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How to Have a Wonderful Wedding on a Budget

© 2003 Tracie Morris, Certified Wedding Planner

Many brides have been dreaming about their wedding day since childhood. These dreams come with an expensive price tag and the realization of their fairytale day may be distant.

Although weddings are very costly today, your dream day can happen. I am going to share some tips to cut corners and advice on how to save you money without making huge sacrifices. By making the time to plan and investigate, you will be amazed at the amount of money to save. You would not arrive at an interview for your dream job without prior preparation would you. No, you would not, and that is why preparation and research will make your wedding a success without refinancing your parents or your house!

  • The cake
    Order a small wedding cake for the cake table to display and a large sheet cake to cut and serve from in the kitchen. Serve the cake as the dessert to complete your meal and forget about other sweets.

  • Don't necessarily buy everything!
    Rent, borrow or make as many items as possible! Some items to borrow from a friend or relative are a cake knife and serving set, toasting glasses, jewelry and the bride's shoes. You can make several items or enlist a few friends to help you with ribbons, pew bows, veil and headpiece, church programs, bridesmaids dresses, bridal purse, ring bearer pillow and the cake top to reduce costs.

  • Save on flowers
    Instead of hiring a florist, make items or contact local floral design school and hire them to provide your flowers. Carry a small bouquet or one flower and have your attendants do the same. The bridesmaid's bouquets can double as flower arrangements on the head table.

  • Locate dresses more inexpensively
    When shopping for dresses, shop J.C. Penney and Chadwick's catalogs, consignment shops, discontinued gown racks, the Internet and newspaper ads. Remember it is always great if you can count on Dear Aunt Sally or your Grandmother to make them too! I am sure they would be honored.

  • Consider Friday for your wedding day
    When setting the wedding date you may want to consider choosing a Friday rather than a Saturday as it usually trims off about $3 per guest at your dinner reception. Choose buffet or plate dinner vs. sit-down. Serve chicken or pasta; it is less expensive. In addition, you may want to decide on a morning or an afternoon reception and serve cake, punch, and hors d'oeuvres. Serve beer, wine or just host a cocktail hour. Purchase your liquor from wholesalers. It may be wise to check with culinary and bakery schools in your area to see if they can help with food preparation. Many will prepare the food for its cost.

  • Be creative with alternatives to a limousine
    Rent a Cadillac or other luxury vehicle just for the Bride, Groom, Maid/Matron of Honor and Best Man to save on the expense of a limousine. The other members of the Bridal Party will most likely want to ride with their spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend to the reception.

  • Consider stamps when choosing invitations
    When choosing your wedding invitation, select one that will only require one stamp. Another great tip is to have your reception information added on the ceremony invitation to eliminate the expense of the reception card.

A little thought and creativity will certainly go a long way to help you have a wonderful wedding on a budget! Good luck!

Tracie Morris has been a wedding planner since 1999 and certified since 2002. Since then, she’s become known as the Bride Guru. Ask her your wedding questions and get free advice by clicking here:

Tracie can also help you save money on high quality, discount wedding invitations at up to 40% off, and bridal accessories at 20% off. Visit