Reducing Wedding Costs for the Bride and Family

Venue, Catering, and Rentals
  • Event Food Service-I question whether serving a meal is necessary.  We didn’t serve a meal at our reception.  Cake and punch is probably the absolute minimum that is needed.  One advantage of skipping a meal is that you can afford to invite more people.  If you want to do a meal, bridalguide.com lists ways to save.
  • Event Location-My brother, sister, and one of my cousins held their weddings and receptions in churches.  Our neighbors held their daughter’s wedding in their backyard.  We had our reception at an Elk’s Club.  We went to a neighbor’s daughter’s wedding in a museum.  Locations are cheaper if it isn’t a Saturday.  There are more ways to save on wedding location at usnews.com.
  • Other Transportation-At my wife’s nephew’s wedding, they provided a bus to a reception out of town at the bride’s family’s house.  It was very nice, but I’d guess it was very expensive.  Most weddings don’t provide transportation.
  • Limo Rental-Most couples don’t.
  • Wedding Cake/dessert-The last wedding we went to had a dessert bar, instead of a cake.  You can look for cakes at the grocery store, rather than using a baker.  Theknot.com has additional suggestions for saving on your wedding cake.

Jewelry
  • Wedding Ring for Groom-Lockergnome.com has suggestions on how to save on a groom’s ring.
Photography and Video
  • Wedding Photographer, Digital or Photo CD, Prints and/or Enlargements-My parents, brother, and sister did not use a professional photographer.  My sister used our cousin, who is an amateur photographer, take pictures.  Bridalguide.com has suggestions on how to save on a professional photographer.
  • Wedding Videographer-Most weddings don’t have one.
  • Wedding Albums or Photo Books-Most couples don’t have them.  Apparently they are being replaced by a CDs.
  • Engagement Session-This is a relatively new development.  I’d question whether it is necessary.
Planner/Consultant

Most people don’t hire one.  Why should you?

Attire and Accessories

Consumer Reports has suggestions how to save on a wedding dress.  So does theknot.com.

Flowers and Decorations
  • Event Flower Arrangements, Event Decorations, Bridesmaid Bouquets, and Corsages-Theknot.com has suggestions on how to save on flowers.
  • Event Table Centerpieces-This isn’t necessary, particularly if you’re not doing a dinner.
  • Flower Petals-I’d question whether they are necessary.
Entertainment
  • Musician, Soloist, Ensemble-Most weddings don’t have paid musicians.
Invitations
  • Invitations & Reply Cards, Thank You Cards, Postage, Ceremony Programs, Table Name and Escort/Place Cards, and Guest Book-Glamour.com has suggestions on how to save on wedding invitations.
  • Reception Menus-These wouldn’t be necessary if you didn’t do a meal.  They probably aren’t necessary if you have a meal.
  • Save the Date Cards-This is a relatively new development.  The argument for them is that wedding invitations come out too late for people to plan.
  • Engagement Announcements-This is also relatively new.  I’m not sure they are necessary.
Gifts and Favors
  • Wedding Favors, Gifts for Parents, Gifts for Attnedants-Popsugar.com has suggestions on how to save on wedding favors.  There haven’t been wedding favors at most weddings we’ve been to.
Beauty and Spa
  • Hair Service, Makeup Service, Manicure and Pedicure-Brides.com has suggestions on how to save on these services.

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