I've been an event planner for 14 years. Here are some of my favorite budget-saving tips that don't sacrifice style:
Trim the guest list. Smaller weddings allow the same luxuries of the larger ones at a smaller cost. Many of my clients feel bad about cutting their list until I show them how it is statistically impossible to visit with each guest for longer than a minute if they have a large guest list.
Hold your wedding at a fantastic location that already has a lot of ambience. For example: gardens, museums, zoos. You save significantly on floral and décor because the space decorates itself.
Schedule your reception at an off time when guests won't expect a full meal. Instead of 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. when guests will expect dinner, start at 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. You can serve delicious light appetizers, saving a significant amount of money vs. the full dinner.
Choose an off night or get married in the off-season. Any day other than Saturday can be negotiated for lower costs. Same thing goes for months like January and February when venues have less demand.
Skip the wedding favors—I've thrown away so many. A more cost effective choice is to use some of the money that would have been wasted on favors and give it to the couple's favorite charity. Create signs for the tables that say "In lieu of favors, the couple gave to X charity." It's economical and eco-friendly.
Order the same amount of the bride and groom's cake and only order about 75 percent of the expected guest attendance. Not everyone that RSVP's shows up and not everyone eats cake.
Hire a wedding planner! It sounds counterintuitive, but you'll save money because of the special relationships that the wedding planner has cultivated.
— Melinda Massie, President Melinda Massie Events of Fort Worth, Texas
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