How do you plan an inexpensive wedding?

OK, face the fact - weddings can be a really expensive proposition. The average wedding nowadays costs about $15000 - $20000 and that too without too many frills. But even in this day and age it is possible to have an inexpensive wedding without it being any less special or unique than most other weddings. You just have to figure out how to manage that.

Well, here are some tips that will help you to save money on the more expensive aspects of a wedding, thus helping you to have an inexpensive wedding.

Reception: This constitutes a major cost of most weddings. Here?s how you can have an inexpensive reception:

  • Keep the guest list small. Invite only your closest family and friends and not people that you haven?t met in years.
  • Try to have the reception at home or in someone else?s home or maybe even a restaurant. You will save a lot of money on expensive halls and clubs.
  • Reduce the number of courses of the meal. Try and cater it yourself to further reduce costs.
  • Do not have a full bar; serve only beer and wine.

Photographer: Photography can considerably add to the cost of weddings.

  • Hire a photographer only for the actual ceremony and have some of your family members or a friend do the photography for the rest of the event.
  • Shop around and see if you can get an inexpensive photographer.

Wedding Invitations: Invitations and other type of wedding stationery are hidden costs that can make a wedding expensive.

  • Make your own invitations. These will turn out a whole lot cheaper and will also look very personalized.
  • Try and make your own place cards and thank-you notes as well. This can go a long way in reducing wedding expenses.

The Wedding Gown: This is by far a considerable cost to most weddings.

  • You are going to wear your wedding dress just once. So rent a dress instead of buying an expensive one, or you could even get a second hand wedding dress for a lot cheaper than a new one. Remember, it too will probably have been worn just once as well.
  • Have your wedding gown stitched by a family member if it is possible.
  • A great way to save money on a wedding gown is to wear your mother?s or your grandmother?s wedding gown if it is still in a good condition. You could even start a unique wedding tradition of your own!

Don?t buy expensive flowers but try to pick them from your garden or a friend?s garden.

Have unique hand-made wedding favors and centerpieces.

Get a friend or relative to bake you a nice wedding cake.

All these steps can be taken to have an inexpensive wedding. With just a little bit of effort and a lot of imagination, you can have the wedding of your dreams; and an inexpensive one at that.

I have now been married over 30 years. We got married just as I graduated from university and my husband was still at university.

I made my own wedding dress from fabric I had bought in a sale, I also made my bridesmaid dress. Just have one or two bridesmaids their dresses can cost a fortune too, I just had my sister. I did try on my mother's dress but it had been shortened for two aunts so was not long enough for me.

My father (who was a nurseryman) grew all the flowers, but if you don't know a gardener you could just carry a simple bouquet. A friend of mine with very wavy/curly hair wore a very simple dress and went out on the morning of her wedding and picked daisies from the lawn which she scattered in her curls.

Do most of the cooking for the reception. My mother made rice salad, my family were still eating it when we returned from honeymoon (the family still laugh about this one). My mother-in-law made one tier of my cake, I made one and my mother made one. My mother and I decorated it. Some friends have recently had a pile of profiteroles with chocolate sauce as their cake.

Don't have professional cars, ask a friend with either a very smart car, or a quirky car to take you to the ceremony then on to the reception. Decorate it with lots of ribbons (wrapping ribbon will do) and flowers. The smarter the car the less it needs as decoration.

As someone else said, just have a photographer for the ceremony. Put a little throwaway camera on each table at the reception. Or possibly nowadays ask everyone to take digital photos and email them to you. You can then make a very personal album.

A university friend took us from the reception to the station for our honeymoon, and provided us with one of our abiding memories. The car would not start and we were seen on our way by assorted fathers, uncles, brothers and cousins giving us a push start to ge the car going.

If you are going to use rice rather than confetti , cook it first in different food colorings. Do not throw uncooked rice as it will be eaten by birds, swell up and kill them.