The AOW A-Z of Getting Married is a resource for brides (and grooms) to be. It’s a welcome piece of sanity in an industry-saturated world where people are bombarded with what weddings they should have, what they should act like, and how a bride should feel. Created by the team behind Any Other Woman, this A-Z is the first collaboration of its kind, bringing together posts from readers across the AOW community filled with advice, wisdom and experience from sane, smart, real women, many of whom have been there. From wedding planning to family trials to breaking taboos, no topic is out of bounds. We are honoured and excited to run each and every post, and we learn from each and every one of our readers.
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Z is for Zilch (Wedding Planning on Limited £) by Lucy James from Bigger Diamonds for Less
After the excitement of getting engaged starts to subside, it’s time to start preparing for your wedding. Your wedding budget can play a large role in whether the excitement continues or quickly disappears. But budget concerns don’t have to take the fun out of your wedding preparations. There are plenty of ways to cut corners without having a wedding or reception that looks low-budget. Cost-effective and low-budget wedding planning isn’t one in the same. Follow these 10 budget-savvy wedding tips to have the wedding of your dream without having to face years of debt repayment.
Get Married During the Off-Season. Wedding season peaks during the months of June and October, causing the price of most anything wedding-related to go up. Get married in November, January and March for the best prices.
Prioritize What You Want. Knowing what’s important to you will help you budget your entire wedding. Maybe you want a specific reception venue but can cut costs elsewhere by skipping the limo. Sit down with your partner and decide what you want to budget for and what items are non-negotiable.
Alternative Dress-Buying Ideas. If you go to a bridal shop, look at last season’s dresses or off-the-rack gowns. Alternatively, you can buy a beautiful gown at a lower price on sites such as Etsy. Wearing your mom or sister’s wedding gown is also an option, leaving you with only the alteration costs to deal with.
Do-It-Yourself. Cut costs by making your own invitations. Get crafty with friends and create your own reception centerpieces. There are so many DIY opportunities for budget-savvy weddings; incorporate a few into your plans to save hundreds.
Barter and Trade. Long ago, bartering was the way people conducted business. If you have a skill or talent that would benefit another business person, you can barter for your wedding photography, your cake or even your flowers.
Reception Location. Scheduling your wedding during the off-season can definitely slash the cost of a reception venue. But there are other cost-effective options, such as your church basement or a large tent in your backyard. Likewise, having your reception in the afternoon instead of the evening can also help you save.
Repurpose, Reuse. Make table centerpieces out of old mason jars filled with beads and candles. Borrow your friend’s cake topper, instead of buying one. Repurpose as much as possible so you can allocate your budget for the bigger things.
Save Money on Liquor. A reception venue that offers a cash bar generally charges a pretty high price for liquor and bar services. Select a venue that will allow you to bring your own alcohol and ask a friend or family member to lend you their bartending talents.
Buy What’s Necessary. Cut back on vendor costs by hiring your photographer only for the important parts of your wedding, rather than having him or her follow you the entire day. Save on flowers by using helium balloons to decorate and only purchasing the bridal bouquet.
Save Money on Food. A lunchtime reception will result in a lower food cost than an evening affair. But if you have a family or group of friends that knows how to cook, you can also have a potluck buffet and save hundreds off the food bill.
Careful use of these tips will allow you to enjoy your wedding without the pressure of mounting debt. On your special day, the only thing you should have to think about is meeting your loved one at the altar. Plan a wedding to remember with these budget-savvy tips and no one but you will know how much you’ve saved.