1. Trim the guest list. This is difficult but sometimes necessary if the cost per guest is going to break your budget. Cross off names on the list of guests who might feel obligated to come to the wedding if they are invited but would not have their feelings hurt if they are not asked to attend. Think of inviting only relatives with whom you have a close relationship instead of everyone related to you. Invite only the people who are important to you and your parents rather than everyone you know.
2. If your wedding ceremony and/or reception will be held at a hotel, ask for discounts when your family and friends are staying at same hotel. Reserve a block of rooms for your guests several months before the wedding for the best rates. Speak with the appropriate manager when asking for discounts and reserving rooms.
3. When planning your ceremony and reception at a hotel, ask to speak to a manager who is in charge of these services. A manager should be in a position to offer the best rates for the hotels services. Ask the manager to throw in extras. Use hotel house linens instead of renting others. Hotels and catering halls have their own props and centerpieces that they are happy to loan. Always ask for at least 10% off stated rates.
4. On your wedding day stick to your schedule for your ceremony and reception. Musicians will charge more if asked to perform beyond the time stated in their contract. You will also incur additional limo charges if your event runs longer than planned.
5. To simplify things and save you money, have your ceremony and reception in the same location. There will be no need for limos to take you to the second location. Many houses of worship have halls that are equipped to handle wedding receptions at reasonable fees-especially if you are a member.
6. Ask friend to lend their talents in lieu of a gift such as invitations or flowers. Ask a friend will pretty penmanship to address your invitations instead of hiring a calligrapher. If you simplify your flowers and arrangements, perhaps a friend can assemble fresh or silk flowers which will save you hundreds of dollars.
7. Consider having your wedding any day but Saturday. Fridays are also popular wedding days but may cost a lot less than a Saturday event. For even greater savings, choose a weekday evening for your wedding. Schedule the wedding to allow guests time to arrive at the ceremony after the work day has ended. Many guests enjoy weekday weddings as this frees up their weekends for other activities. Choose a date between November and April to avoid higher peak season rates in many areas.