I've recently gottten deeper into this whole saving money phenomenon. As we just passed into the day of my one-year anniversary of my wedding (yes, it is late at night as I write this), I thought I'd share a few ways we put on a relatively inexpensive wedding, one year ago today.
The things that were important to us where (which is a huge part of determining your cost):
-having all the people we wanted there (small gatherings and Blanshans don't really go together).
-Having a "different" wedding, doing things a little less traditional
-Having my minister from TN there (this was our biggest splurge)
-We had it at a family location, basically free of charge. But it was a heck of a lot of work. This is the main one I'd consider changing if I had to do it all over again. It turned out great, but the stress of it would have been greatly reduced if we hadn't had to do so much work to the farm beforehand.
-We purchased all the food ourselves, mostly at Sam's Club and Aldi. We also kept it simple, which fit our personalities really. I'm somewhat of a BBQ fanatic, so it made sense to have it at the wedding even if it is a little overdone. Family also prepared the food for us for free.
-We used postcards for the invitations. We got 500 of them (which was more than we needed) for about $60 from postcards.com
-I got a bridesmaid dress instead of a "real" wedding dress. I loved my dress. I'm not really a froofy flashy person, so a more simple dress fit me well. My momma picked it out. :-) It also helped that I found the dress I liked, then I found the store that had it for the cheapest. So I got it for about $180 and got a ton of compliments on it.
-A family friend did the flowers as a present. They turned out fantastic! We used pretty simple arrangements.
-We used a photographer who was just getting into doing weddings. We were her first one, so she gave us a great price. And the pictures were wonderful! We look through them all the time.
-The bigger things we bought, we planned to sell. We bought nice tablecloths for the banquet tables, but we sold them on craigslist for just a tab bit less than we paid for them. We also bought some paper lanterns for decorations that we intend to sell. A friend used them for her wedding last fall, and I haven't pulled them out of the bag since. I'll get to selling them eventually, because I'm sure someone would love them.
-We skipped the cake. Neither one of us really like cake, so it seemed silly to pay a lot of money to have one. We did cookies. We both love cookies.
That's all I can think of now. If you're planning a wedding, hope some of these ideas help! But the lesson I learned was, just because a lot people spend a lot of money on something, doesn't mean you have to!