How to Keep Your Wedding Costs Down

You’ve always thought about your dream wedding. A beautiful wedding gown, the perfect setting, a romantic bouquet, you wanted it all. But, when you were daydreaming, you never actually realized how costly a wedding could be. Now that you are getting married, the reality is all too clear – weddings are expensive. In fact, it seems like everything to do with a wedding costs a fortune.So, if you want that perfect dream wedding but you don’t exactly have a fairy godmother who will magically sign a check for all of your wedding expenses, what are your options? Well, there are four main choices.You can cut corners on your wedding by having less guests and forgoing the traditional wedding items like flowers or favors. You can get a new credit card and charge everything for your wedding on it, and then pay the bills after you get married. You can decide not to have a wedding at all and elope. Or, you can find a way to have your dream wedding for less money without cutting your guest list or using a used wedding gown. It’s up to you to decide which option makes sense for you, but most brides choose the fourth option and try to find a way to have a dream wedding for less money.

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Well, you may be thinking, “that sounds great, but how do I actually do it?” Don’t worry, there are some very easy ways in which you can cut your costs and still have a terrific wedding. Read on to find out the top ways to keep your wedding costs down.Pick A Public SpotWhen you start planning your wedding, one of the first big decisions you make is where to hold the ceremony and reception. An excellent way to keep your wedding economic is to choose a public place for your ceremony and reception. Botanical gardens, golf courses, beaches, historic places, national parks and their public buildings are all wonderful and inexpensive spots for weddings. Using a public place rather than an event hall can save you thousands of dollars on your wedding budget.Make Your Own FavorsAnother way to cut down on your wedding expenses is to make your own wedding favors. Cellophane wrapped cookies, jordan almonds in bags, small plants – these are all things that you can serve as do-it-yourself wedding favors. Martha Stewart Living Weddings and other crafty wedding magazines and websites have ideas for wedding favors that you can do on your own. You just purchase the different parts of the favor at a discount online and then assemble the favors yourself.Don’t wait until the last minute to work on your favors. You can start making your favors as soon as you’ve settled the guest list, wedding colors and theme. Preparing all of your favors in advance will help you when the big day starts sneaking up on you. Also, enlist your bridesmaids and close family members to help. You can even have a “favor party” and invite everyone over to work on the favors. Provide the guests with food and booze and they’ll probably be happy to help.Be Your Own Wedding PlannerIf you want to cut costs, you should forgo having a wedding planner. You can be your own wedding planner, all it takes is for you to be organized and inventive. As soon as you get engaged, pick up a wedding planning organizer. Start keeping track of what you’ve done and what you need to do in the coming months. File vendor contracts and bids in a 3 ring binder. Make time to update your planner weekly and follow up on any leftover “to do’s.”Grab a few wedding publications and look for unique wedding ideas. Browse through bouquets in magazines and decide which flowers and centerpiece shapes you like. Also, there are lots of websites that offer wedding planning ideas for free. Using the internet, wedding magazines and books, you can find the same advice that you’d typically get from a wedding planner.

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Work With Your FloristAnother way you can trim costs is to work with your florist to choose inexpensive flowers for your wedding. Be straight with your florist and let her know what you can afford. If she’s good at what she does, she’ll be able to offer some lower cost suggestions. Low cost doesn’t always mean less flowers, it could just mean a different type of bloom or more greenery. Going for daisies over lilies or peonies will mean a lot to your wedding’s bottom line.If you don’t want to go into debt before you go down the aisle and you don’t want to cut corners on your wedding, it is still possible for you to have everything you want without breaking the bank. Just use some creativity and common sense and you’ll be on your way.

