1. Decide on a Budget
What ever your budget, you will need to compromise on some things to stick to your budget. Think about what is most important for you and your fiancé. Is it the venue, food, party, photography or maybe beautiful flowers or your maybe your dress. Once you decide what is most important, you can dedicate an appropriate percentage of your budget accordingly. Continue with what is next most important, etc. When you see what isn't as important to your wedding, it is easier to make those tough choices.
2. Guest List
The best way to cut your cost is to cut your guest list. The fewer people, the more venue options you will have, less food and drink you will have to buy, less invites, less favors, and less rentals. Another upside to having less people is being able to enjoy and talk with all your guests. A more intimate wedding could include your closest relatives and favorite friends.
3. Enlist Family and Friends. Have a Chef in the family, maybe a friend who owns a restaurant or someone with another specialty to help you out. When I got married I had a florist in the family who did our wedding flowers. Or maybe someone you know owns a business and can buy with wholesale accounts and pass on a savings to you. Often you can borrow wedding jewelry and accessories from family as well.
4. Your Dress. Look for end of season sales, trunk shows, sample sales, clearance racks and consignment shops. All great places to find a bargain. Also ask bridal shops if they offer a discount to pay for your dress in full. Here are a couple consignment shop finds.
5. Location Fees. Booking on a Friday or Sunday may be less expensive than a Saturday. Many venues offer a discount for less desired days of the week and or off season dates.
6. Holiday Season. Take advantage of the holiday season where you could benefit from venues that are pre-decorated with flowers, wreaths, trees, etc. saving the cost of room décor.
7. Time of Day. Host your wedding between meals when guests don't expect a lunch or dinner and serve only appetizers and cake. This will considerably cut down the cost of food and shorten the length of your reception for those vendors charging by the hour. Depending on your location, menu and caterer, a sit down dinner may also require more rental costs. Or you could do a Sunday brunch that is generally less expensive than dinner.
8. Spirits. Serving a featured beverage or two, with wine or champagne can cost the cost over an open bar. Some venues will also allow for you to host the bar for a set time, maybe an hour or two and then go to a no-host bar where guests would then have to pay for their own.
9. DIY whenever Possible. Some brides have crafty talents and can make their own invites, programs, custom signs, center pieces and other décor. But make sure the project really will cost less to make yourself. Research the costs compared to having a professional do it. For example it may be cheaper to have a florist add in simple décor for center pieces to your floral order than buying the supplies yourself and doing your own. I know florists who often have reusable items (often items you would have to rent or buy yourself) on hand they can use, or throw in at no cost to them or you.
Also can look for items on Craigslist, Ebay, or other sites, used or left over from other weddings, that you can pick up quite cheap.
10. Eliminate anything that isn't important to you. Don't care about monogramed napkins, programs or a 3 tiered cake, then skip them. You could have a small cake for the two of you to cut and serve sheet cake from the back or cupcakes. No one will miss it and you will save money.
11. Combine Services to Save. Ponce's Portraits now offers packages that include DJ and/or Photo booth services. These packages can save you quite a bit. Call or text to inquire. 916-479-3431
12. Receive Special Offers and win items. Attend bridal shows and sign up for their raffles. I have one bride who won 2 honeymoons at a bridal show. Receive special offers by signing up with vendor mailing lists. Ponce's Portraits will enter you to win a free 16x20 Canvas Wrap and send you future offers if you Text "bride" to 313131.