The Beginner’s Guide to Cost-Efficient Wedding Planning

Oftentimes, brides-to-be get overwhelmed by the enormity of planning and organizing their weddings. That’s very understandable—managing any event is hard, much more for something as important as your wedding. Making things harder is that your anxiety might make things look even more difficult than they actually are, especially if you’re trying to cut costs.

Photo courtesy of LIVESNAPPS

Debi Lilly, an American wedding planner with 20 years of professional experience, advises brides-to-be to observe the following to make planning less stressful: don’t waste time, attend to one thing at a time, and take times off to enjoy yourself and see the bigger picture. The following are more tips from her on how to plan a wonderful yet budget-friendly wedding.

Realizing Your Dream Wedding

You will have to be wide awake to realize this. Debi suggests that you begin by browsing through magazines, either borrowed or old ones. There is no need for you to buy new thick glossy issues that can cost a lot because in finding inspiration and coming up with ideas, you don’t want to be limited to only one source, no matter how thick the magazine is.

You can save on paper and do it online. Browse through wedding websites and save the photos that you like into organized files such as “dress”, “reception”, and “favors.” There are also online networking sites such as Pinterest that let you easily create a collage of pictures and web sources. You can even start a private blog to keep track of all the inspirations and sources you’ve found.

Managing Your Guest List

The sooner you finalize the list of guests from both sides of the family, the easier it will be for you to move on to the other details of the wedding. Keep in mind that the fewer your guests, the less you’ll have to spend. Fewer guests also lets you have an more intimate and private wedding, which is also easier to organize and may save your from headaches. Consider this carefully.

Try to reach an equal number of invited family and friends from both sides. Debi says that, on average, 10% of in-town invitees and 20% of out-of-towners won’t be able to make it to your wedding.


Setting the Following Your Budget

You can either begin by canvassing price quotes before estimating a working budget; or, if you already have a pre-determined amount, proceed by cutting the pie among the different aspects of your wedding. Write the figures down with an exact or close estimate of your budget per area of your wedding.

Debi cuts the pie in this proportion: 40% – reception expenses; 10% – flowers; 10% – entertainment; 10% – photography; 10% – attire; 5% – wedding planner; 5% – wedding stationery; 5% – wedding transportation; 5% – miscellaneous such as favors, extras, wedding license, etc.

About Your Ceremony and Reception

Looking at your budget, what venues can you afford? Would you like to have a church wedding or a ceremony at a unique location where you can also have your reception? Debi advises that having your ceremony and reception in one place will let you save on logistics, such as rental fees on chairs, tables, décor and other setup.

She also recommends a morning ceremony followed by a luncheon reception to cut down on your expenses further. Since restaurants and catering services are not as busy during lunch, most offer packages that are more affordable than a dinner service.


Adding Some Entertainment

Generally, a band will cost more than a DJ. Rather than having a full band the entire reception, Debi advises to have a jazz trio for cocktails and dinner and during the highlight dances, then have the full band for the dancing, and then a DJ can take over for the late night partying.

She also recommends that you insert your favorite songs into the entertainment at your reception. If you love rock music then let the band play some rockin’ ballads. Incorporating your favorites will make your wedding entertainment more personal.

Decorating Your Wedding Venue

Find a place that doesn’t require floor-to-ceiling décor. Debi suggests considering gardens, conservatories, and courtyards in your search for a location.

You can also substitute traditional décor materials with more affordable items, such as candles and recyclable decorations. They are more affordable and a great alternative for creating a warm, elegant ambience. She also suggests combining pieces like family heirlooms, such as crystal candlesticks, silver trays, and gilded Moroccan teacups, to create interesting tablescapes.

Sending Your Wedding Invitations

To lessen the use of wedding stationery and cut on expenses of labor and printing, incorporate ceremony and reception details in one card. Have the reception details printed at the bottom of the card after the ceremony details rather than having a separate card for the ceremony. To save even more, see if you can DIY your invitations with a simpler but more personalized design.

Debi shares that unique shapes and presentation are some of the trends on invitation cards. There are pocket-fold jackets and even paged booklets that have silk cord spines or ribbon accents.


Finding the Right Outfit

Let’s face it, you won’t be wearing your gown again. Unless you want to wear it for your renewal of vows years later or have your future daughter or daughter-in-law wear it at her wedding, the dress will just be a bulk in your closet for all the years to come. So if you are a practical chick, why not just rent a pre-owned gown? Or you can get inspiration from a designer dress, have it made, and then consign your gown after the wedding to get a fraction of your money back.

As for your bridesmaids consider renting their dresses as well or find simple affordable dresses that they can at least wear again for a casual lunch or dinner. Find bridal stores that have affordable entourage packages.

Displaying Your Favors and Dessert

Edible favors have become very popular in weddings. You can also choose from a lot of options that can complement your wedding theme or, as Debi suggests, give a hint of your love story or honeymoon destination. For instance, if you’re going to Paris on your honeymoon, you can give away macaroons as favors. They come in a variety of colors and flavors that will not only taste good but look pleasing as well on the dessert table.

Debi suggests merging your favors and dessert bar by letting your guests pick out sweet treats from a family recipe, such as chocolate bars or mini cakes, that they can put together in take-home jars or boxes.

By following the above simple steps, you can have a great wedding without putting a hole in your pocket. Aside from being conscious of your budget, do not forget to give a personal touch on everything to make your wedding truly your own. Be creative and bold in putting together your vision and make your dream wedding come true.

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