''$3000 for a wedding DJ? $600 for a wedding album?! $400 for bouquets?! ''
This is the part of wedding planning that everyone is waiting for: How to save cash so that you can stay within your budget but still have a fabulous wedding. There is no end to the number of ways that you can save for your wedding and cut costs during planning. Think that Vera Wang gown is out of your budget? Can't stand to not have a hundred white roses? Feel like your top of the line wedding invitations are just a bit over the top? There's no reason why you can't have your wedding cake and eat it too.
Here are just a few ideas to get you started saving cash so that you can have the wedding of your dreams without skimping or breaking the bank.
* '''Supply Your Own Alcohol. '''Not only can you keep opened bottles, but you can be picky about what's served and where you buy it from (think buying bulk from a wholesale club, for example). Keeping a limited stock means that you can curtail your costs before they start to soar. Plus, you can hire your own bartender, which will usually cost much less than the one supplied by your caterer. One warning though about BYOB weddings. Some reception halls charge a "corkage fee". Always double check on their rules beforehand.
* '''Choose a Theme.''' A Mexican wedding and serve only Coronas, tequila, and margaritas; a beach barbecue means buckets of beer and sangria are the options; Italian thoroughfare is strictly kept to wine and after-dinner liquors; or, make the wedding Asian themed and only serve Japanese beer and sake. Check out the guide on Reception Food and Drink for more ideas.
* '''Nix the Bubbly.''' Serve the pricey bubbly for the toast only or don't serve it at all since most guests won't even drink it. Swap out expensive champagne for prosecco or cava and you'll save $20 a bottle.
** Check out these two articles from USA Brides about stocking your own bar and liquor guidelines.
** Also see the guide at ShopWiki about Stocking a Bar for a Wedding.
* '''Alter the Menu'''. By slightly tweaking the menu, you can keep guests happy and stay within budget.
** Instead of filet mignon and greens, opt for something that is geared to a theme, as mentioned above.
** Cut the options. Having chicken, beef, and fish to choose from significantly increases costs.
** Reduce the number of courses from five to three and make them spectacular.
** Stay seasonal and regional. If you are having a wedding on the coast take advantage of fish, but enjoy beef in the Mid West.
** Serve cold dishes versus warm ones. Less hot foods to be prepared and served means less staff is needed since foods can be set out before the guests arrives.
** Have waiters pass appetizers instead of having appetizer stations. Not only will people east less so that they can enjoy the main meal, but you can also control portions and costs.