Do Not Give Up Your Dream Wedding Even in the Current Economy – Learn How to Plan and Budget It

Does the cost of having the wedding of your dreams frightens you? With the rise of oil prices and in view of the current economy, many brides and groom are afraid that having the wedding of their dreams is out of the question. Is it? No! You can have your dream wedding for a fraction of the price you thought it would cost, as long as the bride and groom plan together, set and adhere to a realistic fixed budget, use good organizational skills, ingenuity, flexibility, hone your negotiating skills, and enlist the help of friends and family. Many components go into planning a wedding day. Many details need to be completed and intertwined to create not only a wedding but a dream wedding as the bride and groom pictured it. Today, about 70% of the marrying couples pay for their own weddings so, setting a realistic wedding budget and sticking to it is a must if you are to keep the cost of your wedding within your budget. There are many options to choose from and many ways to save. So keep on reading.Now, get creative and examine your options.SEARCH THE INTERNETSearch the Internet thoroughly and you can save time and money. The World Wide Web Provides you with information and resources for making purchases on-line. Many wedding web sites provide links to wedding related businesses that could be your answer to quality products and services. A-wedding Day offers you a series of wedding planning articles that concentrate on how to choose and work with wedding vendors, professionals and service providers, a wedding resource directory, a wedding planning checklist and a discount bridal mall where you save on wedding gifts and accessories.SET YOUR PRIORITIES AND YOUR BUDGETAs you plan your wedding create three categories:Must have
Nice to have.Base your decisions on availability, on your budget and on your ingenuity. Once you decide what your priorities are, use your ingenuity and creativity. Involve yourselves, your friends and your families in at least some of the preparations. Loved ones will appreciate the opportunity to contribute to your happy day, have fun and save you money. Choose vendors and service providers who can assure that your priorities will be met and that yours will be the wedding you dreamed of. Before you do, read the series of wedding planning articles devoted to choosing and working with wedding vendors, professionals and service providers.When you negotiate with vendors and service providers, be firm. Stick to what you decided you want and to what you budgeted for. Do not let them talk you into anything you neither budgeted for, nor want. But by the same token, be flexible enough to spend more or substitute, if you cannot find exactly what you considered a priority, within your budget. Be sure you are familiar with all changes, return and / or cancellation policies before you sign any contract or finalize any arrangement. Having to buy something twice, or having to pay additional fees for changes can and does add up. Always keep documentation of every contract and receipt in a safe place and pay special attention to deadlines for returning items. Whether you are looking for a service provider, wedding accessories or wedding supplies, always comparison shop. Interview at lease 3 service providers before you select the one who will accommodate you best.Look for discount malls on and off the Internet. Shop for bargains and clearance sales. If you are careful, you can save a lot of money. Do not get confused between inexpensive and cheap. If you purchase at a discount mall, you’ll generally receive the same merchandise you would at a more expensive shop and be able to return or exchange items. However, when shopping for reduced priced and clearance items, check to make sure that they are not of inferior quality since most closeout or special sale items indicate Final Sale and can not be returned or exchanged.WEDDING CONSULTANTS AND WEDDING PROFESSIONALS CAN SAVE YOU MONEYHere too, base your decision on your budget. If your budget permits, engage a wedding consultant to help you with tasks as small as locating trusted vendors and service providers, to tasks as large as organizing your entire wedding event from A-Z. Wedding consultants work with local vendors and service providers, who like the referrals generated by them. As a fair trade, they often have special arrangements for reduced rates which when added up will save you money. Yet, the least you engage outsiders and the more you enlist friends and family and do yourself, the more money you save. It is not only a wonderful feeling of great satisfaction to plan your own wedding, it is also a lot of fun.WEDDING STATIONERYYou’ll probably want to send engagement announcements, save the day, invitations etc… If you are willing to depart from the traditional printed invitations you can save not only money but time and anxiety. Create your own wedding stationery and invitation