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Say "I Do" to Wedding Savings

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

Major life changes require some major planning. Often people don't plan ahead, and they only realize the financial burdens after they amass. Instead of digging out of the financial hole that a wedding leaves in your bank account, prepare to hurdle across it. Some people dig large, glamorous holes on their wedding days while others are more conservative and realize that a wedding is about love not ice sculptures.


The Decision

The average wedding is estimated to cost $20,000 without including the honeymoon or the engagement ring in that total. How many couples actually budget this amount for their special day? Surveys say not many; most people budget for half of it. Is this the price for a day's celebration? Is this the way to start a new life together, in debt?


To check that you've set up an accurate budget, refer to some wedding planners. The incidentals add up quickly and are often forgotten. Remember, most couples only budget for half of what their wedding actually costs. The website, www.eventageous.comoffers a thorough wedding budget calculator.

Ways to Save

The average wedding cake costs $500. That leaves a lot of room for saving. Find someone who bakes and decorate cakes as a hobby. Shop around to find the cheapest cake at a large chain store bakery. Or, try something different. Could you be defiant and serve sheet cake instead? Cupcakes, anyone? Try ordering a small, traditional wedding cake for photos and the sheet cake for guests. Another option is to ask for faux layers in the cake. You will have a large, luxurious wedding cake in all of your photos, but you won't be paying for it. While some of the layers are cardboard false layers, they'll be decorated along with the real layers.


More savings can be found for the bride who decides to forgo the flowers. When decorating the church or the reception, look for live potted plants instead of flowers. Small potted plants such philodendron and ivy are inexpensive and attractive on the tables. Put them in clay pots (you can paint them to personalize them) and add beautiful bows.

Keep the invites cheap and environmentally friendly. Print your own or order one page invites. Skip the tissue paper inserts and maps with directions. Avoid ordering square invites because they require additional postage. To save even more on postage, try creating an RSVP postcard instead of the traditional card.

Quick centerpieces are usually the cheapest. Glass plates from bargain stores look lovely when colored glass aquarium pebbles are spread across them with a small tea candle, $0.10 a piece, sets in the center. Try collecting interesting picture frames at bargain stores and place family photos of the bride and groom's family in the center of the tables.


Save the Date

Save a different date. What about a Friday night wedding? Could you wrap up the reception before 6pm and save on rental costs? The typical wedding times and days usually cost more. A winter wedding or a Sunday wedding could save big bucks and intrigue your guests with the different times.

Remember, if it doesn't fit the budget, it isn't necessary. Backyard weddings are cozy and personal and buffet receptions invite guests to mingle. Everything comes with a price tag. Wouldn't it be better to start debt free?

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