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Saturday, June 27, 2009

2.0 - Planning Your Dream Wedding During Tough Economic Times

Last week I listed five tips to lower your wedding costs. Here are the remaining five:

6) Decor. Choose flowers that are in-season. If there is a certain bloom you want, but can't afford try choosing an inexpensive one that looks similar. Remember that centerpieces, especially tall ones, will take up most of your floral budget. Opt for short centerpieces only. If you really want tall centerpieces, alternate between tall and short. The major advantage to alternating centerpieces is to give the room dimension without the "cookie-cutter" look.

You can also opt to do-it-yourself. There are a few website that sell flowers in bulk, like Delegate the task of creating all floral arrangements to someone you know and trust. Do not attempt to do it all yourself. Can't afford nice looking floral centerpieces? You can never go wrong with candles...lots of candles in various heights. It gives a nice glow to your guests' faces and it is a great alternative to lighting if you can't afford to hire a lighting designer.

7) Alcohol
. Alcohol can definitely increase your food and beverage budget. One way to keep your beverage bill low is to serve signature cocktails. Choose a cocktail that complements your colors or the both of you and give it a catchy name. The key to this is using house brand liquor as the main ingredient instead of premium liquor. Other options include serving beer and wine only, champagne only for toast, or you can serve alcohol during cocktail hour only.

8) Bridal fashion: The dress
. Finding your dream dress is not limited to bridal salons anymore. You can find affordable gowns in stores like J. Crew and Ann Taylor. Discount bridal salons like David's Bridal carry nice gowns at affordable prices. Are you absolutely set on purchasing a couture gown, but can't see yourself spending between $4,000-$10,000 on a dress you'll only wear for one day? Try your luck at designer sample sales. Designers like Vera Wang and Monique Lhuillier offers sample sales at least once or twice a year on their gowns. You can expect to save between 50%-75% off of your purchase. Another way to save money is to rent a gown or borrow your mother's old wedding gown, that is if it's in good condition.

9) Cake. The cost of wedding cakes vary depending on the ingredients used and the overall design, which can range between $4.00-$10.00 per slice. One way to save money is to simplify the design of your cake. Choose buttercream over expensive fondant. Have your florist decorate your cake with fresh flowers instead of using sugar flowers. Another way to save money is to order a flat sheet of your cake and have it served to your guests. A trend that has been going on for a few years is substituting the traditional tiered cake for tiered cupcakes. If you decide to follow that trend, make sure you have a baker make an 6"-8" round wedding cake for you guys to cut during the reception.

10) Hair, makeup, music, photography, and videography. Hiring a good photographer can be quite expensive. One way to cut costs on photography is to select a package that includes the hi-resolution images on a disc instead of an album. You can opt to create your own coffee table wedding album through budget-friendly websites like and If you know someone who's starting out in the photography or videography business, you might want to acquire their services since they will either do it for free to build their portfolio or charge you way less compared to established businesses. Student photographers/videographers or relatives who can capture the important moments can be another money-saving option.

As for music, hiring a DJ is more affordable than hiring a live band. Another possibility is to have an iPod wedding. Load your favorite music onto your iPod and assign someone to man the device.

You can cut costs on hair and makeup by doing it yourself. If that's not an option consider hiring a student from a beauty school for your wedding day. Another option is to get your hair done by your regular hair stylist and have your makeup done at a department store like Nordstrom or Macy's. If you decide to get your makeup done at a department store make sure you carry your makeup along for touch ups.


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