Personalize the wedding of your dreams on a budget

Every girl dreams of that big day when she will share the happiness of having found “the one” with friends and family. For most, the dream involves explicit and longstanding ideas about venue, colors, and wedding style.

Unfortunately for some, the vision is strong, but the pocketbook is weak. Don’t despair. There are ways to personalize your wedding so that you are able to have the wedding of your dreams, even if your budget is a nightmare!

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  1. Start with what matters. For most brides, the first aspect of a wedding that must be considered is the dress. Choosing an absolutely perfect dress does not need to set you back thousands of dollars, since there are custom bridal gowns available to order online that are more affordable than the bridal boutiques and will still reflect who you are.

    The wide range of styles will will allow you to choose one that perfectly fits your personality and the flavor of the wedding you intend to plan. Deciding on that all-important wedding gown (Will it be sleek and trendy? Frilly and feminine? Vintage?) will point you in the right direction when it comes to organizing the other details of the day.

  2. Consider alternatives to flower bouquets. There are many beautiful alternatives to fresh or silk flowers. Bouquets can be made of felt flowers, crocheted blooms, and colored paper origami blossoms. Look to your creative friends for ideas and assistance, especially if you’re not the DIY type yourself.

    Remember that brides have also been known to carry feather, painted, or paper fans, balloon and brooch bouquets, and even family heirlooms, such as their grandmother’s clutch. Choosing the item the bride will carry will help you make decisions about what the bridesmaids will hold, and don’t forget to look to the do-it-yourself variety — not only to minimize costs, but also to ensure that it is the perfect reflection of what really matters to you.

  3. Create your own invitations. Invitations are not simply an announcement of the date and time of your special day, they are the first glimpse of what your wedding will look like — the theme, the colors, and the overall tenor of the big event. Utilizing stamp pads, clip art, and even computer programs can help you with a dream design that will give your guests the best first impression of your upcoming celebration without breaking the bank. You could even get a digital design and send out electronic invitations or save the dates that showcase the event in a more convenient format.
  4. Design a special dinner. Receptions can be very expensive, and a traditional meal plan can be less than personal (how many weddings have you been to with the exact chicken and pork roast buffet?). Consider recruiting friends and family who are able to prepare food which is a true reflection of you and your spouse.

    It might be a meal that is reflective of your cultural heritage, but it may also be an indicator of the type of meal you both enjoy or a nod to the restaurant you frequented during your courting days. Personalizing a meal with homemade garlic cheese biscuits or a special vegetable dish is a sure way to make your wedding memorable for both you and your guests.

  5. Concoct a signature drink. In addition to feeding your guests special food, you may want to consider designing a signature drink. If your budget, diet, or venue restricts you with regard to the use of alcohol, consider creating a fun drink using soda, fruit juices, fresh fruit, and other ingredients to make a one-of-a kind beverage that reflects the color and theme of the rest of your wedding.

    A signature drink can dramatically reduce the number of bottles opened on your wedding day and keep bar tabs to a minimum; food and drink for all your guests makes up the majority of your wedding budget, so anything you can do to cut costs in those areas can have a serious impact on your bottom line.

If you’re like most newlyweds, you’re already trying to manage a budget heavy with student debt, credit card payments, and a brand-new mortgage; the last thing you need is to add to your debt burden by trying to balance the costs of a wedding with everything else on your plate. While the average wedding costs upwards of $35,000 these days, it is completely possible to have a stunning affair without the mind-blowing price tag. If you’re committed to being a bride on a budget, you can have the fantasy wedding of your dreams without paying interest on it for the next five to ten years.

What strategies did you implement to save money on wedding costs? Share your tips in the comments.

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