Dream Wedding on a Realistic Budget


You want it all – a Saturday ceremony, hotel reception, gorgeous gown, full wedding party, flowers, cake and limo – but your budget isn’t boundless. You also don’t have the time or interest for DIY. No need to worry. Here are six non-obvious but totally doable ways to trim your Big-Day tab.

Hire A Professional

It may sound funny to recommend spending money to save money, but a professional wedding planner has the time and means to find top-notch vendors for any budget. For example, an established coordinator can hook you up with a photographer who’s trustworthy but charges less than $1,000, or connect you with a fantastic but off-the-typical-bridal-advertising-radar catering company. Even better? You also won’t have to worry about any of the details on your actual wedding day.

Downsize the Music

Ceremony music is often more expensive then people expect, says Wendi Hroncich, a wedding planner and founder of Seattle-based Ethereal Events. To keep the elegant or personal feel of live musicians skip the string quartet in favor of a duo or a single player.

Skip the Favors

“Omitting the favors can easily save you at least $200, and no one really misses them,” says Sarah Trotter, owner of Lasting Impressions Weddings and Event Coordination, Minnetonka, Minnesota. If, however, it is really important to you to provide an extra treat for your guests, Trotter suggests going with a multi-use option, such as using personalized gourmet candy bars or cookies for the escort cards or place cards.

Take Advantage of Larger Tables

If your venue has them available, request tables of 10 versus tables of eight, advises Trotter. If you have to pay for rentals, using less tables (and, thus, linens) will clearly save you money, but either way you’ll also end up needing fewer centerpieces.

Select Smaller Centerpieces

Smaller centerpieces will save you money both in terms of product and the amount of time it takes for the florist to assemble them. Instead of giant sculptures, opt for a selection of three to four vases each containing a single flower or different compact arrangements, says Trotter. It’s more modern, it enables your guests to actually see each other across the table, and you could have people take them home as a party favor.

Make the Tabletop Pop

If you’re concerned that scaled-down centerpieces are too minimalist for your event space, try pairing them with a brightly-hued tablecloth, suggests Hroncich. “Specialty linens only cost between $15 to $40, versus the $125-plus you’d have to spend on an elaborate floral arrangement.” Colored linens are also a great way to showcase non-traditional centerpieces, such as candelabras or hurricanes, which, as an added bonus, are cheaper than flowers as well as reusable.

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