right on your computer and print it on blanks. You can purchase all your wedding stationery needs including papers used by professional printers, and print your own wedding invitations and stationery. If you have a good printer, your stationery and invitation will look just as professional as the expensive ones ordered from printers. So, get creative and design your own invitation and stationery. Do you have a wedding theme? Do you want to insert a photo? Go ahead, incorporate them.WEDDING ACCESSORIES FOR CEREMONY AND RECEPTION Following are the basic wedding accessories: ring pillow, champagne flutes, cake serving set, guest book, pen, garter, a unity candle set. Additional accessories most brides add are a flower girl basket, a bridal purse, a keep sake cake top and a photo album. As most brides opt for coordinating accessories, complete collections are available. You can purchase your collections in an online discount mall and save anywhere from 10 to 25 percent, or you can have others purchase your desired accessories as gifts. Your friends and family will most probably celebrate your engagement and up-coming wedding with engagement parties and bridal showers and of course gift giving holidays. Most guests need some guidance regarding appropriate gifts but few consider items for the wedding. This is why bridal registries are so helpful. So if you let the hosts of your wedding celebrations know what you want, not only will they be able to coordinate it but they will assure the guests that their gifts are wanted and will be highly appreciated. A win win.CEREMONY SITEThe only decorations expected in the ceremony site or sanctuary, are 2 standing flower bouquets. Use flowers that are plentiful and inexpensive. Today, many supermarkets, even Costco and Sams Club sell wonderful fresh and silk flowers and bouquets at a very reasonable price. You may wish to add pew bows. If you make your own you’ll save a lot of money. Making the bows is easy and fun and all you need is wide ribbon, scissors and a little time. You can make your ceremony special by lighting a unity candle and if you have children, involving them in the ceremony. You can buy unity candles in stores, you can order custom designed candles from artisans who will create personalized candles just for you, or you can create your own.ATTIREWedding gownWedding gowns are very expensive but there are many options you may exercise to get what you want and save money. Do you have a friend or a family member who sews? Engage them and in return give them the honor of serving as an attendant at your wedding party. If you shop for a gown, before you decide to have it custom made, go to department stores and check their sale corner. Occasionally, Department stores have wedding gowns on clearance and you can buy a gown at a fraction of its original price and save a “ton” of money. Another option is buying a sample gown which was used for a fashion show or a display. If you still can not find just that special gown, and you need to purchase one, consider a simple gown off the rack. Or comb the wedding ads and auction sites on and off the web. You’ll probably be able to buy a gown that was used only once or even a brand new one for peanuts. To save even more, you may considered a white “prom” or a bridesmaid dress.Bridesmaids dressesToday it is customary for the bridesmaids to purchase their own dresses shoes and accessories. Since they intend to gift their maid of honor and bridesmaids, most brides provide the bridesmaids with custom jewelry that coordinate well with their gowns or dresses. The jewelry does not have to be expensive but does need to be of good quality and look good.Groom and grooms menDepending on your wedding motif, the groom and grooms men can wear a dark suit and white shirt they probably own. Gift them with matching ties for uniformity. If your wedding calls for tuxedos, have the men in the wedding party rent the tuxedos, shoes and accessories. Here too it is customary for the groomsmen to pay for the rental of their attire. Many rental places will furnish the groom’s attire for free if all the men from the wedding party rent at the same time as one package. A saving for you.FLOWERSYou can save money on your flower arrangements if you are willing to be ‘original’ and creative. If any of your guests create flower arrangements even as a hobby, ask them to do the flower arrangements. If you can not find a capable guest, you’ll need to purchase the bridal bouquet and the flowers for the altar at a reputable florist. But, consider giving the bridesmaids mixed seasonal flowers. They are available in supermarkets and Even at Costco and Sams Club, at a fraction of the price charged by a florist. Ask your bridesmaids to insert their bouquets in vases to serve as centerpieces for the reception tables. Your bridesmaids will oblige with pleasure knowing that after the reception they will take home not only their flowers but the vases as well. The flowers will not keep forever, but