Today’s bride is constantly looking for a way to save money without compromising the wedding of her dreams. Too often we have dreams of carriages, caviar and designer dresses without the means to responsibly pay for them. Silk flowers, wedding dresses found on the discount rack and planning your wedding during less coveted seasons probably top your list. Here are a few less typical ways to save money on your budget without compromising your dream wedding.
Have a children’s menu. Most catering companies will offer plates for children at a much reduced cost. The child sized meals consist of smaller portions. Some caterers offer a separate menu with traditional finger foods like chicken fingers and french fries for your younger guests. These children’s meals also come with a much smaller price tag than what you are paying for your adult guests. Most caterers will not offer this option unless you ask about it, so if you are having more than a handful of children as guests, it is definitely something you want to consider. Of course, a buffet style meal would eliminate the need for a separate menu but some caterers will still offer a lower rate for children. If a considerable number of your guests will be under the legal drinking age you may even be able to negotiate a lower price on your open bar.
Avoid the word “wedding”. During the holidays most department stores will have plenty of dresses that could be used as bridesmaid dresses in a fall or winter wedding. The same goes for spring and summer dresses during prom season. For even more savings on wedding attire, shop at the end of the season when stores have these items priced even lower. Small bottles of bubbles, chic candle holders and rolls of fabrics and ribbons can be found on clearance racks and in closeout bins. When shopping for prices, avoid the word wedding. Adding the word wedding to anything you are shopping for will also add steeply to the price. This even applies to your reception venue and caterer. Tell the people that you are asking for price quotes, you are planning a family event and avoid specifying it is a wedding. Hold them to their price quotes unless they can justify the extra cost. Many sites and caterers will charge an extra premium just because the event is a wedding. This is especially useful if you will be getting your cake and such from an off-site bakery and won’t need anything particularly wedding related from these vendors. Wedding linens shouldn’t cost any extra because they will have to use linens on the tables anyway. Shoes are another great example of prices going sky high when you add the word wedding. Many discount shoe stores have dyeable shoes at reasonable prices for your wedding party. You can even get your wedding shoes there in spring. Accessories quickly raise the price of your wedding attire. Try to look outside the bridal boutique for as many of them as you can.
Save on postage. You found the perfect wedding invitations and the perfect ribbons to adorn them; chances are you don’t care as much about the enclosures such as reply cards. Sine you have to stamp all the reply cards for your guests why not use postcards instead? It usually costs less postage to send a postcard than an enveloped reply card. Also you can save on envelopes. There are many great invitations that allow for customized inserts and have matching reply cards in postcard form.
Ask for a discount. If you are making your own favors or buying silk flowers or large quantities of almost anything, ask for a discount. Many craft and even discount stores would be happy to order a quantity of what you are looking for and give you a discount on the bulk. If all your attendants on either side of the aisle are shopping for attire in one place there may be a discount available possibly even for the bride or groom. Some stores even partner with others for discounts. Many stores allow associates or managers some wiggle room with prices to make a sale. None of these people will offer these discounts unless you ask for them and make it clear you need to save money if you want to go with the options they are suggesting. Never just accept the price without at least trying for a better one.
Think big. Try using larger tables at your reception. Fewer tables mean fewer centerpieces and tablecloths. If you are making these or paying per piece, 5 or 6 less tables can make a difference in budget. Try sitting ten people per table instead of 6 or 8. If the tables are setup correctly it also gives your guests more flexibility in conversation.
Shop off the rack, just not the bridal rack. If you aren’t looking for a big train for your wedding dress, consider a bridesmaids dress in white. Also consider buying a plain white, no frills bridal gown and adding your own embellishments for a custom dress. If you have someone talented in dressmaking in your circle of family and friends, consider buying the material and asking them to make you a custom dress.
Forget the classic reception. Have dinner at your favorite restaurant. Many restaurants have private rooms or areas they can close for your special day. Family style meals or a limited menu can keep your costs low. An added benefit to using a restaurant for your wedding reception is no fees for linens, tables or centerpieces. Many restaurants will also plate your wedding cake as dessert for a small plating fee. A restaurant with a little bit of open floor area can even allow for a first dance. Since you are paying for the guests who order and are served, there is no need to worry about unexpected guests as long as you do not go over the maximum capacity for the area of the restaurant that you are using.
There are plenty of ways to save money on traditional wedding elements. You don’t want to be afraid to throw tradition to the wind altogether to give yourself a wonderful day at a considerable savings.