When planning your wedding, you’re probably looking to spend the least amount of money possible while still enjoying a memorable day. It’s okay to look for the cheapest way out on some things, but if you cut corners on others, you might be disappointed. In general, anything that will show up in your wedding photos should be as close to perfect as possible. Other things that will be seen for just a short time might not matter as much.
Almost all girls dream of the perfect wedding, and the wedding dress is at the forefront of their thoughts. Since the bride is the star of any wedding celebration, you’ll want your dress to be a perfect fit. You might be able to wear Mom or Grandma’s dress, but can you get it cleaned properly and altered to suit the occasion? Most bridal shops have discounts on discontinued styles, so you can still get a good deal on a classy number from a reputable wedding shop without breaking the bank. The store attendant might be showing you the latest (and most expensive) styles, so make sure to ask if there are any nice dresses in the closeout section.
Professional wedding invitations can be costly, and while every bride wants her invitations to be special, do you really want to spend hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars on something that will likely be thrown away a short time later? There are nice DIY kits that allow you to make your own invitations, but if you want something more professional, you can still save money by going with an invitation that’s printed on a less expensive paper, and not choosing a tri-fold design. If you’re planning a very large wedding, another option would be to have the fancier invitations printed for family and very close friends, and choosing a similar, but less expensive invitation for the remainder of your guests. At a cost of $4-9 per invitation, choosing the cheaper option for the majority can be a real savings. And do you really need printed napkins? You can order a few for your own keepsakes, but most everyone else is going to wipe their mouth with them and toss them in the trash.
Do you want wedding favors that your guests will be able to reuse, or will they be throwaways once the festivities are over? If something will be useful later, there’s no harm in spending a little more if you have the money in your wedding budget, but there’s no sense in spending good money on something that will end up in the trash before the ink is dry on your marriage certificate. Simple wedding favors, even something you and your crafty friends make yourself, might be best.
The wedding cake is usually a big part of the celebration, and will be in many photographs, so you don’t want to scrimp there. You can order a beautiful cake from a reputable bakery for photo ops and for the bridal party to eat, but there’s nothing wrong with ordering (or you and/or your family baking) less elaborate cakes to serve to the remainder of your guests. When buying a wedding cake, you’re paying more for the decorating than the cake itself, and once the cake is cut, no one can tell the difference anyway.
Hair and Makeup
If you’re a girly-girl, you might be able to save a few dollars by doing your own makeup and hair, or by having a friend help you, but remember that you’ll want to look perfect on your special day. It’s worth the price to let a professional take care of those details, because there’s only so much that can be touched up in photos. You don’t want your makeup to melt or your hair to start falling down in the middle of the festivities.
Wedding photos are one thing that you don’t want to scrimp on – there are no do overs! Hire a professional photographer for the main photos of the ceremony and bridal party, but since some wedding photographers charge by the hour on top of how many photos they print for you, you can opt to contract them for only a portion of the reception (cake cutting, first dance, etc), and ask family members and guests to help you capture the rest of the action in candid photos. Also ask the photographer whether you will receive the photographs in digital format.
Think Back While Thinking Ahead
When planning your own wedding, think of weddings that you’ve attended in the past, and try to remember which things were most memorable and use that as a guide to how you want to spend your wedding budget. If your cousin spent thousands on table decorations and you don’t even remember what they were, don’t make the same mistake.
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