This is a guest post written for playlouder.com by Audrey Willows. Please note that guest post opinions are of their author. They are not always in strict alignment with our opinions. – Joe
When you're in your 20's and early 30's, friends will start getting married, and you'll attend a lot of weddings. Through the years, I've noticed there are a few ways to save money on a wedding without regrets.
From buying a dress off the rack to seeking out a florist who works from home, there are dozens of ways that you can ensure that you will have your dream wedding without ever wondering if you should have splurged.
Here are some of the easiest ways to start cutting back on your wedding budget.
1. Wedding Favors
I am still drinking tea using teabags that have my name and wedding date on them. Despite buying these tiny gifts for everyone, most people forgot to take one, and I probably could have done without them. Isn't serving everyone a nice dinner enough? I think so.
2. Sign-In Books
Sometimes I've seen very elaborate guest sign-in books for weddings that cost over $100. We just picked up our favorite cookbook and asked people to sign it next to their favorite recipe. It's great to read notes from everyone while you're cooking!
3. The Wedding Dress
Yep, the dress is absolutely one place where you can save a lot of money. Your dress does not have to cost $5,000 for it to be the perfect one (despite what all those TV shows say!) Many people wear their mom's dress, buy them off the rack, or on eBay for extremely low prices.
4. The Tuxes
Do your friends a favor and don't make them rent a tux for the same price that they could buy a suit. My husband bought a suit for our wedding, so he could use it again for other occasions.
I can't tell you how many more tuxes he's rented as a groomsman that has cost more than the one he actually owns. Trust me, your friends will thank you for it, and they'll have a suit they can keep in the process.
5. The Flowers
Flowers are often less expensive if you work with an individual who doesn't have a fancy storefront. Big displays in a window cost money (and rent.) So, sometimes you can get the same great product from someone who works out of their home. Search online or get reviews from friends to find the perfect florist for you.
Another idea is to pick up an assortment of flowers from the farmer's market and task one of your family members with arranging them for table centerpieces. My sister-in-law did this for me at my wedding, and it was simple, yet beautiful. And it's one of the best ways to save money on a wedding.
6. The Cake
Many people are now baking cupcakes in place of their wedding cake. You could even ask a friend who loves to bake if they can help you with this task as their wedding gift to you. You'd be surprised how many people have this handy skill that they picked up in college or in a fun night class somewhere.
Another beautiful option is the sweetheart cake. This is essentially a wedding cake for two. You can place it on a dessert table filled with lower budget treats, but you still get the opportunity to have a real cake and even cut it!
7. The Invitations
Back in the day, people used to check to see if an invitation was engraved. Today, that does not matter as much because there are so many ways that you can print your own invitations or order them online. My wedding invitations were actually from an inexpensive online service, and no one knew the difference!
As you can see, there are so many ways to save money on a wedding day and still have an incredibly memorable experience. You'll be surprised at how much of your wedding planning you can do yourself. Many brides create their own centerpieces and even put together their own bouquets! The sky is really the limit. It all comes down to how much time you want to spend preparing and how much money you want to save.
Kristin McCasey is a partner and editor at Play Louder! She is a former award-winning film editor turned work-at-home-mom blogger. Three years after their son was born, she and her husband left their Los Angeles careers to have more time as a family. She now works with her husband, Joe, on their finance blog, teaching others how to achieve financial independence.