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Free Wedding Planners, Tips for an Inexpensive Ceremony
Written by Lipstick 'n Boots Sky Taylor
2 Free Wedding Planners for an Elegant, Inexpensive Wedding
Our Wedding Planners will show you how to plan a simple, formal, elegant wedding and honeymoon for fifty guests for about $300. You'll save time, money, and the unwarranted stress that unfortunately, so often accompanies this life event.
Our Wedding Planners provides detailed ideas that will enhance your Wedding Day and help create the precious, cherished memories that every couple deserves, keeping expenses minimal.
Discover how to save money on everything from wedding invitations to wedding photos to decorations. Our wedding banquet contains a queue of elegant wedding recipes including hors o’durves, wedding punch, wedding cakes and main courses. Our step-by-step guides will assist you in planning a wedding party for fifty guests.
Planning a wedding can swiftly get out of hand. Those five-and-dime crafts can really add up and in turn make a special occasion look really cheap. With a little savvy planning, you can create the formal wedding of your dreams, economically, simply done with limited stress.
This wedding planner provides information on how to economically plan the perfect, simple formal wedding. Discover bargain shops and fantastic affordable honeymoon spots. Discover how to save money on everything from wedding invitations to decorations. Our wedding banquet contains a queue of elegant wedding recipes including hors o’durves, wedding punch, wedding cakes and main courses. Our step-by-step guides will assist you in planning a wedding party for fifty guests. There are two planning guides included! So - let's get started, shall we?
Some things that you will need to discuss for your Wedding are:
How much money do you want to spend on your Wedding?
Are you aware of any other contributors to the Wedding expenses?
How big will your Wedding party (the stars of the show) be?
How many people do you want to invite to your Wedding?
What month and day of the week do you want to get married?
What type of wedding theme do you desire? Theme weddings have been popular for years now. People get married in hot air balloons, under garden arches, even scuba diving. And along the same lines, where do you want to get married? On a boat, in a church, in a field of flowers?
What colors do you want to define your day?
What type of photographs (different poses) would you like to have taken?
Will someone sing or will they play a musical instrument at your wedding ceremony?
What would you like to serve your guests?
What type of environment do you want to honeymoon in? For example: tropical, forest, beach, mountains, snow, city, country, desert? How long will the honeymoon last?
Is everything in order so that when you return home you have limited stress/work?
Let’s address a bullet at a time to build our Wedding Plan.
1. HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU WANT TO SPEND?
For this wedding plan to succeed it is imperative that the couple mutually establish a spending limit and stick to that decision. This will ensure the necessary funds, without complications of insufficient money for the wedding and honeymoon.
A ‘set limit’ will also motivate planning and keep those creative juices flowing.
Our detailed wedding planner is based on a spending limit of approximately $300. That amount can be adjusted, depending on how elaborate you want your wedding to be. This wedding planner does not include the rings, marriage license, invitations, stamps or fees for the officiator of the service.
These items tend to have a high variance in price, depending on where one lives and who is performing the ceremony. However, some tips on these items are included later in The Wedding Planner.
2. ARE YOU AWARE OF ANY OTHER CONTRIBUTORS TO THE WEDDING EXPENSES?
Due to budget constraints or other personal factors, the parents, guardians, friends or family members are not always able to contribute funds for wedding expenses. However, many times they can contribute a small amount, such as offering to buy the floral arrangements, paying for part of the Reception, or simply purchasing the dress for the Flower Girl.
One of the best ways to go about securing help for your wedding is to simply share your wedding plans with family and friends and tell them that any assistance on their part would be greatly appreciated. Invite their ideas implore their assistance and input. Most of all remain open to all suggestions within your established wedding budget.
If you have an aunt that makes a wonderful holiday punch, tell her that you’d be thrilled if she would provide the wedding punch. Odds are she’ll be flattered and will not only supply the punch, but the bowl as well. Bottom line is: Incorporate as much help as possible! However, make it crystal clear that you are operating within a budget and don't be hesitant about sharing that information whenever anyone makes/offers a suggestion for your wedding.
3. HOW BIG WILL YOUR WEDDING PARTY BE?
Your Wedding Party is defined as ‘the stars of the show’. This item can be tricky; you don’t want to leave anyone out of your special day. Then again, you’ve got to keep the costs down.
Try to limit your wedding party to seven: Bride, Groom, Best Man, Maid of Honor, Flower Girl, Ring Bearer and Minister/Authorized ‘lord of the court’.
The main reason that you need to limit the size of the wedding party is due to costs associated with wedding apparel. Most couples want their wedding party to be dressed alike (guys matching the groom's color scheme/girls matching the bride's).
