An optimist and a realist, I firmly believe that you can have the wedding of your dreams, on the budget you have! There is no reason to break the bank or go into debt just because you're getting married!
Have a heart-to-heart conversation about your priorities. Understand general wedding costs. Get creative. If you're not feeling particularly creative or savvy in a particular area i.e. DIY, finances, reading contracts, then by all means, ask a trusted family member or friend for their help. They love you, they'll be glad to help!
- Plan for unforeseen expenses. Save at least an additional 20-25% for: taxes, permits, tips (wait staff: valets, officiant, coat checkers, bathroom attendants...) shipping and handling, parking validations, miscellaneous gifts, rush fees, rentals...
- Determine whether or not you need wedding insurance? (good idea in many cases)
- Minimize reception costs. Ask about corkage fees, cake cutting fees if you're bringing in your own alcohol and cake.
- Cupcakes instead of wedding cake OR one or two fake cake tiers...
- Understanding vendor contracts. Ask about overtime fees. Don't assume. Get it in writing.
- Use flowers that are local and in season. There is a lot of room to be creative here.
- When booking your honeymoon reservations, consider renting a condo versus a hotel room. Condos are often less expensive but make sure to get referrals or thoroughly check out what you can expect to receive.
- Look for dresses that aren't being marketed as wedding dresses. Shop consignment, or free listing sites like Once Wed for used designer dresses.
Some of this will be a snap, some of this will be a little challenging. Feel free to share any creative budgeting ideas you have found to be helpful!