Step By Step Wedding Planning Guide

Some might say that one’s wedding day is the most important day of their lives. It is a union that is only surpassed by the birth of one’s children. The key to a happy and well organized wedding is preparation and organization. That is the goal of this step by step wedding planning guide. Some may think that all the hype about wedding planning is just overplay; however that is not the case. Planning your wedding can be one of the most complicated things to do; especially if you don’t prepare yourself for the long list of things that need to be done. This quick little wedding checklist should help you get all aspects of your wedding moving in the right direction.Step By Step Wedding Planning Guide- The BreakdownLet’s break down planning your wedding into 3 sections. First we will talk about the budget, location, guest list and theme for the wedding. Once we have a direction on the where; we will move to the when. Those are the first and foremost things that need to be considered and decided before any further steps are taken.Then we will move over to all the booking and reservations that are involved with wedding planning. This would include aspects like catering, the band and the photographer. The last thing that we will cover in this wedding checklist will be the maid of honor and the bridesmaids; the best man and the groomsmen; the ushers, the ring bearer and the flower girls.Step By Step Wedding Planning Guide- Section OneThe first thing to consider when you begin planning your wedding is the budget. This is usually a touchy subject; as it is traditionally the parents of the bride who will foot the bill. However; now that we have entered the 21st century; just like many other common traditions; the parents are no longer expected to carry all of the financial weight. The funds can come from anywhere; but the most important thing is getting a realistic estimate of what you will have to spend. Once you know how much you can spend; you know how much you can afford.The next thing on the wedding checklist in this step by step wedding planning guide is the guest list. Many think that this is the hardest part of wedding planning because it has to be based around the budget. Deciding how many are going to be on your guest list does take presentence, to most people, over the location and theme. This is because of how special this day is. It all revolves around how many close friends and family members you want to share your special day with. Some may want to decide the location, theme and guest list all at once; as these will be the major contributors to the overall expense. Either way; the guest list is a crucial factor when considering the realistic budget you have to divvy up for the other aspects of your wedding.

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Now the wedding checklist comes to the location and theme. The further ahead that you book the place in which you want to have the wedding ceremony; the cheaper it will be. Some people are very traditional and want to be married in a church; but for those who want to choose another special place; there are many alternate locations to consider when planning your wedding.Here are some ideas for planning your wedding location:
The Park
The Beach
A Place of Historical Significance
A Place of Personal Significance
At A Family or Friends Home
OverseasOnce you have decided on the location; the theme is next on the wedding checklist. The theme and location sometimes go hand in hand. For example; if you choose to have a beach wedding; then the theme will most likely be based around a luau of some sort. After choosing a theme to match your budget, location and guest list; you can move onto the more intricate pieces of planning your wedding; like the actual reservations and bookings. (See section two of this step by step wedding planning guide)The final aspect covered in this wedding planning section is all about the when. Ask yourself: When do I want to have my wedding? There are 12 months every year. Some are warm; some are cool; some are hot; some are cold. You may want to choose a special time of year that is significant to you both when planning your wedding date. This could be a reminder of when you met, based around a special holiday that you shared, or just simply your favorite time of the year.People come in all different likes and dislikes; meaning the groom may want to have the wedding in the dead of winter; while the bride may want the flowers to be blooming while she walks down the aisle. Coming to a compromise on the time of year to have the wedding is only one of the many compromises that will need to be made throughout the wedding planning stages.Step By Step Wedding Planning Guide- Section TwoThis part of the wedding checklist covers the reservations and booking of all the fine details of a wedding; this includes everything from the caterer to the band; from the wedding location to the photographer.When planning your wedding; if one thing is not reserved or booked correctly it could throw the whole wedding off course. Double checking and then triple checking again can never hurt. The last thing anyone would want is to show up at their wedding location and there be nothing there set up. For the most part; booking and scheduling your wedding activities months prior to the actual wedding will save lots of money. Last minute weddings always tend to cost more than ones that are scheduled way ahead of time.This next section basically consists of the more intricate and detailed tasks that are outlined in this step by step wedding planning guide. This is instrumental to the overall flow of the wedding in general. You will need to choose a caterer for the reception meal. The catering company needs to be reliable, professional at what they do and most importantly offer quality of service and great food. Caterers can provide testing samples during your decision stages to assure that the proposed menu will meet the tastes of the bride and groom.Coordinating the music is usually a pretty easy aspect of planning your wedding. All that is really needed is a musician, band or DJ that can be versatile enough to meet the music likings of the bride and groom. It is important to seek out a semi professional band; as one of the worst things would be if they never even showed up. You would also want to look for someone who has experience with weddings; as they will need to entertain the guests and keep the mood and events of the reception flowing; leading your guests through a series of predesigned reception events.

