How to Have an Outstanding Wedding that Won’t Break the Bank

Written By: Lisa Renee

Planning a wedding event can be stressful, but with just a few tips, the big day won’t break the budget or the bank. Of course, the most difficult part of ensuring that spending is kept to a minimum is preparing well in advance. Determine the available funds, choose a theme, then start planning. Enlist the help of family and friends, rely on their expertise, and the wedding day will be stress-free.

Choosing the Wedding Gown

Since most themes focus on the bride’s gown, this would be the logical place to start for planning the big day. Keep in mind that the perfect gown need not cost a fortune. Shop around but stay away from expensive bridal shops. Instead, peruse vintage clothing stores and even higher-end thrift stores.

Some of the most beautiful gowns can be found in second-hand stores. It takes a bit of effort, but the savings can go into hundreds of dollars, especially if the theme is traditionally formal. However, choosing a non-traditional gown can be pricey as well, so the best route to go is checking out gently used clothing.

Flowers and Arrangements on a Budget

Picking out flower arrangements is tricky when trying to keep to financial limitations. A great money-saving tip is to choose no more than two types of flowers. Bouquets and floral sprays can be be enhanced by utilizing cheaper fillers such as greenery and baby’s breath.

Buying flowers in bulk and creating arrangements without the use of a florist will save the budget. Tips to designing beautiful bouquets can be found online or in flower arranging books. Make the most of do-it-yourself (DIY) information and use the money on buying more flowers. Practice on some cheap flowers or find that friend that has a flair for design.

Location, Location, Location

Setting the perfect scene for a wedding can be costly. Paying for the use of a church or banquet hall is not the most budget-friendly idea. Find a park or beach that allows for this type of event at either no or low cost. Depending on the time of year, outdoor weddings are exceptional with their beautifully photogenic backdrops.

If an indoor wedding is needed, research family and friends that might have the appropriate-sized home. Perhaps access to a country club or other type of membership-only location is within the reach of either the bride or groom’s extended circle. Don’t be afraid to ask, as most friends would be more than thrilled to help out.

Eating in Style at Low Cost

Be creative when it comes to the reception menu. Keeping the caterer out of the planning, choose a menu that is buffet style. Foods that can be served on a buffet go a lot further than a sit-down meal. Think heavy hor d’oeuvres such as Swedish meatballs and sliced deli meats. Don’t skimp on the dish and flatware though. Use high-quality heavy-duty, thicker-style implements for guests. This is not the time to save money on flimsy paper plates.

To keep it the most cost-effective but fancy enough to impress, use homegrown family recipes. Once again, by asking friends and family to create special dishes that have been pre-chosen, the budget will remain unbroken and the food will be outstanding. As long as they adhere to direction and menu choices, the buffet food will be delicious.

Keeping within a budget and still being able to have an outstanding wedding is simple. Involve a circle of friends and family to help with each step. Some of the most beautiful floral arrangements have been made without the use of a professional. Engaging others that are close in the planning of the big day will assure an outstanding wedding without breaking the bank.

How to make that destination wedding perfect

Written By: Yvonne E White

A wedding is one of the most exciting times in a person’s life. However, it can be a disaster of epic proportions if it is not planned well. A getaway wedding can be a disaster of biblical proportions if all the many details are not put in their proper place. Remember, a wedding has many facets to begin: flowers, limousines, bride’s dress, groom’s tux, the all-popular bridesmaids’ dresses, and a photographer, just to name a few. Imagine if it were necesaary to haul all of this to Paris, France. No wonder many couples elope. But a getaway wedding is possible and, if planned right and with the correct attitude, can be truly the stuff of dreams.

What is a getaway wedding, really? It is a wedding that requires the attendees to travel. Many times it is set in exotic locations such as Hawaii, Paris, or Rome. However, it is not necessary to venture overseas. A getaway wedding can be set on a dude ranch in Arizona; on the beaches of Malibu, California; or Florida’s Disney World. To make this day the wonderful memory it should be, here are 10 important details to keep in mind.

Hire a destination wedding planner. This will go a long way in nailing down those details. Just tell the person what’s on the wishlist and give them the budget and set them to work. This will especially help with locations out of the country, as they will be more accustomed to local laws and such.

Plan well ahead. The average wedding should be planned at least 6-8 months before the glorious day. Depending on the location, a getaway wedding should be more in the neighborhood of 12-18 months before the day. That will give all the attendees plenty of time to plan the airfare, hotel, passport, and babysitting. To help with that planning, many hotel chains give wedding parties special rates if they all stay in the same hotel. Call early, especially if the wedding will happen in the busy season, such as a
Christmas wedding in Aruba.

Set the budget and stick to it. Wedding costs can get out of control quickly. Factor in any little extras like welcome bags for the quests and decorations for the reception hall. Also know what is included in any packages. Read the entire contract and understand it before leaving a signature.

Remember to check the weather. This is most important if it will be an outdoor wedding. Check online and with travel professionals to know when hurricane season starts and ends, for example.

Create the guest list. Will it be a more personal affair with just family and a few friends, or a more lavish event? Remember to include all members of the wedding party, like the ring bearer and flower girl. Also, since food will be served, check for allergies to shellfish, fresh fruit, and peanuts among the quests.

Have a wedding checklist. Have a master list that includes all the details that need to be organized, bought, arranged, and completed. For anything that needs to be purchased, such as party favors or decorations, set them aside in an area reserved for wedding materials.

Choose the vendors carefully. Make sure to check references and not just the ones online. If a wedding planner is not in the works, take a trip to meet them. If a trip is not possible, have a video chat before the decision is made. Have several vendors to choose from.

Take the dress. Do not check the wedding dress in. Carry it on the plane. If an airline were to lose a bag, it would be the one that held the dress.

Make sure the marriage is legal. Many countries and territories have strict laws governing foreign marriages. If permitted, there will be much paperwork to fill out. To avoid this, have a simple ceremony at home then the symbolic one in paradise.

Lastly, have fun. Remember, this is a beautiful time that will never come again. When the stress seeps in, take a deep breath and step away for a while. Don’t be a one-man or woman show. Delegate tasks whenever possible.

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