Getting married? Congratulations! Now onto the scary part... paying for the wedding. It's expensive any way you look at it, but there are plenty of areas to cut back. Here are 14 sneaky ways to save money on your wedding.
1. DIY! Make as many things as possible... decorations, place cards, signage, favors, photo backdrops, etc. Also be sure to shop sales and use coupons when you're buying supplies.
2. Consider alternative venue spaces. Public parks often charge a nominal fee, and friends with big yards probably wouldn't charge a penny! Check out more budget tips over at CNBC.
3. Assemble and address your own invitations. Take an online calligraphy or lettering class and do the addressing yourself. Assembling the invitation pieces and stuffing the envelopes will also cut costs.
4. Use Craigslist. Check Craigslist for music students or local bands who will likely charge less than popular wedding bands. Craigslist is also a great source for decorative elements like vases, signs, banners, etc. Check out more money saving ideas at Buzzfeed.
5. Cut your guest list. Skip plus-ones, don't invite your childhood friend that you haven't talked to in two years... whatever you have to do to trim down your numbers. This means less money on food, drinks, invitations, and even centerpieces.
6. Do double duty. Give glasses or mason jars as favors which guests use as their drink glasses for the night. Or create centerpieces out of herb plant favors. Check out lots more great ideas over at Martha Stewart.
7. Skip the programs. Create a beautiful hand-lettered sign with the ceremony details instead.
8. Avoid anything labeled "bridal." The wedding industry has grown exponentially over the years, somehow making it commonplace to double or triple the price of anything labeled "bridal." Shop for silver or gold shoes at a regular shoe store rather than the bridal section at the department store. Same goes for jewelry, accessories, etc.
9. Email your save the dates. This will save a bundle on printing, postage and graphic design costs.
10. Think outside the box. Consider a brunch reception (you'll save money on booze), a Friday or Sunday wedding, or a themed buffet style dinner (think taco bar or assemble-your-own pasta dishes). Find more ideas over at PopSugar.
11. Enlist your friends. Have a talented baker friend? Ask them to make the favors in lieu of a gift. Have your musical buddy play at the ceremony. Or invite your besties over for a crafting night to make the decorations for the reception.
12. Say no to a full bar. Instead, opt for beer, wine and one signature cocktail.
13. Think carefully about your flowers. Consider using cheaper greenery rather than flowers in some places, choose in-season blooms, and go small on your wedding bouquets and boutonnieres. Also think about repurposing bridesmaids bouquets for table arrangements after photos are finished.
14. Do your research. Don't automatically choose the first florist or caterer that you've already heard of or that someone recommends. Do a thorough search and ask each vendor for a quote. If I had gone with the first florist that a friend had recommended to me, I would have spent thousands more dollars than I did using the florist that came up in an online search. Just be sure to look at reviews before you book anyone.