How To Plan A Fantasy Wedding You Can Actually Afford

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How To Plan A Fantasy Wedding You Can Actually Afford

You’ve been dreaming about your wedding day. It’s one of the most significant days of your life. You want the sparkle of a royal Prince Harry/Meghan Markle extravaganza without the ridiculous expense. Unfortunately, the cost of the average wedding these days is $30,000. Luckily you can have your dream wedding without spending a fortune.

Your wedding is one day. Your marriage is forever. If you are smart, your funds will go toward the marriage instead of spending a great deal on unnecessary wedding day extras. One distinct advantage is that it will save you not only money, but a great deal of stress when you focus on what is necessary and eliminate what is not for your perfect day.

Save on Your Wedding Gown

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Of course, you want to look like a princess. There are ways to save on your gown that will ensure you are a smart princess.

  • If you do buy a dress, go for a simple, unfussy look. Extra material, beading, and lacing will add to the final cost of the dress. Take a look at these affordable bridal stores nearby to find the perfect dress for your wedding day.
  • Don’t hesitate to check out used wedding gowns. Unless they were worn by Elizabeth Taylor or Zsa Zsa Gabor, how used can they be?
  • Ask recently-married friends and relatives about their gowns. Most brides store their gowns to be hopefully worn in the future by a daughter. One of them may be happy to lend you a gorgeous gown for the occasion.
  • Find a talented seamstress. A good seamstress will be able to design the gown of your dreams much cheaper than a bridal salon. Just be sure to check out previous samples.
  • Forego the wedding gown and opt for a lovely white off-the-rack dress instead. It can be a way to infuse the wedding with your own unique style.

Limit the Number of Guests

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Limiting the number of people in attendance is a surefire way to keep the cost down. While some feelings may be hurt, keep the guest list limited to your immediate family and friends. This may exclude coworkers and members of your book club or sport’s team. Simply explain that your wedding will be small and intimate. They will understand.

Don’t Let the Vendors Take the Big Bucks

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Vendors can eat up a huge chunk of your wedding budget. There are, however, ways to meet all your vendor needs and still have money left.

  • When calling vendors, don’t bring up the word “wedding” during the initial conversation. The “W” word can hike up the price immediately. Instead, ask for general bids on cake, flowers, pictures, etc. Only after you receive an estimate should you mention that this is for a wedding. This tactic could cut your vendor budget in half.
  • Don’t be afraid to approach schools. A photography school will have gifted and passionate students willing to upgrade their portfolio for a low fee. A cooking school might steer you to a talented baking student. Also, consider any family member or friend with unique talents. Investigate music schools for promising, upcoming artists.

Wedding Venue

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Choosing a backyard wedding is homey, comfortable, and very cost-effective. Your officiant (religious or secular) can come to your home to officiate at the ceremony, and you can have the reception outdoors (have a tent handy in case of rain). If a family member is an outstanding cook, you can even eliminate a caterer. If you need someone to prepare and serve the food, look no further than your local family restaurant. They will likely be less expensive than a professional caterer, and they will work hard to please just for the word-of-mouth recommendations.

If you prefer a more standard wedding venue, don’t rent a room on a Saturday, which is the most popular day and thus, the most expensive.

Chose a site that offers a package deal – all vendors included. These venues get good deals, which they frequently pass off to their clients.

Have a breakfast or brunch reception, which is considerably less expensive than dinner, although the food is equally delicious. Make sure the venue allows you to provide your liquor, as that can be a costly part of the reception.

Take a look at these delightful venues that will provide an unforgettable background for your special day.

Invitations and Thank You Notes

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Professionally engraved invitations and thank you notes are a lovely touch, but you can skip it if you desire. Find a nice design on your computer and print it. Handwrite the information and envelopes for a personal touch.

For some great ideas, check out these vendors that specialize in custom wedding invitations and provide unique wedding stationery and day-of pieces.

Your Wedding Party

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The answer to the best wedding party is not to have one. A string of attendants can add to the stress and cost of a wedding. There are the inevitable thank-you gifts to the wedding party, the prizes at the bachelorette shindig, not to mention the stress involved in getting a dozen or so people to agree on anything.

Have a best friend or relative act as maid of honor and best man. That is all you really need. The rest is just fluff.

Pick A Flower

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The cost of flowers may come as a surprise to many couples. And if your favorite flower happens to be out-of-season, flowers could add up to half your first mortgage payment. Be smart and take a different approach to floral decorations.

Keep your bouquet simple and skip the boutonnieres. If your wedding venue is different from your reception, decorate the wedding venue with simple ribbons along the pews. You’ll only for spending about half an hour there.

As for the reception, use votive candles, lanterns, or other memorable items as centerpieces instead of a large flower arrangement at each table. Long-stemmed flowers, such as roses and calla lilies, will eliminate a more expensive arrangement that has to be wired together.

Choose only one or two types of flowers instead of more. Half a dozen different kinds of flowers will be more expensive than the same amount of a single type. Incidentally, those bouquets are costly, and by eliminating a large bridal party you automatically cut down on that cost.

These florists can suggest breathtaking floral arrangements that fit your budget

Look Like a Princess Bride – On a Handmaiden’s Budget

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Of course, you want to look your best. Every bride wants to present a stunning appearance. Smart brides look fabulous without spending a fortune.

It seems to have become popular to have a glam squad come to your house on your wedding morning. But is it necessary? Absolutely not.

Talk to your regular stylist about a good but simple wedding look. He or she can make suggestions, along with providing easy-to-follow instructions. If your hair needs more work, visit the salon before you slip into your bridal gown. It’s much less expensive than buying an expensive “wedding glamour package.”

Have your nails done at a walk-in salon the day before the wedding. Visit your favorite store, such as Macy’s or Sephora, and talk to one of the beauty consultants about what colors work best for you. Take a make-up lesson or two until you feel comfortable applying everything yourself. You can buy all this expertise for the cost of a few make-up items. How smart is that?

If you need help creating and finding your vision, check out the profiles and photos of these Hair & Makeup glam experts.

Save Hugely on Your Honeymoon

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Weddings aren’t the only event that can break a budget. The honeymoon can be extremely costly, especially if you want to go somewhere romantic. No need to worry. It is perfectly acceptable these days to list a travel agent on your wedding registry. You can even specify flight, accommodations, or tours. Complete your fairytale wedding with a magical trip.

Discover Airbnb

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Airbnb does more than save you money while traveling. You can rent any type of accommodations, from cabin to castle. The advantage of using Airbnb is that your rental can serve as your venue, it can house out-of-town guests, and it can be your honeymoon location.

All you need to do is pick a house that meets your needs and is situated in a beautiful location, such as by a lake or beach. Make sure it is large enough to accommodate your guests comfortably. Renting from Airbnb can save you a great deal compared to using a hotel for your venue, then using another place for your honeymoon.

Getting married shouldn’t strain your bank account. Be smart and enjoy a brilliant wedding that’ll leave you with some left-over funds.


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