If you have more attendants that means you’ll have to either purchase or make matching gowns, or in the case of male attendants, buy or rent matching suits/tux.
But, there is another option. If you'd like to include more friends and family members in your wedding party, relax the formality of the wedding and allow them to wear an outfit that matches your wedding colors that they may already own. It’s the best way to go in driving costs down.
The Flower Girl’s and Ring Bearer’s attire will not have to exactly match your Maid of Honor’s or Best Man’s. In fact, children are best if set apart. Flower Girls are adorable in laces and satins and matching bows for their hair. Even a simple dress that the little girl currently owns can be brought up to the 'adorable tier’ with the addition of a few bows and some tidbits of lace. Little boys are cute in basic white shirts and dark slacks, which generally all little boys have in their closets. A bow tie makes an adorable accent to the outfit.
If you desire to have a larger wedding party, another idea that will keep costs under control is to include those additions as alter boys, greeters and servers and asking them to wear their 'Sunday Best', or a color that is close to your wedding colors.
You would be wise to keep the male members of the Wedding Party to a dark color with a white shirt. Almost every male owns a pair of black slacks and a white shirt. In addition, jeans are perfectly acceptable as wedding attire. Once I attended a very formal wedding where the father of the bride wore new jeans, a western shirt and a cowboy hat (which he removed and carried in his hands) as he walked his daughter down the aisle. His casual attire made the bride’s formal wedding gown no less stunning than if he’d dressed in a tuxedo.
4. HOW MANY PEOPLE DO YOU WANT TO INVITE?
Our plan is for fifty guests. But as a note, the more people you invite, the more gifts you will be apt to receive. For a couple just starting out, this can be an exciting way to fill your new nest with needed treasures!
As we are on the subject of wedding gifts, when you mail out your wedding invitations be sure and suggest a few items for wedding gifts. In addition, sign up on the Bridal Registry at local merchants and list those merchants on your invitations.
Choose a store whose prices are reasonable, a store stocked with ample selections, a convenient location, and one with tiered pricing to fit all budgets. Try to pick business establishments that are easily accessible to your friends and relatives.
If you decide not to register, then suggest your favorite kitchen, bath and bedroom colors.
However, sometimes couples find it best not to make suggestions. After the wedding, they have fun matching up accessories with their assortment of gifts. So as you can see, you have several options available:
- bridal registry
- suggest 'your' favorite colors
- say nothing & match accessories at a later date
5. WHAT MONTH AND DAY OF THE WEEK DO YOU WANT TO GET MARRIED?
The month and day of the week have a huge bearing on wedding costs. June is almost guaranteed to be more expensive. Let’s face it - it’s THE month for weddings.
You’ll also encounter a shortage of some of the party items you need unless you shop far in advance.
If you decide on a summer month, be prepared for the heat if you want to hold the event outdoors. Also take in consideration the health of some of your guests who could be impacted by the heat, in particular young children, the elderly, guests with unfavorable health issues and pregnant women. The opposite holds true for winter months. Unless you live far south it’s not logical to plan a February wedding under a gazebo in Central Park. And keep those stiff Spring winds in mind, too!
Check on other local events that might coincide with your wedding. In addition, call ahead to the place where you plan to honeymoon and book your room as far in advance as possible. If they only accept credit cards and you or your fiancée do not have one, ask if they’ll accept a money order for the deposit. If not, ask your parents if they will secure the room with their credit card you can reimburse them. Better yet, visit your local bank (or even better - a credit union) and get an ATM/Debit card. You don't have to have credit in order to receive this type of card. Most any business establishment will accept this method of payment, as the amount is immediately deducted from your checking account. In addition, obtaining the card should be free.
And while we are on the subject of Credit Unions, they are more apt to lend money to couples just starting out than banks. In fact, they may be a great source for securing a small wedding loan.
6. WHAT TYPE OF WEDDING THEME DO YOU DESIRE? WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GET MARRIED?
What an advantageous time to let your personal preferences shine through!
As a couple, discuss some of your similar interests. For example, if you both love fishing, consider a wedding by the lake. If you both like skating, what about the local rink for a wedding? Sailing?
What about getting married on a boat? Depending on your theme and choice of ‘wedding scape’ you can carry these ideas forward to your wedding party’s attire, the wedding banquet, the wedding cake, etc. Again, be creative!
A park with an arch, gazebo or a striking pavilion can be a very desirable place for your wedding ceremony. Also, check out your local Chamber of Commerce who rent out very nice rooms for a song.
