We are planning a wedding for $3000 (or less). Here are ways to cut costs:
1. Use a free venue, like your grandparents house, or a beautiful city park (check the rules for usage first!) You will need to rent tables/chairs, but the cost of doing that is much lower than the cost of renting a hall.
Our cost - FREE! (plus decorations - budget: $100)
2. If a free venue is not available, see if you can use your church for a nominal fee. If that is not possible, then check if your city has social halls that can be rented for a small fee. (My city has several, and they run about $30/hour.)
3. Either purchase an inexpensive wedding dress, or make your own (or have it made).
My cost - $400 for veil, shoes, petticoat, bra, and dress (Mom and I are making everything save the bra and shoes)
4. Dessert receptions save tons of money. For several hundred dollars, you can bake a thousand cookies and brownies. Serve coffee and punch (so cheap!). It's okay to use clear plastic tableware, and by having a dessert reception, you don't need tables, centerpieces, or tableclothes.
Our cost - About $350 for 1000 cookies, 600 brownies, 300 cupcakes, and punch, additional $200 for plates, cups, etc.
5. Arrange your own flowers. Lots of girls like to use silk flowers, but if you like real ones, purchase them either at the flower district in your city, a farmers market, or online.
Our budget: $200 (at the LA flower district)
6. Make your own wedding cake, or get an inexpensive one. Seriously, go to Walmart. Their cakes are delicious, and about $1/slice. If you can't afford that, make your cake or cupcakes.
Our cost - $200 for a tiered cake and two sheet cakes at Walmart
7. Forgo the pro photographer and use friends and family to get all the pics you want. Create a flicker account, and give everyone the password so they can upload the pics. If you want the photoshoot part, you can hire a pro photographer for an hour or two at a fraction of their normal cost so you can get those cool artsy pics.
Our cost - $0 (not using a pro photographer)
8. iPod your wedding. Rent a speaker system, and hook up your iPod (or use CD's).
Our cost - estimated $20 for downloads (speaker is free from church)
Other things that you need to pay for are invitations, stamps for the invitations, and any little projects you may want to do. Like favors, aisle runners, programs, etc. Those are very optional things. For your paper products, look for sales online. I got my Save the Dates for $16.15 at VistaPrint by using a Living Social coupon. Be creative. Think outside the box. And never ever ever tell a vendor that your flowers/invites/food is for a wedding. The price will jump dramatically.
Total estimated cost: $2297. We'll see how on track we stay!!!