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Wedding budget tips for the savvy bride

Wedding budget tips for the savvy bride

There are no two ways about it: Weddings are expensive. And no matter what, budgeting will be a major part of your wedding plans. That doesn't mean that you can't have the wedding of your dreams, though. It simply means that you need to be smart about where your dollars are going, weighing the value of each element of the budget.

Start big and pare down or keep it small from the start - there's no wrong way to create a wedding budget. Just go with what feels most comfortable to you and your fiancée. If your parents will be helping, they should definitely be involved with ironing out the details, but it's likely that you've already got an image in your mind of what the day will be like.

Make a list of all the elements of your wedding, leaving space to add notes about sample prices and options. It will be helpful to have all of the information in one place when decisions need to be finalized.

Consider these ways to trim your wedding budget while still planning the day of your dreams.

* Save on stationery: It's a non-negotiable item - you need to let your guests know about the wedding, and the further in advance you can give them notice, the better. Save the dates have become an essential part of wedding stationery, so don't be tempted to cut them out of the budget. Consider online printing options for invitations, response cards, and creative ways to tell people when the big event is, like save the date postcards. They're a quick and easy way to let people know about your big day - the added bonus is that they cut out the cost of envelopes and postage is less expensive.

* Refine the guest list: Few events in life are more exciting than your wedding, so it's easy to be tempted to invite hundreds upon hundreds of people to share in the joy. As the headcount goes up, however, so do prices. Consider keeping it slightly smaller by inviting your families and closest friends, rather than all of your coworkers and high school classmates.

* Ask about price matching: Not everyone will do it, but it's certainly worthwhile to ask. This is why it's so important to shop around before making any decisions - you'll have a better grasp of what vendors are charging for the same service. Don't be afraid to try and negotiate a better deal.

* Skip Saturday. It's the most popular day of the week for weddings, and prices increase with demand. You might be surprised how much you can save by holding a Friday evening wedding, on everything from the venues to photography. Keep in mind, though, that this is often a better option when most of your guests live in the same city where you'll be getting married.

* Look for bridesmaid dress alternatives. Depending on the theme and feel you have in mind for your wedding, you can save a lot by expanding your ideas about how your bridesmaids will be dressed. Consider selecting a single color and then asking all of your attendants to pick out their own dress in the hue of choice. Not only can you give your bridesmaids a better way to express themselves, but you can also pass along your cost-savvy mentality by letting them find dresses that are right for their budgets, too.

Keeping your wedding within a budget doesn't mean curtailing your dreams. In fact, finding ways to make your day perfect without spending too much can feel incredibly rewarding. What's more, there are plenty of ways to be unique while keeping costs low, like sending out save the date magnets. They can be a great way to set the mood of your event and get your guests excited to join you on the big day. When you know that you'll be throwing the party of a lifetime while still saving a lot, you'll feel like the savviest bride on the block.


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