It's easy for a wedding budget to get out of control. There always was something else I'd forgotten about--tips for the vendors, gift bags for out-of-town guests, the cost of postage stamps. I quickly discovered the necessity of pruning the budget in small ways. Done right, the guests won't miss a thing! Here are some ideas to keep down costs.
• Opt for a small, one- or two-tiered wedding cake for ceremonial cutting, and have a sheet cake in the same flavors to feed the guests. My best friend did this at her wedding, and the sheet cake was every bit as delicious as the tiered one.
• Rather than having a full open bar, stick with moderately priced beer and wine and serve a "signature" cocktail. We had a full open bar at my wedding because my husband really wanted one, but offering a special, personalized cocktail instead would have saved us a mint.
• Skip the live band and ask the DJ to take care of the music for the ceremony and the reception. I selected instrumental music for the ceremony, and the DJ provided a large catalog of songs for the reception.
• Postage is more expensive for oversized and square invitations – stick to a standard size and shape. But consider ditching the traditional inner envelope to save weight. You might even ask friends and family to RSVP by e-mail or phone so response cards, stamps, and envelopes aren't needed.
• I saved on the cost of decorations by getting married in a park at a local zoo. The lush backdrop of trees and plants provided built-in greenery that kept down the floral expenses.
• Instead of purchasing a traditional wedding dress, look for a bridesmaid dress in white. This saved a friend of mine hundreds of dollars.