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So at this point of the wedding checklist; one must first look at the type of music that the married to be couple enjoys together. This same logic applies to choosing your photographer; as this is an important decision because the pictures taken will be wedding keepsakes forever.Step By Step Wedding Planning Guide- Section ThreeThis is the final section in this wedding checklist and it covers the wedding party. This part of wedding planning may just be the toughest. Choosing the actual wedding party is very important; not only to the bride and groom; but to the ones who are chosen.It is a great honor for most to be chosen as a best man or maid of honor; that’s a given; but it is also an honor to just be chosen to participate as a bridesmaid, groomsmen, flower girl and/or ring bearer. This is usually what makes up the wedding party; though additional roles and positions can be added or removed depending on the bride and grooms wishes.Step By Step Wedding Planning Guide- In ReviewThough there are other aspects of planning your wedding that should be on your wedding checklist; this Step By Step Wedding Planning Guideshould get you well on your way to making the appropriate arrangements and decisions. The key thing to remember when planning your wedding is the budget. Once you know how much you have to spend; everything else will fall into place!We here at wish you and your loved one good luck in planning your wedding and all the best on your long journey of marital bliss.

How To Choose And Work With Wedding Vendors, Professionals And Service Providers

Many brides and grooms contact us, requesting information about planning their weddings. The typical inquiry is as follows. ” We just got engaged. What do we do now? Where do we begin?”Well, weddings are very personal and each has its own unique character.It is very difficult to list every possible scenario but the basics are the style of wedding, the size, the budget involved , the location and of course the bride and groom choices and their personalities.
WEDDING STYLE can range form a classic, elegant and glitzy black tie affair to a picnic in a park.
WEDDING SIZE depends on the number of guests.
WEDDING BUDGET can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.
WEDDING LOCATION local or a destination wedding.
BRIDE and GROOM choose the setting, the colors, the music, the wedding theme etc… that reflect their personalities and interests.Some couples hire a wedding planner, some rely on the experience of friends and family, but most want to experience the excitement of planning their wedding by themselves.The wedding day is only part of the term wedding as a whole. Wedding as it will be referred to in this article includes the preparations for, and the activities following the big day including the honeymoon.
So, you got engaged and are looking forward with anticipation, to your dream wedding but do not know where to start and what to do. You are not alone! This article is dedicated to the many engaged couples facing this dilemma and those who want to be focused.It is very important that both of you, bride and groom, start planning your wedding as soon after the engagement as possible. This allows you to:
take your time, brain storm and leisurely discuss your needs and desires,
prevent and correct any errors,
deal with delays,
handle any possible mishaps,
have fun and enjoy planning your wedding rather than stress over it.You need to choose your priorities first and write down everything that is:very important – urgent,less important – allows for flexibilityleast important – most adaptable for changes and compromises.
Securing your wedding attendants
Location of ceremony – location of reception
Size of guest list
Offificiant – Clergy
A specific wedding vendor or service provider
Time of year time of day
Having prioritized, put together your wedding information and a list of questions and requests, to present to the vendor or service provider.LESS URGENT BUT NEEDS TOME TO ORGANIZE. YET CAN BE FLEXIBLE.AttireMenu and BeveragesFloristCakePhotographer – videographerInvitationsMusicians

