Don't let a lack of money ruin your dream wedding

13 Ways to Have a Dream Wedding for Less

by Gary Foreman

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What bride wouldn't like to have an unlimited budget for her wedding? Most brides do have limits to how much they can spend on that special day. So, if you're planning a wedding and your fairytale is fading, try some of these 13 ways to have a dreamy wedding for less.

  1. Set a reasonable expectation. It's easy to get caught up in the perfect wedding syndrome, but every item that you select doesn't have to be perfect. Table centerpieces aren't critical to the success of your wedding. Many things just need to be acceptable.
  2. Don't shop at bridal and wedding shops. They know that it's easy to convince you to spend more. Their goods are priced accordingly. You'll find similar items for 20% less if they don't have "wedding" on the box.
  3. Let your friends and family help. Many of your friends have skills (professionally or as hobbyists) that you can use. Do you need a professional photographer, seamstress, florist, caterer, DJ, etc.? Or could your friends do the job? Ask for their help for a discounted price or in lieu of a wedding present.
  4. Skip the specialty items. There's no reason that napkins need to have the bride and groom's names printed on them. Everyone knows whose wedding they're attending. And, if they don't, printing it on the napkins won't help.
  5. Rent. Don't buy. With a few exceptions, you don't want to buy a lot of stuff for your wedding. You'll just end up storing the items after the wedding. Rent it instead.
  6. Time-warp your wedding. Time your reception so a full meal is not expected. Earlier receptions often skip alcohol, which is another major savings.
  7. Go direct. You don't need a bridal shop to buy wedding invitations. Go directly to a local printer or order online. Buy direct wherever possible.
  8. Get a better bridal gown for less. Every bride wants to look radiant walking down the aisle, and she can. If she rents her dress or buys a used dress, she'll just do it for a lot less.
  9. Related: Spend Less on Your Wedding Dress

  10. Control your emotions. It's natural to want a memorable wedding, so it's easy to convince yourself that spending a little more than planned is a good idea. If you do that every time you make a decision, you'll end up spending a lot more by the end.
  11. Be cake creative. Go all out on a small professional wedding cake and topper. Then add sheet cakes made by friends and family. Don't worry if they don't match. That just means everyone gets the kind of cake they like.
  12. Related: How to Save on Wedding Cakes

  13. Shop your flowers. It takes only a bridal bouquet and bouquets and boutonnieres for attendants to push your bill into the hundreds. Check with florists and also grocery stores that have a floral department. Let them know that you're price shopping. Motivation helps.
  14. Frugal Living Tip: Begin Saving for Your Future

  15. Set priorities. Every couple has one or two things that are very important to them. Know what those things are before you start shopping. Be willing to cut corners on everything else.
  16. Park the limo. When you leave the reception and head off for your honeymoon, your mind won't be on the limo. Have a friend drive you and save a few hundred.

Reviewed May 2017

Gary Foreman

Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who founded The Dollar website and newsletters in 1996. He's the author of How to Conquer Debt No Matter How Much You Have and he's been featured in MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business, The Nightly Business Report, US News Money, and Gary shares his philosophy of money here. Gary is available for audio, video or print interviews. For more info see his media page.

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