Weddings tend to be expensive, but yours doesn’t have to be that way. As long as you’re willing to buck a few traditions (who says you have to follow them, anyway?), you’ll surely save a bundle with these alternative wedding ideas.
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Skip the diamond engagement ring
My objections to diamond engagement rings are as much about ethics as cost. Even if you don’t share my moral views on the issue of conflict/blood diamonds, it’s a fact that you will save thousands of dollars by not buying a diamond engagement ring. Look around for rings featuring other gemstones or even synthetic diamonds. They’re less expensive and just as beautiful.
Shop around for a budget-friendly dress
The perfect dress isn’t perfect unless you look and feel great in it. How great would you feel if it’s way over your budget? Sure, it’s your wedding dress, but your finances won’t give you a free pass to overspend. Take your time to look around, and be open to used wedding dresses, floor samples, and renting. There is a “perfect” dress at any price range. Sooner or later, you’ll find one that you can love and afford. (Plus, a wardrobe malfunction won’t hurt as much with your budget dress!)
Cut back on the shoes
You can dish out hundreds of dollars for your shoes, but they’ll still be overshadowed by your hair, makeup, and dress. Unless you have the money to burn, you may want to reconsider spending a fortune just on the footwear. A cheap pair of strappy sandals would make little difference on your wedding day, but the money saved would definitely help your wallet breathe easier.
Host the reception in a restaurant
The rental fees for tables, chairs, silverware, and other (non-edible) components of a dinner add up. Most hotel banquet halls also require some decorating for presentation’s sake. Hold your banquet or reception at a restaurant and everything you need will be bundled with the venue costs and already on-site — you’ll even save on transportation!
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Ask your friends to help
In the course of planning your wedding, you’ll find that you need the services of many different vendors, from caterers and florists to DJs and photographers. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and relatives for help if they have the skills to bake your wedding cake, man the sound board, or be the MC at the reception. If you’re hesitant to have your friends work on your wedding day, you can still go to them for recommendations. Their connections may even get you a discount.
Save the honeymoon for later
Sure, it would be nice to ride into the sunset with “Just Married” still painted on your car’s rear window, but are you getting the best deal for your trip? Although it’s probably easier to schedule vacation time if your honeymoon immediately follows your wedding, you might miss out on opportunities to save because the timing isn’t right. Be open to delaying your honeymoon until you can take advantage of discounts, coupons, and other travel deals.
Lynn Truong is the co-founder and Deals Editor of Wise Bread, a blog dedicated to helping readers live large on a small budget. Wise Bread's book, 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget, debuted as the #1 Money Management book on Amazon.com.