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Wedding day help – before, during and after the wedding.LEAST IMPORTANT – MOST FLEXIBILE TO, CHANGES AND COMPROMISES.Wedding day scheduleReadings at ceremonyMusic selectionFinal flower selectionGifts for family and wedding attendantsA wedding gift from the bride to the groomA wedding gift from the groom to the brideWedding favorsCenterpiecesReception seating arrangements
Before setting any appointments it is a good idea to:
ask your friend, acquaintances and family for recommendations,
Check the internet, read as many articles as you have questions and book mark or enter the web sites you feel will be helpful.
Attend bridal shows
Visit bridal shops and ask for referrals,
Check the yellow pagesGo over your written notes and organize them by priority and ease of use.Armed with a list of vendors and service providers, it is time for you to pick up the phone and set appointments.Schedule your appointments by PRIORITY. So, if a specific person or company’s participation at the wedding is required, you should contact them FIRST to find out when they have an opening.If the date is a priority you need to focus on securing an officiant, and a location for the ceremony and the reception, and so on.Money saving tip 1Do not limit your search to wedding specific service providers. It is not un-common for them to charge higher fees only because it is a wedding. In fact, when you set up your appointment to interview a vendor, DO NOT mention the word WEDDING. Ask about the vendor’s availability on such and such a date, for an EVENT, A GET-TOGETHER, A PARTY or any other term you can think of.Mention WEDDING, and your price will most probably be higher.Money saving tip 2If you have a set budget, DO NOT reveal it to the vendors until you know what they offer for what fee. Use it as a negotiating point if necessary.We know of couples who mentioned their budget up front. Knowing their budget, vendors took advantage of it by tailoring their offering to meet it.However, further research showed that these couple would have been satisfied with less services that would have met their needs yet cost a lot less.Contacting, interviewing and Working with the vendorsInterview consultants, caterers, florists, DJs and-or musicians, photographers, ceremony and reception sites and videographers, who also provide services to other types of parties, business events, conventions etc… They may be open to negotiations. You may be able to secure their services at a reduced rates or receive a free gift.Actually, while on the phone to set an interview appointment, request a price quote for a party. Give the service providers the basic information including number of guests, date, and hours requested and ask for a quote. When you arrive at the interview, with the price quote in hand you may let them know that the party is a wedding.Do not, however, commit until you have accumulated at least a few bids and found the person(s) you interviewed accommodating and easy to work with.Interview various vendors of each category to find out what they offer, what they charge and what complementary extras they are add to the package.Use this information as a negotiating leverage to either secure extrar have some charges waived.Remember – There is no harm in asking.If you do not ask – you do not get!If the vendor wants your business, and believes that if theyt do not meet your your offer you will go elsewhere, they WILL offer some creative solutions to secure it.Oh, yes! one more thing you need to do before booking any of your vendors. Check them out at the Better Business Bureau to make sure no complaints have been filed against them.Once you made your choice, do not look for other alternatives or you’ll drive yourselves crazy. Instead go on to the next detail that requires your attention.Be prepared! Go to each interview ready with your questions and information neatly written.Bring a pen and paper and take notes at meetings with the different wedding professionals, service providers and wedding vendors.These notes serve as a fun keepsake too. You may want to add them later to your wedding journal or scrap book.You have special needs. So check the Internet for wedding web sites that offer unique and personalized wedding gifts and accessories.Visit a discount wedding shopping mall and save. Use the money you save on other aspects of your wedding.
I’ll list the wedding professionals, service providers and vendors that are part of the BASIC WEDDING. You may not need every service, or you may need more than listed.
So, without further ado, Here is the list in alphabetical order.
Accommodations – Bride and Groom, Family, Wedding Guests
Addressing and calligraphy
Banquet facility – restaurant, event hall or wedding reception venue
Beauty – make-up, nails and hair
Catering- pre-wedding parties, rehearsal meal, reception, other
Disc Jockey
Destination weddings
Do it yourself, make your own – materials and supplies outlets
Florists, Floral Designers, Decorators
Honeymoon -travel, guided tours, sports, recreation, other
Invitations and wedding stationery. Pre-printed or print your own.
Jwelry – engagement ring, wedding bands, wedding jewelry, gifts from bride and groom
Officiant – clergy
Printers – save the day, invitations, reply cards, programs, place cards, menus, thank you notes, other
Religious site – Church, Synagogue, Temple, Mosque, other
Transportation – limo, horse and carriage, taxi, car rental for guests, other
Travel agent- destination wedding, honeymoon, guest travel, other
Wedding Accessories
Wedding and guest Accommodations
Wedding Attire – Gowns, Tuxedos
Wedding Cakes
Wedding Flowers
wedding gift for – best man, maid of honor, bridesmaids, ushers, kids, other
wedding gifts for – family, wedding party, other
wedding music – DJ, soloist, band or a small orchestraWedding Photographers – videographersWedding PlannersWedding rehearsal and reception venue and cateringWedding Rings

