Brides on a Budget:

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10 Cost-Saving Tips for Your Wedding Day
By Nora Heston Tarte

Creating a wedding budget is no small feat, and sticking to it is nearly impossible. As soon as you hear a harp play the ceremony at your cousin’s affair, or catch a glimpse of the darling confectionary display at your coworker’s reception, you won’t be able to stop yourself from ordering customized chalkboard signs and lace votive holders on Etsy. To help stave off debt as you plan your “I dos,” look to these 10 tips for cutting costs without compromising your vision.

TGIF. Saturday ceremonies may seem like the norm, but just what can you gain from Friday night nuptials? The answer is a whole lot of cash. Not only do venues tend to offer discounted dance floors and cost-effective food, your vendors may see the value in your weekday affair as well. Friday night is still prime for a party, and because they book less often than Saturdays, you’ll save a pretty penny on just about everything.

DIY paper products. Even if crafting isn’t your forte, you can still do-it-yourself to save a few dollars. Menus, place cards and table numbers can all be completed with a hot glue gun, cardstock, and a little bit of glitter.

Balance your bar tab. Hosting a beer and wine bar will save you serious dough, but if it’s a deal breaker for your wild reception, you can still make cuts. Scale back on offerings by mixing house labels with high-end choices, cut off the open bar an hour early or serve a beer and wine only cocktail hour with a full bar to follow.

Skip the favors. Is a candy bar with your name on it a nuptials necessity? Is a pouch of Jordan almonds worth the time they take to stuff? Probably not.

Don’t diss the DJ. A live band may sound like music to your ears, but a DJ that can play upbeat tunes at the reception and broadcast instrumental compositions during the ceremony, will streamline your entertainment—and your costs.

Employ simple centerpieces. Fresh blooms don’t come cheap. Either scale back on the tables that need floral adornments, or get creative instead. Branches, tea lights and vases are just as appealing, and last much longer!

Ditch the extras. Frivolous add-ons like chair covers, chargers and a monogrammed aisle runner add up quick. When your purse strings need to be tightened, drop these items first.

Use your connections. Whether your sister’s best friend is an up-and-coming makeup artist or your new brother-in-law is in a band, call in favors wherever you can. You’re likely to get services at half-price, trade or even as a wedding gift.

Go all-inclusive. Instead of picking a party hall, scouting a ceremony spot, and hiring a caterer, find all three at once. An inclusive location offers discounts on combined services, and saves you time that can be better spent at your second job, slaving to pay for those passed hors d’oeuvres.

Hit up a bridal fair. In addition to being a one-stop shop of wedding vendors, brides at these conventions often win prizes or at least collect coupons for later use.

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