Your first step down the aisle

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Instead of ordering Save the Date Cards, create a letter about you and your fiance's journey to how you got to where you are and some future plans, print it out on decorative paper. Even with envelopes, printing and paper you still save couple hundred dollars and it's fun and unique!
Lexie G.
If you want to save tons of money, book a hall or community center. You can bring in your own caterer for half the cost! Also most people don't know this, but most local grocery stores have floral designers. The flowers are gorgeous, but not nearly as costly! These two things will definitely get you more bang for your buck!:)
Jessica L.
If you find a venue that you like, but the quote they give you is out of your budget, don't just let it drop there. Call or email them and tell them that you regret that your budget will not be able to cover the costs associated with renting their facilities. Some places may be desperate enough to fill up their calander that they'll tell you they are willing to offer a deep discount, and you might be able to work something out with them.
Lauren I.
To save tons of money on photography, hire an art student from a local college or art school. You can call the school and speak to the head of the photography department (or other faculty member) and ask them to recommend a trust worthy talented student to hire for your special day. Meet with the student and look at their work plus ask for credentials. You could take this idea in so many different directions. Ask the student to develop and print the pictures also or just ask them for the raw digital files or film and do the printing yourself. Plus, you can hire a film student who can shoot the wedding as well. Do this and you won't get the same old photos that everyone else has in the wedding album!
Jill N.
If you choose a reception venue, ask if they have a sound system. You and your fiancee can chose your own music and place it on your iPod which will hook up to the venue's sound system, saving you from hiring a DJ. You can also add musical requests onto your RSVP cards to add variety, you don't have to chose what someone sends you, but they may have a great idea!
Nanettee R.
Instead of hiring a DJ or band, opt for a free option: your i-Pod. When sending out invitations, have a line for invitees to list their favorite love and dance songs and compile the ultimate playlist. At the reception, you can either keep the i-Pod on shuffle or have an energetic friend/family member act as an impromptu DJ.
Christine C.
Color is still the best way to express style. Stick to one, two or three hues and carry them throughout your whole wedding story.
Alfred Angelo
Create your own custom save the dates. For my fall wedding, i went to a craft store, purchased fall leaf scrapbook paper and then cut it into large rectangles (i measured them to fit in the envelopes i bought first). On my computer, I created the save the date info and a miniature calendar (on the date of our wedding I put a heart with our initials inside of it!). I then glued those onto the leaf paper and attached a magnet onto the back. On the envelopes, i put some fall leaf stickers and they turned out beautiful! i have received a ton of compliments and i saved a ton of $!
Tracy H.
Negotiate! Don't be afraid to tell a vendor that you can't afford the packages they offer--they will often specially create a package for your budget, especially in light of today's financial climate.
Jessica B.
Have a tapas style reception. The cost per person is much lower over a plated dinner and your guests will get to experience a variety of dishes.
Carla S.
The best way to save money is to plan a year or two in advance. Then you can buy ceremony/reception decorations, flowers and gifts on clearance or on sale! I used half the money I normally would have!
Candice G.
Flowers. Get them from a wholesale company yourself and save thousands of dollars. Look in the phone book under wholesale in the flower section.
If you happen to be crafty, make your own flowers, reception centerpieces and decorations. Will save you tons of money!
Jenny S.
When you meet with vendors, don't give them your true budget. Instead choose a figure lower than your actual budget, and offer that as your top price. Most vendors in this economy want your business and will make a deal. This has worked for each of our vendors and so fare we are UNDER budget.
Marissa B.
Always use colors that work well together, and are right for the season of the wedding. You don't want nothing to clash. Also, you don't have to spend tons of money to have a beautiful wedding, keep it simple and elegant. Those seem to be the weddings that everyone enjoys. Bigger doesn't always mean better, remember that. Just because you may not have the money of a movie star doesn't mean that you can't look like one, or have a wedding like one for less. It's Your wedding, It's Your Day! Have fun,enjoy it! Don't stress out because it all comes together in the end.
Monika B.
Find people who are new in business, their prices are generally cheaper and they work REALLY hard to prove themselves.
Kelly K.
Get married in the off season - you get your pick of vendors, and most of them are willing to cut you a deal because they don't have much business during those months.
Jenna C.
Keep your bridesmaid dresses simple and complementary; it will help your dress be the center of attention!
Alfred Angelo
To save money on flowers, try and visit the flower shop or gallery during the season you will be getting married in. Often, "in-season" flowers are much cheaper than "off-season."
Kate C.
In today's economy, throwing any kind of party can be difficult, and the thought of catering an entire wedding reception can be a major headache. One solution is to turn the wedding reception into a potluck. Guests can be sent ideas about what types of foods they should bring so that the menu is cohesive. This is a fun and cost-effective way to make sure that no one will leave the reception hungry.
Chad V.