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Other important considerations
With the basic information on hand, click on the above links to the wedding vendors, professionals and service providers you need for your dream wedding.Have fun!To read more articles by Nily Glaser click here
To read more articles by Nily Glaser CLICK HERECopyrights © Nily Glaser 2007
For your FREE “Planning your wedding” checklist, CLICK HERE

Cheap Wedding Favors

Wedding favors are small gifts given as a gesture of appreciation or gratitude to guests from the bride and groom during a wedding ceremony or a wedding reception.The tradition of distributing wedding favors is a very old one. It is believed that the first wedding favor, common amongst European aristocrats, was known as a bonbonniere. A bonbonniere is a small trinket box made of crystal, porcelain, and/or precious stones. The contents of these precious boxes were generally sugar cubes or delicate confections, which symbolize wealth and royalty. (In this era, sugar was an expensive commodity and was treasured only among the wealthy. It was believed that sugar contained medical benefits). As the price of sugar decreased throughout centuries, the tradition of providing gifts to guests reached the general populace and was embraced by couples of modest means.As sugar became more affordable, bonbonnieres were replaced among the modest with almonds. For centuries, almonds were commonly distributed to wedding guests to signify well wishes on the bridegroom’s new life. In the thirteenth century, almonds coated with sugar, known as confetti, were introduced. Confetti soon transformed to Jordan almonds, which later evolved into the signature wedding favor for modern day weddings. Traditionally, five Jordan almonds are presented in a confection box or wrapped in elegant fabric to represent fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness. The bitterness of the almond and the sweetness of the coated candy exemplify the bitter sweetness of a marriage.Today, gifts to guests are commonly known as wedding favors and are shared in cultures worldwide. Wedding favors have become an intricate and necessary part of wedding planning and have complemented ceremonies and receptions alike. Wedding favors are so diverse in style, elegance and theme that options for favors are only limited to the couple’s imagination. Today’s bride has the option to select a gift based on her wedding theme.Many couples wish to share commemorating gifts that are personalized with the couples names and dates so the guests can remember the very special occasion. Some of these favors include personalized pens, wedding flowers, trinket boxes, goblets, candles, vases, and even personalized wedding cameras.These gifts have made the bride’s ‘to do’ list and climbing the list as a very important item.The importance and demand for wedding favors have created new business in the wedding industry. Wedding favors have surpassed the term ‘trend’ and have become commonplace among today’s weddings.Traditional FavorsJordan Almonds ~The slightly bittersweet taste of raw almonds is coated with the sugary goodness of the candy coating, bringing with it a hope that the new life of the bride & groom is more sweet then bitter. Other traditions say that almonds should always be received in odd numbers so that it can not easily be divide. Once again representing the new found life of the couple.

