The average cost of a wedding in 2011 was $25,631.  That’s $85.44 a minute for a 5 hour wedding!

In this economy, every bride is looking for ways to trim her wedding budget.  And to help, we’ve created a list some of our favorite ways to cut your wedding costs.  And we don’t mean by having your wedding on a Tuesday in February.  But rather smart simple ways…that your guests won’t even notice!

Ceremony

1)  Use flowers in key areas only (like the altar or place where you will say your vows). This is where all of your guests eyes will be, and where the majority of your photographs will be taken. Make this area a pretty focal point, and skip the blooms elsewhere.

2)  Have your florist create hand-tied bouquets for you and your bridesmaids. They are less expensive than wired ones (because they take less time to create) and are every bit as pretty.

3)  Use your wedding party flowers again at your reception.  Bouquets look gorgeous surrounding your cake and they can make amazing centerpieces at your head table.

Photo Chia and Hon Photography

Food and Beverage Costs

4)  Butler passed hor d’oeuvres can actually be less expensive than buffet style (because guests tend to eat less of them). Ask your caterer about your options.

5)  Create a signature drink (made with non-premium alcohol) to save on bar costs.  Give the drink a personalized name to make it fun and all about the two of you.

Photo: Jonathan Burton Photography

6) Reduce your cocktail hour by 15-20 minutes.  None of your guests will notice. And your bar bill will be less.


Flowers/ Centerpieces/ Tables

7)  Use fewer, larger tables to reduce the number of centerpieces and linen rentals required. Create tables of 10 or 12 instead of 8. (Be sure to use larger tables that guests aren’t crowded).

8)  Make/rent table runners instead of fancy tablecloths – they are just as impactful and less expensive than full linens.

9)   Instead of printing individual menus, create one large menu and place it by your entrance or escort cards.

10)  Give your florist a long list of flowers you love and those you don’t. Then give him/her flexibility to use the most cost effective/ seasonal flowers from your list. Flexibility equal savings.

11)  Consider less expensive flowers like carnations, baby’s breath or gladiolas.  These blooms tend to be 1/3 the cost of roses and look very dramatic and impactful when used in large monochromatic arrangements.

Photo: Cornerstone Events

12)  Buy your own vases from places like Pier1 or Ikea.  They can be less expensive than what your florist carries. (And you’ll be able to give the centerpieces away at the end of evening if you’d like).

13)  Go for simpler arrangements vs elaborate ones.  Less timing consuming for your florist = less cost.

14)  Ask your florist for ideas about including non-floral items that add impact while lowering cost. A vase filled with lemons or limes can be quite striking.

Cake

15)  Save by using a faux cake.  They are absolutely beautiful and your guests won’t notice the difference (you can still cut it).

Cake Photos by Luisa Galuppo

16)  Or order only enough cake for 75% of your guests (more guests than you think actually don’t eat the cake).

17)  Another option is to have a smaller cake (tall but smaller cakes have great impact) and then a second “kitchen cake” which is cut and served to your guests (who will never notice).

18)  Skip the cake altogether and serve your favorite dessert!

Attire

19)  Of course, we have to mention the savings associated with a preowned wedding dress!  Whether you buy a preowned dress or sell your new gown after your wedding, you can save (or recoup) a significant portion of the retail price. That’s hundreds or potentially even thousands of dollars that can be used on other wedding costs (or towards upgrading your honeymoon)!

20) Don’t buy “wedding shoes.”  Instead, buy a fabulous pair of colored shoes that will add a fun punch of color to your day…and that you can wear again and again.

Do you have a favorite way to save on wedding costs?  Share you savvy below!

Source: Wedding costs data via The Wedding Report.
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