1. Set Priorities!
The first step is to decide what is most important to you. Is it the ceremony location, the reception locations, the dress, or the entertainment? Spend more on what is important to you!
2. Use Your Friends
Your friends can help you as much, or more, than your family. Figure out who would be best for a certain project, such as centerpieces, and ask them to help!
3. Headcount: Less is More
The is the biggest budget-buster of them all! If you are having difficulty parring down the list start with coworkers and children. Your friends and family are the ones who are most likely to share in your joy!
4. Think About the Off-Season
Major savings can be had if you get married in the off-season. In St. Louis this means Summer and Winter. Sure the weather might be 100º and 100% humidity or -10º with a foot of snow but that's what all-inclusive venues are made for. Have your ceremony and reception in one location and your guests won't have to go outside!
5. Wedding at a Restaurant?
Many restaurants can handle weddings! They are sometimes less expensive, the food is great, and they already have great decor!
6. Spend Money on a Planner
This might sound counter-intuitive, but spend money on a professional wedding planner. They know how to do budgets and they are not afraid to haggle on price with vendors. They also have relationships with the vendors which helps more than anything.
7. Flea Market Decor
Before you eschew this idea, think about all the unique items you can find at a flea market for your centerpiece and other table decorations. Shabby chic is in!
8. Get the SPAM
Sign up for the email lists through various wedding vendors. You will learn about last-minute trunk shows at bridal shops and other money-saving specials! Pro Tip: Create and email address just for this purpose.
9. Something Borrowed
Borrow one of the big-ticket items. This could be jewelry, the veil, cuff-links, or just about anything else!
10. Family Style
Instead of buffet or individual plated dinner, consider a family-style dining option. This will be unique, encourage guests to talk to each other, and allow you to offer a wider variety of food options. Sounds like a win-win-win to us!
11. Limited Open Bar
If you limit your bar to beer, wine, and a signature drink you can save big. The bonus is, it will speed up the bar service!
12. Cut the Cake
Instead of a cake you can have brownies, donuts, or gooey butter cake. This can allow you to provide a variety at less cost than a fancy artisan cake.
13. OK, Don't Cut the Cake
If you must have a designer cake you can have a small one made for the cake cutting ceremony and then serve sheet cake to the guests. This will be a huge savings and your guests won't know the difference!
14. A Different Kind of Champagne
Champagne is sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France. There are other sparkling wines such as Cava, Prosecco, and Cremant which taste as good or better than Champagne at much less cost.
15. Basic Services
Do you have your eye on a photographer or DJ that you really want to book, but you don't think you can afford them? Book their basic package. You can always upgrade or add extras later on once you have other budget items figured out.