the vases will become keepsake mementos of your wedding and, you’ll save money.WEDDING RECEPTION SITEThe reception is the most expensive part of your wedding. But, you can plan it within your budget and have a memorable event. You must be very particular when choosing the site. It must be appropriate and fit in with your reception plan. It does not have to be a traditional hall. How about having your wedding in a historical home, a park, a museum, fair grounds, public gardens, on the beach, etc… You also need to know if it supplies you with all your furniture and dining needs. If not, you must calculate rental fees. When choosing a wedding site, choose slow period and either a Friday evening or a Sunday afternoon and you’ll be able to negotiate the best deals.FOODIf you invite some good cooks to your wedding, you may ask them to prepare their favorite recipes for your wedding reception. Also, if you invite some good bakers, ask if they could prepare sweets and desserts or maybe even your wedding cake. You’ll save money and they will feel honored for being asked. In fact they’ll be delighted to serve too. If you have your reception catered, you must consider the number of guests, the time of day and the manner in which food will be served. Will it be refreshments only? dessert only? light snack? a sit-down? a buffet? will you serve alcohol? If bar tenders will serve alcohol will it be an open bar? will you or the guests pay for the drinks? There is an enormous difference in price between a light brunch, for example, and a five course sit-down catered dinner. Following are some suggestions you may check out to fit your budget. Have a brunch or an early lunch and you need to serve fruit and vegetables, salads, eggs, cheeses, pastries, coffee, tea and cold drinks buffet style. Have a late lunch and you’ll need to add some meats and poultry. You may still serve it buffet style, or as a sit-down meal. A sit-down dinner is by far your most expensive choice. DRINKS Purchase the drinks yourself, at a location that will accept the return of un-opened cans and bottles.MUSICWhen it comes to music, you’ll need to decide what fits in with your personalities when choosing whether to use instrumental music, a band or a disc jockey. Check out the local colleges and universities and find out if they have a music department. If so, inquire if there are students in the music program who will be able to perform at your wedding. We thank Meredith from Phoenix, AZ who sent us the following information about how she is saving money on wedding music while helping the local high school band in their fund raising efforts. She writes:I am getting married and paying for it myself. So, I have had to cut costs like you wouldn’t imaging! One thing that was very important to me and my fiance is music. We both were in band and choir in high school and love music to this day. Unfortunately, having a string quartet was entirely too expensive and forget the live band or even a DJ at our reception, so i had an idea. I was in jazz band in high school and we were very good, winning all kinds of awards and stuff. High school bands are always looking for fund raisers and so we approached my old high school jazz band about playing at our reception. We worked out a great deal for paying them but significantly lower than getting a professional band. AND, the school usually has uniforms already – just request that as part of the package. Thank you for you web site it has been very helpful. Meredith from Phoenix, AZ. Do not overlook your guests. If you invited singers, let them sing. Have them sing a solo or as a group during the ceremony And / or at the reception.PHOTOGRAPHERS AND VIDEOGRAPHERSWhen it comes to photographers and videographers, choose your professionals very carefully. Your wedding day will come and go and the photos and video will serve as mementos and memories of your big day. Viewing them you shall re-live it and be able to share it with your kids and theirs building a family history. Before hiring a photographer or a videographer compare prices and references. Choose the very best that are within your budget. Even if you need to choose a smaller package. Here is where you want the very best. Go for it. Just like personalized wedding gifts and accessories, photos and videos will become treasured keep sakes to share with and hand down your children. However, consider placing disposable cameras on each table at your reception so your guest will take pictures too. These pictures will usually be real and spontaneous and reflect your wedding as seen by your guests.MISC. Ask friends to serve as your drivers and save. Instead of a limo, rent a luxury car and have a friend drive. Ask friends to
help decorate the reception room,

be the disc jockey,

help with the seating, etc… Good friends and family will be honored and you’ll save money and know that your wedding needs were fulfilled with love and care.

Here’s 7 Secrets to Having the Wedding of Your Dreams!

