Money - unfortunately - Matters

They say that money is the root of all evil. It's also the #1 cause of fights between married couples. What's that? You've already had a money fight and you two aren't even married? Getting a head start, are you?

Sigh. There really is no avoiding it. Your budget, or lack of it, dictates pretty much every facet of your wedding planning. The day you choose to have your wedding, your menu choices, everything can vary wildly in cost.

Cutting Costs...

...on your flowers. Think outside the florist. Take a weekend and shop around town, investigating all the local grocery stores and farmer's markets. Ask them what flowers will be in season and available the week of your wedding. Keep your mind open - you'll be surprised how many gorgeous new flower ideas you come up with! You can then enlist the help of a close friend who's been asking how she can help with your wedding. Let her pick up the flowers the morning of the wedding and arrange them at your ceremony and reception sites. She'll have that many more flowers to work with (it's easy to make armfuls of daisies or bright mums look great) and incorporating unusual flowers will make your wedding more special than even some of the pricier choices.

...on your food and drink. Serve fewer courses. No one's going to miss the extra round of soup, trust me. Also - skip the dessert table and let your wedding cake do the trick. Buy your own alcohol, or arrange for any unopened bottles to be fully refundable. Serve "house" wine and liquor versus the extra-pricey stuff. Few will notice the difference in their glass, but you'll love the difference on your bill.

...on your invitations. Ask an artistic friend to custom-design your invites, or do them yourself. They'll be more unique and meaningful and far more economical than your typical engraved white on white style. Invest in high-quality printing and paper, but assemble and address them yourself. Cut down on all the enclosures. Make one really striking element carry the invite, versus 3 or 4 tissue pieces or expensive colored envelope linings.

...on your wedding favors. This important detail can become one of the creative parts of your wedding planning. Better still, you can save while you have fun. Instead of pre-packaged favors, look into buying kits or favors in bulk. Order the favor pieces and then invite your bridesmaids over for a fun evening of dinner and favor-making. Another way to save is to consider the larger or fancier favors. Sure they may cost a bit more, but if you only give out one per couple or one per family of guests, you will definitely save!