20 Ways To Save On Your Wedding

Have the day of your dreams without sending yourself ot your family broke!

1. A smart wedding plan
Wedding planners will save you time and money by steering you to the best suppliers and venues to suit your wedding budget. They can tell you what's hot and what's not in an ever-changing bridal industry.

2. Ceremony
Combining your wedding ceremony and reception at the one venue will not only save you cash but it'll mean you and your guests can spend more time celebrating!

3. Wedding photos
Save money on your wedding photography by limiting your photographer's coverage time. Have their coverage finish after the first hour of your reception. That way they can still take shots of the room and guests arriving. Arrange a mock cake cutting early for your photographer to capture.

4. Save the date
Send out save the date cards to guests in the lead up to the wedding. This will give guests time to organise cheaper flights if travelling from overseas or interstate.

5. Save on your wedding dress
Be sure to start looking for a wedding dresses at least six months in advance so you don't have to pay for boutique rush fees. The average engagement is now 16.6 months according to Bride to Be's Cost of Love survey, so you have plenty of time!

6. Scent-sational
Scatter rose petals across table tops for a pretty yet inexpensive way of decorating your reception. The gorgeous fragrance will be a bonus!

7. Cut the wedding guest list
To keep numbers down, refrain from inviting children and co-workers. Include your friend's significant others but not casual dates. Try to keep the number of attendants down as well - the larger the bridal party, the more you'll spend on gifts and flowers.

8. Wedding cake
Have the wedding cake double as dessert and serve with tea and coffee at the end of your reception.

9. Honeymoon
Paying for some wedding costs with your credit card will earn you frequent-flyer points to put towards that romantic honeymoon. Bride to Be's Cost of Love survey 2006 found 26 per cent of couples use credit cards to pay for their wedding.

10. Wedding bouquets
Instead of elaborate bouquets for the bridesmaids, use wrist corsages. They're very feminine and a fifth of the price of a bouquet.

11. Clever favours and bomboniere
Look through fabric shops for lace offcuts and wrap these around candles or votives, secure with double-sided tape and attach a name tag with ribbon. Position candles at each guest's place setting and light them. This will take care of candlelight, placecard, decorations and bomboniere all at once.

12. Use your wedding theme
If you're planning on holding a garden ceremony, buy paper fans and offer them to your female guests. Not only will they keep them cool on a hot day, but they make novel gifts to take home.

13. Avoid wedding peak season
March, October and November are peak wedding times, so booking a less popular time of year will help keep costs down. Opt for a Friday night or Sunday afternoon affair as rates are often lower. Brunch, lunch or champagne breakfast receptions are also cheaper and a growing trend. Or simply cut the length of your reception. Guests won't really notice if your celebration is four rather than five hours long.

14. Wedding buffet
If you're having a sit-down dinner at your reception, have table service rather than a buffet, as quantities are harder to control with a buffet. Serve more hors d'oeuvres during cocktail hour, less elaborate entrees or skip the entree all together.

15. Beverages in bulk
Ask your caterer or venue if you can supply your own alcohol and buy it in bulk from a wine club. Cutting cocktail hour by 15 minutes can save you a surprising amount - 100 people can get through a couple of rounds in this time when they are thirsty. Opt for a soft bar of beer, wine and one 'signature' cocktail.

16. Wedding transport
Make two trips and use the same cars to transport both the groom's party and the bride and bridesmaids (provided they are no more than 15-20 minutes away). By doubling back, you're halving the number of cars used to transport everyone.

17. Think within the square
It's a fact: square wedding cakes feed more people. Have your cakemaker create a few simple tiers for the cake but order sheet cakes that are cut in the kitchen and served or boxed for guests to take home. Using fresh flowers to decorate your cake, rather than paying for the labour or having sugar craft blooms created by hand, will also save money.

18. Bride to Be online wedding directory
Bride to Be has a comprehensive directory of wedding suppliers. Everything from flowers and bomboniere to hair and beauty contacts are listed for each state and region. This quick and effective resource will save you time scouting for industry professionals.

19. Online gift registery
Sign up for an online registry so guests will know exactly what you want (and need). Plus, they can purchase wedding presents from anywhere at any time.

20. Get Bride To Be's annual Wedding Planning Guide
It's an invaluable companion to help you dream, plan and coordinate the most stylish wedding ever. Jam-packed with timelines, to-do lists and practical tips, it'll ensure you navigate your way through the wedding planning maze with ease.

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