SECRET #1: How To Guarantee Your Wedding Lives Up To Your Dreams.Believe it or not, the wedding photographer you select to photograph your wedding can make or break your wedding day. Yes, I kid you not, your wedding day – not just your photographs! Why? Because he’s THERE – with you and your family, in person – interacting with all your family and guests – and representing you every minute.Now, HONESTLY, we’re not just talking about wedding photography here – we’re talking about YOUR WEDDING – how YOU FEEL on your wedding day, and how smoothly and romantically everything goes. You see, your wedding photographer determines this, by the way he helps you plan your wedding, the way he treats you and your loved ones, and the way he conducts himself throughout the day.Amazing Secret Revealed – What Other Wedding Photographers Don’t Want You To Know!So here’s the secret: Meet the photographer – IN PERSON – before you hire anyone to photograph your wedding! Most brides don’t realize that many studios hire part time wedding photographers to photograph their weddings for them -a lot of the low end studios might hire high school and college kids, friends, relatives, etc. This means that you go to a studio, talk with a salesperson, look at their samples, and make a decision – without really knowing who will be photographing your wedding! And if it’s not just the right person doing the photography, and interacting with all your family and guests, everything can be ruined!So, when you’re talking with a potential studio, ask them the following questions:1. Who did these photographs you are showing me?2. Who, by name, will be the wedding photographer of our wedding if we hire your studio?3. We want to MEET this person, BEFORE we hire your studio.Then, when you meet this person, ask him or her the following questions:1. How will you dress at my wedding?2. Did you do ALL the samples of wedding photography we saw in the sample books? If not, show us YOUR work, please.3. How long have you been photographing weddings? Is it digital or film.4. How long will you be at my wedding? Will the time be stipulated on the agreement.5. Before you leave our wedding, who do you check with first to see if there’s anything else we would like you to do?6. Do you work from a checklist of photos? (You NEVER want a photographer who needs a checklist doing your wedding photography! He’ll spend all his time looking at the list, and miss all the wonderful, romantic and spontaneous moments of your wedding!) Then, decide if you REALLY LIKE HIM, as well as his work! Because he’s going to be spending a lot of time with you and your family and friends, on your important day. Quite a few more details need to be cover and stipulated on written agreement / contract that either the studio representative or actual photographer will sign and the bride and groom.SECRET #3: An Important Warning: Miss This Secret, And A Disaster Could Happen At Your Wedding!This seems so obvious, and yet brides miss this one all the time, and pay a BIG PRICE for it after their wedding! Be sure the wedding photographer has happy brides and grooms, who have written him and told him how happy there were with both him, and his work! We’re talking TESTIMONIALS here! From real people, with their full names, and their city and state, so you can call them if you want to, just to “check them out” and make sure that they really said what the photographer says they said. (That’s a hard sentence to read, but you get the point! Sorry!) I’m sorry to be so skeptical, but we live in a time in history when you have to be really careful to be certain that people are telling you the truth.SECRET #4: A Magic Way To Have A Great Wedding.One of the things that you really want to look for in your wedding photographer, is someone who is an EMOTIONAL STORY TELLER! An artistic photographer whose images combine to tell the EMOTIONAL STORY of your family, your friends, and your wedding day. This is really important, if you are looking for photographs which will be PRICELESS to you for years and years to come! And here’s why this is so important! If an artist is an EMOTIONAL STORY TELLER, there’s a really good chance that he will be compassionate about not ruining the romance, beauty and emotions of your day. Just to be a good wedding photographer or an excellent photographer might not be enough. You see, only a true romantic can truly understand how important this day is to you, and how perfectly you want it to go. And a true romantic will be sensitive to NOT INTERFERING WITH THE EMOTIONAL ROMANTIC FLOW OF YOUR DAY!It is also very important that the photographer knows how to anticipate capturing the emotions, reflections, and relationships between the Bride and Groom and relatives and friends. Usually, the photographer who is more involved in learning who from the families is coming to the wedding; learn their names and talks