Top Five Cheap Wedding Ideas

A wedding is one of the largest lifetime expenditures that a family can incur. Wedding costs can add up to as much as the cost of a down payment on a house, or buying a Volvo outright. The Association for Wedding Professionals tells us that the average cost of a US wedding is between $21,000 and $24,000, and they report that nuptial bliss is only growing more costly as the years progress. If your wedding budget doesn't quite reach that lofty goal, here are five practical solutions to keep your event memorable and affordable.

1. Dress Down the Dress
Brides everywhere know that, once you have the dress, the rest of the wedding falls blissfully into place. Instead of spending $1,200 or more on your wedding gown, consider visiting bridal resale shops. Designer dresses are on display and on sale at an over 50 percent discount from what you would pay brand new, without sacrificing look or quality. Seamstresses are on hand to nip and tuck your dress wherever you might need, and they also come with a discount. Wave goodbye to high-priced bridal boutiques, and you'll be able to wave hello to a beach in Maui for your honeymoon.

2. Cut the Cake
Wedding cakes and various desserts can account for one third of the overall bill for your special day. Due to the high price tag associated with decadent deserts, consider purchasing a small wedding cake for your photo op, and then divvying up sheet cake pieces amongst your guests at the reception. Instead of paying $10 to $12 dollars per slice of desert, you're now down to a comfortable $3 or less per guest.

3. Don't Buy Anything That Says "Wedding"
When you place the word "wedding" on anything from shoes to disposable cameras, the price increases two fold. Because we are a consumer society, crafty marketers know that we will shell out more money for cute little "wedding" things because they seem meant for that purpose. When it comes to little extras, keep the word "wedding" far away, and you'll continue saving.

4. Flowers
Of course you want beautiful flowers; however, find a florist who will work on a less expensive budget. Consider purchasing your flowers from a flower wholesale shop, where florists get their flowers anyway, and bring them to the florist yourself. Florist shops mark up the price of flowers by 10% if they order them for you and will charge you an additional delivery fee. This way, you still have the benefit of professional arrangements while considerably cutting wedding costs.

5. Think of the Environment
Instead of costly wedding invitations that have all the bells and whistles, think about sending out wedding invitations that are more environmentally friendly. One sheet of paper, or even a reminder magnet to "save the date" can be much better for Mother Earth than sheet after sheet of processed engravings.

Your guests will never know you skimped on anything. If you follow these simple guidelines, your wedding costs will be cut in half, without sacrificing elegance or beauty, thereby keeping your "happily ever after" perfectly happy.

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