Set a budget and don't budge from it
If you have limited amount of funds, than you more than likely will not be spending the average of $26,444 (according to costofwedding.com) on your wedding plans. You will have to prepare a budget based on your particular situation and then stick to it.
1. Proper budget outline
Whether you have a fixed amount of money to spend or whether you will be basing the budget on the perperson cost in your area, do not spend a nickel prior to having the budget set. Not doing so will only create havoc and leave you with a sense of regret when you run out of money too soon, or start cutting corners on the things that really mattered to you.
2. Time is money
May it be for the venue, the tables and linens or the hiring of your entertainment, remember to calculate your optimum time between a down payment or deposit and the final payments. Doing so could make the difference of making your wedding choices much more affordable, alleviate quite a bit of stress and allowed you to manage the budget much more efficiently.
3. All the small things
Especially for DIYers, forgetting to calculate the cups, glasses and napkins can put you over your budget. When planning your purchasing list include all things, even if they seem ridiculous at the time, because it is always easier to cross out an item on the list then running to the store at the last minute.
4. Do not perish the thought
When selecting a location, remember that you are working on a budget and you should never forget it. Devote plenty of time for research, because eventually you will find a middle ground between the inexpensive venue with bad location or poor décor and the really expensive venue with amazing vistas and grand décor.
5. Love is for suckers
Falling in love with the first vendor you meet, should it be a Photographers, Florists, Entertainer and alike, could turn out to be a costly mistake. When you find the quality of work that you’d like to have at your wedding, begin the search for a price you can afford. While you might want to place value over cost, it ultimately has to fit within your budget. Definitely do not pay more for the brand or name of the vendor(s).
6. Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Communication is a powerful tool that you should employ to have things done your way on your special day. Have everything requested from vendors written down and verify their understanding with signatures on every item. This is best used to get refunds and credit for items omitted, or alterations made in contrast to the agreement.
Do you want to and can you afford to spent hours coming up with a design, trying and failing, coming up with a new design and going back and forth to various stores for supplies...just so you can say that you did it yourself? Sometimes it is just more affordable to research stationery companies and comparing the prices of the printed invites versus all of the materials you would have bought separately. This applies to all DIY projects you might have in mind.
8. A gift in time
By all means feel free to give worthwhile and meaningful gifts to your parents and bridal party. But for the love of the budget shop early and shop often and hit every sale from here to the next city. Maybe secondhand jewelry for the ladies and watches for the gents, from an antique store, would offer more meaning at a lower cost.
9. Cushin for the pushin
Allow a certain percentage of the budget for those last minute impulse decisions. You might consider that you will have some “unforeseeable”expenses, or you will find your budget blown. Do not push any expense through if you are at your budget limit.
You will enjoy your wedding much more knowing that you will not start your life together in debt.
Contributor - Josef Schein aka DJ Opus Unum