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Dried Fruit Wedding Favors ~ Representing the bounty of a full harvent or life, Dried Fruit is a wonderful way to say thank you to your guests for taking time to be with you on your special day. Perfect for Outdoor weddings as well as appropriate for weddings in Spring & Summer. A simple Tulle & Ribbon bag in your bridal colours make a beautiful presentation. picture frame wedding favors, ideal for a wedding favor.Picture Frames ~ Many couples give picture frames as gifts. These frames may be placed in a mixed favor bag, also used as placeholders/seat assignment placards, as part of a centerpiece, or individualized for each guest (usually containing a picture of the couple and the guest). These frames are generally no larger than 4×6, but some couples opt for larger frames- especially if they are also using them as centerpieces. For more information on incorporating favor frames as placards, see the seating assignments page.Photo albums wedding favors ~ Small photo albums also make great gifts, especially for small weddings and family-centered weddings. Couples may wish to place one of their engagement pictures inside, or a small personalized note thanking the guest for attending.Bells and other noisemakers wedding favors ~ It is a long-standing tradition to have guests receive wedding bells as favors. Traditionally, whenever a guest rang the bell the couple would have to kiss. Many couples like to put the tradition of the wedding bell ringing on little cards to go with the bells. In modern times, there are also other noisemakers that can be included as wedding favors such as flutes, horns, and clappers.Candles Wedding Favors ~ Candles have been a popular gift to guests for many years. They may be of any size, shape, or scent. Many couples use votive candles and have them in decorative holders. There are also specialty candles such a wedding cake-shaped candles in a scrumptious buttercream frosting scent. Some couples will make their own candles to give to guests. Candles may also be places as part of a mixed favor. If there is a unity candle ceremony involved, the couple may give smaller replicas of the candles used as favors.Cakery.Cookies, cakes, and pastries wedding favors ~ Edible items have always been a popular favor at weddings. Some couples opt to have individual cakes or cakes at each table in lieu of a traditional wedding cake. Cakes, cookies, and pastries can be used as table centerpieces and as favors. Many couples who opt to use these as favors generally have them in boxes. These items are very easily personalized and can make for tasty desserts (as well as late-night snacks for later!)Homemade Jams, Jellies, or Preserves Wedding Favors ~ If you make your own jams, jellies, or preserves you may want to share you talent with your guests. These tasty favors often last a lot longer than candy or other edible favors. If you’re having a destination wedding, you may want to consider this favor as well. That way your guests can bring a taste of the destination home with them.Candy Wedding Favors ~ One of the most popular and widely used favors is candy. Candy is very versatile and there is truly something for everyone. Many couples buy candy to match their wedding colors. Candy can be put into mixed favors, put inside placards, used as part of centerpieces and table decorations, and be made into other types of favors (e.g. tulle candy roses). Many types of candy can also be personalized with the couple’s names- either on the candy itself or on the wrappers. Chocolate cigars are popular favors representing the groom.Contemporary Favors
An example card for charitable donation favors, from The I Do Foundation.Charitable Donations ~ If you and your guests are particularly socially-conscious, you may want to consider using your favor budget to make donations to charities in the names of your guests. A small certificate can be handed to each guest explaining the donation and thanking them for attending the wedding.Bookmarks Wedding Favors ~ A quick DYI project for any computer savvy bride! Create a 7 column-landscape layout on your favorite word processing software. Add the the names of the bride & grooms, the location & date and a special poem or saying(usually what you used on your invitation). Save your document file to a disk or flash drive and take it down to your local stationary or copy store(i.e. Kinko’s or OfficeDepot) Pick out 8×11 card stock in the color of your choice and have your book marks printed. Most stores will have a paper cutter you can use to separate the book marks.Bath & Body Products Wedding Favors ~ Some creative couples may wish to make their own bath & body products. These are especially nice for bridesmaid gifts. The couple may make their own and create a personalized scent, give pre-existing products, or give personalized products. These products are perfect for gift baskets.Wild Flower Seed Packets Wedding Favors ~ Wild flower seeds are a great way to show your love of nature as well as give your guests something beautiful to look at for a long time to come.Tea and Coffee Samplers Wedding Favors ~ If you and your partner are into tasty beverages, you may want to consider tea and/or coffee sampler packets. This is a great favor that can be enjoyed at the guest’s leisure and also help share some things you like with your guests. Hot cocoa, spiced cider, and other beverages also make good favors.

