really in the amount of cake you order but in the amount of time spent decorating your cake. Therefore if you reduce the number of servings and use dummy cakes I am still going to charge you to decorate those dummy cakes since it will take me the same amount of time. The best way to reduce the cost of your wedding cake is to simplify the design.

Samantha
Everyone has such great ideas! The food/alcohol/set-up of the reception tends to be the most costly (~50% of the budget), so anything that can be done there can make a big difference in the final cost of the wedding: reduce the number of guests, change the style of the reception to less formal requiring lower catering costs and less floral centerpiece needs, limit the bar (hours or drinks offered). Wedding attire is also a big part of the budget (often as much or more than the photographer). Borrow items when you can such as a veil, head piece, jewelry and consider purchasing a pre-owned wedding gown...we save brides thousands of dollars every day on our pre-owned couture gowns. Gowns that are currently in the bridal salons at full retail, brides to be are purchasing for 30-70% off.
Reducing the Guest list is the best way to cut cost; Photography is not such a good option. If you want great and official Photos just have the Photographer take them before or after the ceremony and skip their services at the Reception if you have enough friends to take pictures for you or if you have friends with Video Cameras that can be set up in various locations in the reception area. On the Flower issue, use the Bouquets from Brides Maids and Maid of Honor as Centerpieces on the more important Tables (Family and Bridal Party), use petals and candles on the rest of the tables. On the Guest Book Tables a picture of the bride and groom with be perfect, on the cake table a couple stems from an English Ivy look great, same on the food tables. For the Ceremony, rent green Plants, Boston Ferns are great because they are big and bushy and don't cost a fortune even if you have to buy them. But check with your local Florist or Greenhouse to see if you can rent them. If you prefer blooming plants (Azalea) make sure they have them in full bloom. Gardenia Plants are also a great rental in the Spring when they bloom. Have the Corsages made from the inexpensive Flower Category, like regular Daisies, Alstromerias, Spray Roses, the Boutonnieres can correspond with them. For the Bridal Bouquet if you want to go all out, go for it, make the Throw Away Bouquet in Silk which will also serve as a Keepsake after the wedding (Just make sure the single Ladies agree to give it back to you), for the Bridesmaids use mixed inexpensive flowers that have the Flowers from the Corsages and Boutonnieres included.
The easiest way to reduce expenses in a wedding is your timing/schedule/planning. If you want a wedding on Saturday at 4PM the last week of May or first week of June, get in line because everyone else does too. What incentive do you offer for a break in pricing from vendors that could fill your slot five times over? None. Instead, consider a wedding earlier in the day, with festivities over by 1PM. Your photographer could double book the date, and has a huge incentive to discount. Same with caterers, officiants, and even rentals. Or maybe consider a Friday night wedding. Think like a wedding vendor managing a business for optimization and efficiency and you're halfway there.

Food/bev is the biggest and therefore easiest expense to trim in a wedding. But you need to give it some thought. Consider a 1PM wedding with a 3 hour reception. Guests are home in time for supper, and you paid $10/head instead of $35/head.

Something else to consider is your venue. Lakeside/beach/park weddings are naturally decorated, and there is no venue rental.
I am not sure about the advertising in exchange for goods to reduce costs....yes it is a great idea but reminds me tooooo much of Star Jones and her wedding.....I thought it was tacky for a celebrity to not pay for her own wedding....I know it doesn't matter who the bride is but that turned me off completely of that idea....

Guest list, definitely, also change the day of the wedding, the time of the wedding, have it on a sunday or friday....i know some can't but there are some that could get married on another day and hold a smaller party in the evening...get rid of favours....most people junk them anyways....cut the alcohol into just specialty drinks, or a wine bar....use flowers that are in season and not necessarily roses....there are some lovely flowers out there that make gorgeous bouquets for half the price....
Hi Sharon. As a professional wedding photographer with 30 years experience I can advise couples on a budget to save on photo expenses by hiring a photographer that will, for a reasonable fee, give you all the retouched digital image files on a DVD so that you can have your own prints made at the lab of your choice, and an album printed by one of the many album publishing firms (MyPublisher is my favorite) available on line. You get the same professional quality wedding photography for a fraction of the cost.


Terry Talbot
Talbot Photography
www.talbotphoto.com
If you're thinking you have to make your own invitations to make your budget, save yourself the frustration of figuring out layout and the printers' expectations and go with MPCreations Custom Invitation Design and Calligraphy. With MPCreations, you get the freedom of saying what you want in an invitation at prices anybody can afford. Reduce your prices even further by scheduling a $20 consultation (credited toward your order) in November and including gold or a shade of yellow in your wedding stationery to get 15 cents off each invitation!
have a wedding planner sit down with you and your budget to figure out what to cut out. A wedding planner is a expert at staying on budget. Each bride has different priorities so it's impossible to say that there is one general thing that should be the first to go for each wedding.
If you want do a wedding ceremony in low budget, you should take a low wedding planning budget and take good wedding planner that they will help you a lot of....


Maui Weddings
I think you're going to get a great variety of responses here, so I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's opinions. I'd say the most important thing is for the bride to prioritize... one bride might not care if her music is simply an ipod shuffle plugged into speakers, while another might be absolutely adamant about having a band. In any case, if you want something to be upscale in one category, you will most likely have to cut back in another.

Here are my tips for ways to cut back without your guests noticing...
-DJ instead of band
-do your own centerpieces and bouquets (get seasonal flowers from a local farmers market)- I did this with no experience and they looked great! (see attached pic)
-put leftover flowers on your cake instead of asking your bakery to work on expensive sugar flowers & detailing for decoration
-get a photographer who will include a slideshow montage with music in the background and skip the videographer
-don't spend a lot on favors- you can find a variety of options online for less than $1 per favor
-don't spend a lot on invitations- you can find a variety of options online for less than $3 per invitation with response card and envelopes

Good Luck!
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Share your wedding day with people that you know will be around to celebrate your 5, 10, 20 and 30th anniversaries. Those are the important people in your life and those that should share your day with you.
Try to purchase preowned wedding items if possible. Please check out BravoBride, we have thousands of gently used wedding items that can really help a bride save money on her big day.

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