Wedding Planning By Jessica Weltersen If you are on a budget but still want a great wedding then I have money saving ideas for you to consider for every aspect involved with your wedding. Read on… Let’s start with the venue. Is your wedding in a Church or Temple? Do you want your wedding and reception in the same place? If you can pick a day or evening other than Saturday, your venue is much more likely to be available, and much more likely to offer you a lower price. Even if it needs to be a weekend because so many of your guests work, you can book a Friday night, or Sunday lunch, and hopefully it will still work for most of your guests and you could save a couple of thousand dollars. Now that you’ve settled on a venue that fits your budget, you have to pick a meal that won’t be too expensive. Steak and lobster is definitely out, and chicken is boring. How about Mexican food, served by a real Mexican Restaurant, who might be able to put on a show by making tortillas right there on the spot. Ask your venue what their specialty is. They might offer you a lower priced meal that you didn’t think of. And don’t forget the champagne toast. Will your venue allow you to buy your own Champagne? – even if they charge you $1 or $2 per person to serve your beverages, you can save another bundle. Wedding Cake – Tell your venue you want to supply it, and you’ll pay them to cut and serve it. Go to a store, get a small to medium sized wedding cake that you love, and get 2 or 3 sheet cakes from Costco to serve to everyone. You cut the prize cake, and the sheet cakes are for the guest. Again a savings of hundreds of dollars. Cameras on the table – Not any more – everyone has their own digital camera, and those that don’t, aren’t taking photos anyway. Centerpieces can be a glass bowl with a fancy fish and colored marbles – sitting on top of a mirror. Total price per table – probably $10 or $15 at the most. A florist will charge you hundreds for table décor. Save it for your fancy bridal bouquet design. DJ – I’m not for skimping on the music, especially if you have a dancing crowd, but if it’s not a Saturday, you’ll save hundreds on a wonderful DJ – who might not even be available if you wanted him for a Saturday. Back to liquor. If you’re keen on paying for everyone, be aware that it’s very common these days for the host to pay for the first hour, and then it’s a no-host bar. For those weekend cowboys who don’t know when to stop, paying for it themselves will slow them down, and that’s good for you too. We certainly don’t want to turn your celebration day into a tragedy. Gifts for your guests and bridal party. Years ago you could give a pack of matches with the bride and groom’s name and date, and that was OK – Now it’s politically not correct, and so maybe a little sweet, engraved, or a little frame, and you can put a cute little saying in there, or a bride and groom photo (from your engagement shoot). For the bridal party, I think you need to spend a little more than you would for guest favors, but again, a nice silver-plated frame – maybe a higher end frame with a photo of you and them, which you will take when the photographer does your family and group photos. Lastly, the transportation. Limos are fun – but expensive – especially on Saturdays. You can wheel and deal with them very effectively if it’s not a Saturday.