Making your wedding day memorable without wiping out your life savings can be downright challenging. There are some places you can cut corners without cutting quality. If you are willing to put in a little elbow grease, make some things yourself, let go of the childhood dream of a wedding at the Plaza when you have a church basement budget, you can create an unforgettable romantic event with memories you’ll cherish the rest of your life.
First, you will have to know your budget for the wedding. Be realistic. If you don’t have a fortune to spend, accept it and start making the most of what you do have.
Next, decide on what items must be handled through conventional means and which can be done more creatively. For example, it’s not likely you have the time or expertise to make tuxedos for all the members of the wedding party but you may be able to save on the cost of flowers by making your own centerpieces for the tables.
After making these decisions, plan a schedule to complete the projects in time for the wedding day. Consider who you will ask to help you and get their commitment. If others are handling specific tasks, check in with them periodically to gage their progress and let them know you appreciate the help. The following are some ideas for DIY or inexpensive options you may want to consider.
Affordable Wedding Option #1: Photography
Unless your heart is set on fancy, staged photos with backgrounds and embellishments, photography is the one of the easiest areas to scrimp on. Disposable cameras at each table at the reception will ensure you have many candid shots of the goings-on. You can designate a “photographer“ for each table or let the guests pass them around. Be sure to collect the cameras, a perfect job for a bridesmaid or groomsman, at the end of the evening. Another option would be to go digital. Many people own digital cameras and would be more than willing to take pictures for you, maybe even as their wedding gift to you. If several people are willing to take photos, ask each to focus on a particular thing such as the groom’s family, the bride’s family, the cake cutting, the first dance. Allow time to stage photos in the church with family and the wedding party as well as at the hall. Later everyone can email their pictures to you, send them on a CD or upload them to the internet on one of any number of photo-sharing sites such as Kodak Gallery http://www.kodakgallery.com . You will end up with more photos than you know what to do with. You can choose to edit, crop, enhance, and enlarge only the ones you want. Print some now and some later. The options are wide open.
Affordable Wedding Option #2: Music
In the technological age we live in, music is available for an unlimited number of sources. Through downloads, CD’s and other means, the clever couple can avoid paying musicians or DJ’s to provide mood, magic and entertainment at their wedding. Select songs and types of music you want to hear during dinner, for you first dance and other special dances and throughout the evening. Burn several CD’s – one for dinner music, one with the songs for the special dances, another for dances for the remainder of the evening. Use a multi-disc CD player, preloaded with the discs you’ve prepared. Ask a friend or family member to become familiar with your choices and what discs should be playing at which time. Have this friend operate the CD player for the evening.
Affordable Wedding Option #3: Invitations
Print your own. There are kits you can buy available from Wilton that coincide with free MS Word templates on their website at http://www.wilton.com/printyourown/stationery/templateversion.cfm?mode=product&pid=42 . There is a good selection of card types to choose from and you can coordinate the invites, RSVP’s and even Thank-You Cards. Use postcards for the RSVP’s to save on postage.
Affordable Wedding Option #4: Decorations
Any venue can be spruced up with white Christmas lights and tons of tulle. String lights anywhere a little pizzazz is needed or to simulate a night sky. Bunches of tulle, in colors matching the theme of the wedding or in all white for a dramatic effect, strategically placed over the lights will give a soft glow. Artificial flowers tied with ribbon and attached to the tulle add another dimension. Baskets of straw or crocheted for an antique look can be filled with matching flowers and used as centerpieces. Another option is hurricane lamps for centerpieces. They don’t have to match. Borrow from friends and use the differences to make each table unique. The decorations at your wedding should reflect your personality and tastes.
Don’t let your finances dictate everything. Open your mind and close your pocketbook. Your wedding can be amazing with small touches, planning and a few well placed dollars.