Your first step down the aisle

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Have an outdoor wedding, you will save a ton of money on flowers/decor.
Jessica L.
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.
Don't be afraid to barter for services. I'm a professional writer, and after attending a local bridal show, I realized that many vendors could use some editing and/or writing services. I approached them with the idea of trading services -- my writing, messaging, and marketing expertise for their wedding services. I've saved thousands, and expanded my portfolio! I have another friend--a graphic artist--who has taken a similar approach. The trick is to think outside the box. Your vendors may be running lean in this economy--what can you provide them that would be of value? It's a great way to expand your network, help your vendors, and save some cash in the process.
Jennifer W.
Make sure to plan your wedding during off-seasons and away from any holiday dates.
Ambre B.
Make your own invitations and bridal favors. They are so easy these days with all the craft shops and internet resources. Or ask a crafty friend to make them instead of giving a wedding gift.
Janice L.
Create simple and inexpensive wedding decorations and favors. Get rock candy colored to match your scheme; and organza flowers for tables. It only takes a few yards of organza, and you can have tables-worth of decorations. Last, do the work yourself. Make your own favors, ask family members to help cater the food, decorate the venue yourself.
Amber M
I think the most effective way I cut costs was by doing tons of research. This was not necessarily the most time effective way, but it was worth it. I was able to get linens for a lot less than I would have if I went somewhere local or went with the first person I contacted. I would also suggest not limiting yourself to someone local for your services. The internet has been a great tool for me.
Casie K.
If you have people (family, friends, etc.) who can help you out by making things such as your wedding cake, take them up on it!
Heather H.
If your not a huge flower person consider making your own bouquets. Hobby Lobby always has their flowers 50% off. I made all of the bouquets for my best friend's wedding and to make 4 bouquets, I spent less than 50 bucks and they looked amazing!
Amanda P.
Plan out every detail of your wedding day to avoid confusion and things going wrong. If everyone knows where they should be and what they should be doing, the day will run smoother.
Anice M.
Shop around and try to hand make many of your favors, invitations, etc on your own.
Angela V.
Gown shopping should be a priority on your ‘to do’ list. It takes months to make your dress, so give yourself plenty of time.
Alfred Angelo
Instead of having an open bar, buy the alcohol that you want and what ever you don't open, you can take back to the store. Have your wedding on a Friday - you save thousands on the hall.
Melissa I.
For beautiful flower centerpieces, go to your local nursery and buy potted flowers overflowing with blooms. The centerpiece will cost $25 or less and guests can take them home afterwards!
Myfanwy C.
A "fake" bottom tier of the wedding cake is a less expensive way that will still give you the WOW factor of a larger cake that every bride wants. (The bottom tier is still decorated the same on the outside but the inside is foam.)
Bonnie T.
Tip #1: If you are having round tables at the reception, write each guest's name on a post-it note and place them around paper plates. This is a simple way to design your seating chart, allowing you to make as many changes as necessary. Tip #2: Find out if there is a wedding scheduled the day/night before yours, and what the bride's color scheme is. If the colors are similar, ask her if she would be willing to share centerpieces and split the cost.
Meghan H.
Instead of a guest sign in book I am have two of my friends at a table taking polorads of guest and having them write a note on it with there picture. This way I have a note and a picture of all my guest to remember, and to make a memory book later.
jennifer r.
If you don't think your budget will allow for fresh flowers, you're wrong. Just limit the amount of flowers to yourself and the wedding party, and use silk for the rest!
Jessica B.
Find out what unique talents your friends and family have. I am using family for everything and saving thousands of dollars.
Monique C.
For my wedding flowers, we are buying red silk roses for less than $1/each. My colors are red, black and white... in order for me to have black roses, I am spray painting them with a flat black spray paint (less than $2/can). Great way to save money on flowers and still have beautiful bouquets!
Jeanna D.