Common sense and creativity can save dollars.
Put your wallet away and bake large cookies for your guests, put their name or initial on top and place each in a see-through bag, tied with a ribbon. A cookie can double as a take-home gift and a place card.
Create an outdoor altar
Make an inexpensive but effective altar for an outdoor evening wedding. Drape a white cloth over a table. A big sheet will do the trick. Rent several hurricane lamps and fill with candles of different sizes and heights. The flickering lights will be romantic and impressive.
Use reply postcards
Save on printed reply cards that require envelopes. Instead print out response postcards and add a stamp.
Hire a professional photographer short term
Engage a professional photographer for just two hours for formal pictures, suitable for framing. Have someone in charge of organizing the troops efficiently so no time is wasted.
Fill the gaps with photographer friends
Among your guests there will be several who have camera talent. Ask each to cover just one brief element of your wedding. But remember, they are guests, so don’t ask too much. They likely will be flattered to be in charge of, say, recording the cake cutting, your walk down the aisle, or the people giving toasts.
Limit the bar
Lose the liquor. Serve a signature cocktail during the cocktail hour and limit the bar to wine and beer.
Use email for informal responses
A formal wedding’s invitations should enclose stamped reply cards. A casual wedding can request a response via email. (Never use email for invitations.)
Skip the rehearsal
And that means skipping the expensive rehearsal dinner. Everyone has been to multiple weddings so what’s to know? The musician(s) can be given your musical choices ahead of time, you will have met with the clergy, and those in the processional can gather at the church 30 minutes before the service to get their marching orders from the best man and maid of honour.
Originally published in Today’s Bride, July 2012