Most brides (and their families) wouldn't mind shaving a few dollars off of their wedding budget, but not at the expense of having a less desirable wedding. But what if by reducing your costs, you could make your wedding even more special? The following budget-reducing tips will help any bride-to-be plan a truly memorable, and meaningful, wedding day.
- Instead of ordering thank you notes, purchase inexpensive and colorful postcards while on your honeymoon to use as thank you cards. Not only will the recipients be touched by the personal gesture, but you'll also save money on the cost of stationery and postage.
- As a unique rehearsal dinner or as an activity during a destination wedding weekend, help build a house for Habitat for Humanity, repair a National Park hiking trail, or choose one of the many other volunteer opportunities that are available in your community. Not only will everyone get to know each other better, but you'll also be helping to make the world a little bit better.
- Wedding guests are always interested in a couple's love story. Tell your special story through inexpensive reception centerpieces. Buy picture frames at a discount store and paint them colors to complement your wedding decor. Use the frames to display mementos of you and your fiancÚ, such as photos, postcards, love letters and souvenirs. Arrange a variety of different sizes of frames in the center of a table for a conversation piece that will have your guests talking.
- For an intimate rehearsal dinner or bridal shower, have guests bring a favorite family recipe to your home to share with everyone. Spend your time together cooking and sharing memories.
- Use artificial or dried flowers to create the arrangements for your wedding ceremony and reception. Not only will the expense be less than fresh flower arrangements, but you will also be able to incorporate the arrangements into the decor of your new home.
- Instead of a having a pre-formed bridal bouquet, create your own as you walk down the aisle. Have members of your family or everyone in the crowd give you one single flower as you walk down the aisle. Since a large portion of the bouquet's cost is labor, you'll save money but increase your bouquet's significance.
- Plain glass Christmas balls can be used in your wedding throughout the year to add color and elegance and to provide you with cherished keepsakes. Fill large, decorative bowls with ornaments for dramatic centerpieces. Put paint pens on the tables so that guests can decorate some of the ornaments for you to hang on your first Christmas tree. Not only can the ornaments be purchased cheaply during after-Christmas sales, but you'll also have cherished wedding mementos that you can enjoy every year.
- Eclectic centerpieces that make a bold statement are no further than the closets of your friends and family. Borrow baskets, teapots, urns and vases to fill with flowers or fruit or leave them empty and arrange the pieces together for an interesting arrangement.
- Share your family tree with everyone through your reception centerpieces. Gather tree branches, place in a pot and hang pictures off the branches of you and your fiancÚ.
- Have guests bring a bottle of wine produced in their home state for the rehearsal dinner or wedding reception. Your guests will be able to enjoy a variety of unique vintages that are sure to start some interesting conversations at the bar.
- Register for items that you want to incorporate in your wedding if you know that you'll be receiving gifts beforehand. Cake stands, serving sets, vases and even garden arches are all items that you might want in your home, but if you use them in your wedding as well, they'll have even more meaning. Have friends and family spread the word of which registry items you would like to use in the wedding.
- Ordain someone who is close to you to be your officiant. The person that introduced the two of you, a mutual friend or your parents can bind you in marriage more personally than a stranger you might hire.
- Instead of individual favors, make one donation to charity in everyone's name. Even a sizable donation that will be greatly appreciated by a charity could be less than the cost of individual favors.
- Borrow jewelry from family and friends to wear with your dress instead of purchasing new items. They will be honored that you chose to wear something special of theirs on your special day, especially if there is a family story behind the jewels.
- For a very personal attendant gift, purchase a journal and write a heartfelt letter in the front telling her why you're glad she was a part of your wedding and what a special friend she has been.
- If you need to rent chairs just for the ceremony, consider having all of your guests stand around you and the minister in a circle of love. Or for an outdoor ceremony, lay down family quilts for seating.
- Food is always one of the most integral parts of a wedding celebration. For a personal wedding favor, gather together a collection of family recipes, make copies and secure with colorful ribbons.
- If you're using foliage in your decorating, buying plants and flowers at a home improvement store could be less expensive than renting them. Afterwards, you can use the plants in your home's landscaping or give them to friends and family to plant in remembrance of your wedding day.
- Instead of a traditional bouquet of flowers, carry a sentimental handkerchief, locket or pocket watch. These pieces can be carried alone or adorned with just a few stems of greenery or flowers.
- Buy plain, inexpensive shoes, undergarments, headpieces and a veil. Schedule a night with your mom and bridesmaids to embellish your accessories with pearls, lace and flowers purchased at a craft store.
Kimberly Button is a freelance writer in North Carolina who loves to brag about how inexpensive her memorable wedding was.
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