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Liquid bubbles wedding favors ~ Many couples choose to use blown bubbles as a way for guests to send the couple off after the reception. These also make great favors for guests to take with them. Many companies offer bubble containers in fun shapes (hearts, champagne flutes, champagne bottles, wedding cakes, etc.) and many also are able to be personalized with the couple’s names and their wedding date.Personalized items wedding favors ~ In addition to liquid bubbles, many other items are able to be personalized. Pens, glasses, and small personal items (keychains, money clips, clocks, etc.) can be personalized with the couple’s names and usually the event date as well. This gives guests a nice item that is a distinct reminder of the event.Kitchen/bar accessories wedding favors ~ It is becoming more and more popular to have small kitchen and/or bar accessories as gifts. Bottle stoppers, corkscrews, measuring sets, drink shakers, coffee accessory kits, divets, and coasters are just a few examples of such gifts. Many couples opt to personalize these with their names as well. These gifts are especially popular among couples who have more mature guests.Small plants Wedding Favors ~ Some couples decide to give their guests a living gift, such as small plants that are native to the area where the wedding takes place. This is an especially popular gift for destination weddings. The plants are often arranged as centerpieces on the tables, with small notes at each place setting inviting guests to take a plant with them.Mixed FavorsFavor Bags ~ Favor bags are one of the most popular types of wedding favors. Generally favor bags include several types of favors. Favor “bags” do not even necessarily need to be bags- they can also be boxes, shadow boxes, cartons, or any other type of container. Couples usually opt to include favors that hold significance for the couple.Out-of-town Guest Packages ~ Couples with large wedding budgets and/or destination weddings often prepare guest packages for their out-of-town guests. These favors are generally placed inside the hotel rooms of the guest, waiting for them when they arrive. The couple generally brings these and a list to the hotel the day of the guest’s arrival so the cleaning staff may place it in the room. These packages generally contain items unique to the wedding venue’s area, and often maps of the area.

Planning Your Own Wedding – Opulence on a Dime

According to the Bridal Association of America, the average cost of a wedding runs most couples a whopping $30,375 (1)!Yes, now may be the time for many of us to cut a few corners by purchasing affordable wedding favors, food, and decorations, but this doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice beauty and elegance when planning your own wedding. In order to save a few bucks and even reduce overall spending, many brides-to-be are postponing their long-awaited wedding days for more prosperous times. Instead of waiting, however, you could simply scale back your wedding. Fortunately, there are many ways to make your wedding just as special if you hunt around for deals on tasteful yet affordable wedding favors, refreshments, and flowers – in fact, taking advantage of bargains and discounts while planning your own wedding day and doing many things yourself could be the very highlight of your special day.Simple, Affordable Wedding Favors are Key: For the bride planning her own wedding with little time as it is, envisioning and making 150 affordable wedding favors sounds a little ridiculous (read time consuming), and while many sites recommend you make these yourself, the cost of construction and materials would probably be higher than just biting the bullet and buying pre-made (though affordable) wedding favors. A lot of times you can find favors for well under $1.00 each. A recent check on quality, affordable wedding favors showed charming silver mint tins for $0.52, bride and groom swizzle sticks for $0.75, and place card holders for $0.94.In addition to purchasing affordable wedding favors, remember always to buy enough the first time around. If in doubt, buy slightly over your estimated head count. And try to order with plenty of time to spare to avoid exorbitant shipping costs, meaning you should start planning your own wedding far in advance to ensure this as shipping on a rush order alone can add well over $50.00 extra. Above all, take full advantage of volume pricing on your order of affordable wedding favors, which helps you avoid paying the lowest (and most expensive) tier price.The Lovely but Reduced-Priced Dress Route: Finding the perfect wedding dress is considered an epic quest by many brides who are planning their own wedding, but still want to look their loveliest on that special day. Whether the bride chooses hundreds of flounces and tulle or a simple A-line design, the whole ensemble – dress, veil, undergarments, and shoes – can add up rather quickly. To save money while planning your own wedding, you have a few options, most of which present themselves online. Search for dresses on auction sites, such as eBay, or classified ad sites, such as Craigslist, to find previously worn wedding gowns at cheap, bargain basement prices. You can often find name brand or even designer dresses in great condition, along with all the accessories. If you want to take your search offline, contact thrift stores and consignment shops in your town to see what their inventories are like before hitting the pavement.

