Wedding Ideas on a Budget that Still Create a Stylish Wedding

Couples often fear that a “low-cost wedding” is a “sad-looking wedding”. Well, it is not! You can achieve a stylish look without borrowing money from friends, family, and your bank, so you don’t start your marriage in debt. So let’s put wedding ideas on a budget in perspective.

More often, couples forget their wedding is, in reality, a celebration of their union. Today, most of the weddings we witness are full event productions, with extravagant décor, special effects, and impressive entertainment. But what about celebrating your love with just a few classic and stylish touches? We at La Dolce Idea always try to enhance each celebration with the couple’s personality: their heritage (Asian favors, for instance), their personal taste (a delicious papaya and mango cake), their favorite destinations (a European theme with signature monuments as centerpieces), and other elements about them. I assure you your guests will remember your wedding more than an aerial performance by acrobats dressed in royal blue, your “wedding color”.

For Wedding Ideas on a Budget, here are some general tips for saving money and having a wonderful celebration. More articles will follow, focusing on flowers and décor, and on the catering aspect of your special day.

  • Always set a budget. You may have flowers as a priority, but you should first determine how much you can spend on the entire occasion, including engagement ring, wedding accessories, cake, honeymoon, etc. Avoid the little details that will be easily forgotten (those tossing petals might be cute but not necessary). Pay wedding costs with a credit card to earn frequent-flyer miles toward your honeymoon, but make sure you pay the balance in full each month in order to avoid incurring interest charges
  • Negotiate – It never hurts to ask. People in the wedding industry are usually quite familiar with budgets and are willing to work with you. Explain your situation and maybe your florist will throw in a flower girl basket and lend you some accessories, but always be very respectful for the quality of products your vendors are providing
  • Besides trying to keep your guest list to a reasonable number, try to keep the number of attendants as small as possible: the larger the bridal party, the more you will spend for gifts and flowers
  • Instead of spending a lot of money on the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding, be creative: an intimate BBQ at a relative’s house could be the perfect solution. Having a good time with some good company is the main goal, and your wedding party will definitely not remember the food they ate or the restaurant they went to for the rehearsal dinner
  • Great wedding ideas on a budget would include not just look at wedding “venues” when you look for your wedding or reception location, but also contact local parks that have beautiful gardens or gazebos, historical sites, or museums. Sometimes places like that allow weddings for donations instead of expensive fees, and their natural landscape won’t need elaborate decorations or additional floral arrangements. Just make sure you always ask about the total capacity, restrictions about alcoholic beverages, whether rentals are included, and if they have a preferred vendor list. Also, choose a site that offers everything. You may think a raw space (such as your own backyard) will save you money, but the cost of all the rentals (tables, chairs, linens, china, a tent depending on weather conditions, etc) will set you behind… and you will be more stressed!
  • When selecting your wedding invitation, choose one that will only require one stamp (no square invites, for instance), and purchase a package. A coordinated set of stationery has an elegant appearance, especially if the designs on each item are similar, not identical. If you can, try to have your reception information added on the ceremony invitation to eliminate the expense of the reception card. Instead of expensive letterpress printing method, opt for thermography or offset printing in one color (two shades of ink might match your wedding scheme but add printing costs). You can even print your own invitations: many stationery stores today provide beautiful sets of wedding invitations, including the invite, envelopes, RSVP cards and RSVP envelopes. Hiring a friend with a knack for graphic design to help can also save you money. Just remember to follow proper wedding invitation etiquette before printing your invitations
  • Look for a dress at sample sales, trunk shows, and outlets; you can sign up for some designers’ sample-sale listings online and at all of your local bridal shops and salons. This will get you a discount on the dress, and you may even score some freebies like a veil or alterations, which can add up to hundreds of dollars in the long run. As an alternative, follow the Brides Against Breast Cancer Tour: you can find gorgeous wedding gowns at discounted price and benefit the Making Memories Foundation, dedicated to cancer patients. For your bridesmaids, you can try regular women’s clothing stores, including department stores. For a spring or summer wedding, use sundresses in your scheme colors and your bridesmaids’ sizes: they will thank you because they will have a dress they can actually wear again. You can also give bridesmaids a color and have them choose the dress in similar shades. You can follow the same advice for flower-girls: frilly spring and Easter dresses often work very well for them. Shoes can be found just about anywhere, not just at bridal stores.
  • Be creative to come up with wedding ideas on a budget. For example, talk with your other engaged friends to see if there are any small wedding items that you can all choose together, buy together, and use at your own weddings, such as ring pillows and aisle runners. Some brides even share veils, and pair them with different headpieces, tiaras, or fresh blooms that match their bridal bouquet design.
  • To make your ceremony extra-personal, ask a close friend or family member to officiate
  • Choose inexpensive entrée items such as chicken and pasta for your reception meal, and then ask your chef or caterer to create gourmet sauces to make those meals extra-special (think about a pasta dish with a fabulous lobster-garnished sauce)
  • Ask talented friends or relatives to help with your wedding. Your skilled friends could make cookie favors, make your bridesmaids’ wedding-day necklaces or bake a dessert for the rehearsal dinner as their wedding gift to you. It’s a win-win!
  • Instead of hiring two bands and paying two separate fees, ask if a few pieces of the band that will be playing at the reception can entertain your guests during the ceremony and cocktail hour
  • Hire a videographer to work just from the ceremony through the first dance rather than for the entire wedding
  • Limo rental is another expense you can cut unless you get a really good deal. Borrow or rent a car, or check and see if someone has a classic car that you could borrow or that they would drive you around in
  • Find well-priced favors on the Internet. There are tons of sites that offer anything you desire, from beach, to Asian, black-and-white, and vintage. Another great idea is to make a charitable donation in honor of your guests: they will definitely appreciate it
  • After the event, donate your flowers to a hospital or nursing home; it’s a thoughtful thing to do and also a tax deduction
  • Take a mini-honeymoon instead of the two-week Caribbean getaway. If your romantic plans far exceed your travel budget, consider setting up a honeymoon registry. These services eliminate the financial burden by allowing wedding guests contribute to your honeymoon budget online. If you decide to pay for your own, choose a destination close to home for your first vacation as husband and wife, and you can plan the more exotic vacation later on. Many four- and five-star resorts throughout the country offer lavish honeymoon suites and packages that can easily compete with those in the Caribbean and other popular honeymoon destinations. Besides, you’ll save on airfare, especially if you book in advance. Cities like Chicago, Austin, Miami, and New Orleans are loaded with personality, charm, and endless possibilities for honeymooners who want to save money and stay close to home

As you can see there are many ways to look at things for Wedding Ideas on a Budget and still create a stylish wedding. In part II, we go into even more details, you can find it here – 19 Tips to Create a Stylish Wedding on a Budget

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