to the couple about the importance of all facets of the wedding from the getting ready photos, ceremony and reception.SECRET #5: The Truth About Wedding Photographers Revealed. What They Don’t Want Me To Tell You!It is not my intention to say anything bad about any other wedding photographers in the area. I know most of them personally, and count many of them as my friends. However, it is really important that I alert you to some of the problems that you otherwise would never know about.Well, here’s a “biggie.”Most wedding photographers will cram as many weddings into a day as they humanly can. Many times, this means they must rush from your wedding, to get to another, and then rush from that one, to get to another. This type of wedding photographer just isn’t going to be able to capture the EMOTIONS, ROMANCE, LOVE, AND RELATIONSHIPS between you and your husband and also between you and your family and friends. He’s just won’t have the sensitivity and enthusiasm and love for what he does to be able to capture those feelings. And he won’t have the time or energy. You will want the photographer to pay total attention to your event, to be there, to be unobtrusive but at the same time, as mentioned above, to know what is important and how to cover it.This is one of the most ignored aspect of choosing a wedding photographer. You see, due to the digital revolution, it is easy for one to acquire and use a digital camera. However, that does not mean that owning a digital camera and knowing how to use it, makes one a professional photographer. Other than one has to know what photographing a wedding entails technical wise, a wedding photographer is the glue that puts all together. Thus, one and foremost aspect of the job is to be good with people. There are always time limitations and people challenges for a wedding photographer that has to deal with in a polite and professional manner and be able to cover completely the wedding photography to the utmost expectations of the marrying couple. This is so important! Be sure the photographer you hire has a “team” approach to taking good care of you on your day.SECRET #6:This means that he isn’t going to be trying to work alone to photograph your important day. You see, doing a really super, romantic, EMOTIONAL STORY of your day requires a huge amount of planning, care, and effort. More effort than just one person can do. We are a TEAM. A team that together, guarantees that you not only have a great time on your wedding day, but also assures you of having PERFECTLY EMOTIONAL photographs!A HUGE POINT FOR BRIDES-TO-BE: The Magic Of “E.F.P” On Your Wedding Day!You see, I don’t really look at it as “wedding photography,” but rather as “Emotional Family Photography created on your wedding day!” It’s all the emotions, relationships and personalities of all your friends and relatives, captured in beautiful images for you and your family to cherish for the rest of your lives. After all, isn’t that what you really want? Aren’t The People and The Emotions Of Your Life What Matter The Most To You? PEOPLE AND EMOTIONS of your wedding and life are so valuable to you, so that is why is so important for the photographer to capture the beautiful dresses and flowers and all the details of the wedding, like d├ęcor, and the whole ambiance of the reception and ceremony. You want your wedding photography to “tell the story” of your wedding day, AND your families and friends. How To Be Assured That You Will Be The Most Beautiful Bride Your Friends Or Relatives Have Ever Seen!SECRET #7:You deserve to have a wedding day where you are the most beautiful bride any of your friends or relatives have ever seen. That’s the dream of every girl when she begins visualizing her wedding day. And you deserve to have that! You will select the perfect dress, headpiece, veil, flowers, shoes, etc. Yes, you will have your hair and make up done. But it goes much deeper than that. You see, beauty is also in the way you FEEL on your wedding day. The way your emotions show on your face, and the way you glow when you walk down the aisle and look in the eyes of the love of your life.Many of my brides will understand this when I say it: When you hire a photographer to photograph your wedding, you’re really paying them to be there. To take all the pressures and tensions out of the day for you. You know that your photographer truly cares about you, and will help you with EVERYTHING so the day goes perfectly. That’s really what our brides are paying us for. You see, if you, your husband (there’s that great word again!), and your family and guests are all having a wonderful time, you will be more beautiful than you have even dreamed you would be. Because there will be no tension there. And, by the way, your photographs will be WONDERFUL, too, because you looked so wonderful and were having such a great time.Article submitted by Andreas Katsouris