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If you’d rather have something more personalized, you can have your dress made, although this will be a little more expensive. Occasionally, art and design students offer their services for a cheaper dressmaking fee than established places and can create a dress for you at well below market value. You can also have a trusted friend who has time and sewing prowess make your dream dress from scratch.You can get a visual of your desired dream dress using this helpful online tool while planning your own wedding – the Wedding Dress Creator ( ), which allows you to select from a variety of options, such as dress length, shape, and color.The Date Matters More than You Think: Oftentimes, the date you choose can be significantly more expensive than another. High-priced seasons, such as the spring and summer, drive up your budget noticeably – caterers charge more for a filet of fish, and florists for miles around only seem to have the most expensive lilies. During the crisper, colder fall and winter months, when most couples are reluctant to schedule or even attempt planning their own wedding, prices come down noticeably. Photographers lower their prices, and holiday decorations (especially ideal for a Christmas or Easter-themed wedding) are already up and in place, meaning you get away with not purchasing pricey flower arrangements, fragrant wreaths, garland, and candles. The venue of your choosing, most likely a church or some other community place, will have all these decorations available to you free of charge (save, of course, for the cost of renting the space). All you need are the discount dress, a budget meal, affordable wedding favors, the groom, and presto, instant wedding!If you’re dead-set on a spring or summer fete when planning your own wedding, have it outside in a friend’s or family member’s backyard. Or, choose a quiet park and set up a garden arbor and trellises adorned with flowers to complete the look. To get your flowers at a reduced cost, check with your local florist, who might be able to give you a discount on leftover bouquets or arrangements.You can also purchase from a flower wholesaler to get flowers at deep discounts; however, keep in mind that you will be responsible for creating, arranging, watering, and transporting the bouquets for the wedding day. Above all, ensure that your chosen flowers are in season.Food and Refreshments that Don’t Break the Bank: Feeding 75, 100, or even 250 guests can get pretty expensive, even if you scaled back with an inexpensive wedding dress and affordable wedding favors. Even estimating $10 at the very least for each dinner can send your budget skyrocketing. And you obviously do not want to forego delicious food to help cut costs. Fortunately, you have a few options when planning your own wedding: the modern bride has realized that feeding her guests an elaborate, three-course dinner is not necessary and certainly not required. After all, guests are there to celebrate the happy couple’s special day and should not be coming for ‘hand-outs.’ So, why not consider serving satisfying, but light hors d’oeuvres? From fruit and cookies to mini tea sandwiches and crudités, you can keep your guests’ stomachs full on just a few dollars. By making a number of refreshments in large quantities, you can drive down the price. A few brides have even been known to serve fondue – of either the chocolate or cheese kind – both of which can be accompanied by a tasty selection of ‘dippable’ foodstuffs.

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Instead of spending thousands of dollars on catering, you can also re-introduce a concept that used to be popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when planning your own wedding: a pot-luck reception. Sure, it may sound a little folksy, but it’s what the brides of yesteryear used to do to avoid spending a lot of money when wallets were essentially empty. Etiquette dictates, however, that the couple consider these offerings of food comparable to a wedding gift or at least a significant part of it. Even if you choose this option, decorating the tables is still a necessity – set the mood with freshly ironed tablecloths, polished candelabras, and those affordable wedding favors you purchased earlier.And finally, we come to the cake. Remember that research conducted by the Bridal Association of America? The survey found that the cake alone cost $543. You could feasibly cut that number in half or even by two-thirds if you make the cake yourself. Have your mother, sisters, female relatives, or bridesmaids help you with this task; purchase a book on the topic or research tips on the Internet. If this sounds like it could be a huge disaster and take time away from planning your own wedding, try something easier instead: wedding cake cupcakes. Simple, easier to decorate, and just the right portion, cupcakes bake fast and are a break away from the usual.From Discount Decorations to Affordable Wedding Favors and BeyondCutting corners when planning your own wedding doesn’t mean your big day has to look cheap. Far from it! Focusing on little details, like simple yet affordable wedding favors, pretty, discount decorations, and delicious but homemade food, incorporates your own personal spin and infuses your wedding with character. Think planning your own wedding and showing your guests a great time on a limited budget is still impossible? Just remember that they’re there, first and foremost, to celebrate the love and commitment of the happy couple.