Example: Couple 'Jane & Bob' loved anything to do with water, so they decided to have their wedding at a nearby lake. Because they frequented the lake, they knew the most cozy and private spots. Jane's mom worked with Bob's mom in creating a lovely arch made out of flexible PVC pipes that the dads secured into the ground. They had so many choices for decorating the pipes. They could have wrapped fabric and lace around them. They could have tied balloons around them. Instead, they painted things relating to the lake on the pipe. Jane and Bob were thrilled.
Rather than relocate the reception, instead they had a nice bar-b-que with the guests, prepared by the dads. And the scenery was perfect for photography. Rather than hiring a professional, family members took photos which the couple later had made into prints. For their 'official' wedding photo, Jane & Bob went to their local photography studio.
7. THE WEDDING COLORS
Usually a combination of two distinct colors work best. It will be much easier for your Wedding Party to match a universal, specific color such as royal blue.
Keep it simple when it comes to choosing wedding colors. Everyone is fairly acquainted with royal blue or lemon yellow. Salmon pink and aqua are different stories.
8. WHAT TYPE OF PHOTOGRAPHS WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE TAKEN?
Plan now for those wedding shots you’ll cherish later, because once your wedding begins, your mind will be preoccupied with the ceremony. Fan through magazines for ideas; ask friends and family for suggestions. Visit a local photography shop and ask to see a portfolio of their wedding shots and you may discover some great ideas.
Visit some sites on the Internet by using keywords such as ‘Wedding Photography” in your search engine. Your local library stocks current magazines and books, including those relating to weddings. You can find gold in them-there hills! And it’s totally free!
As you can see, you can spin off some great ideas by looking around. Some traditional shots are:
The stand-alone Bride.
The Stand-alone Groom.
The Groom 'in thought' taken in a secluded spot, as in front of an open window.
The Bride in the dressing room either alone or with the Maid-of-Honor.
Members of the Wedding Party coming down the aisle.
The Bride being walked-up the aisle.
The couple in front of the officiator.
Exchange of rings.
The Wedding Kiss!
The couple going down the aisle just after the ceremony has been completed.
The Wedding Party - with and without the officiator.
Bride and Groom with Bride's family.
Bride and Groom with Groom's family.
Bride and Groom with both families.
Cutting the cake.
Bride & Groom feeding one another wedding cake.
Bride & Groom exchanging drinks.
The decorated 'honeymoon chariot'.
Tossing the birdseed.
Wedding photography can be one of the most expensive items on the wedding menu. It’s easy to spend hundreds of dollars for a few great shots. Our plan outlines big savings were photography is concerned. Consider using disposable cameras and provide a few guests with them to capture some great shots. Check with your local high school’s camera club; a youngster may volunteer for the experience. Or check with the community photo club. Many experienced hobby photographers leap at such opportunities as long as your willing to accept the photos on disc and deal one on one with the printer of your choice.
OR - after your wedding is over and you’ve had your prints developed, try to find someone to enlarge and copy these with a professional color copier. You will be totally amazed at the results! A good copier can mimic high-dollar reproductions for a fraction of the cost.
9. WILL SOMEONE SING OR PLAY AT YOUR WEDDING?
If you know someone that sings or that can play a musical instrument, they can make your wedding day very special. On the other hand, a howler or key basher can ruin the most elegant of weddings. Do not feel obligated if this applies to your situation. This is YOUR day. Make it special - and you can do such with a bit of delicate side-stepping.
One of the most economical choices is to play one of your favorite CD’s at your wedding.
Time the wedding proceedings to the songs on the CD. Other CD’s can be played during the Reception. If you don't own a CD player, ask a friend if you can borrow theirs.
If you decide to opt for a ‘theme’ wedding, check out your local bookstore or super store for 'mood’ CD’s. They have everything from rainstorms to jungle relaxation sounds.
Another spot to locate CD’s is at garage sales, yard sales and thrift stores. You may just find that perfect sonnet for your perfect wedding day.
Friends and family generally have a collection of CD’s. This can also be a very good source. And remember, don’t leave out your local library, which is totally free!
10. THE RECEPTION - WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SERVE YOUR GUESTS?
One thing that seems to create a lot of confusion where weddings are concerned is the Reception.
The wedding is for the couple; the Reception is thrown by the bride and groom ‘in their honor’ for their guests. Generally, the newlyweds stay for only a short while at the reception, then head off to enjoy one another in secluded privacy.
The wedding guests are left to party and chat about the couple and to brag about how beautiful the ceremony went, even if it didn't.
The main thing that you want to accomplish when planning your wedding reception is an elegant and inviting atmosphere.
Suggestion: less is sometimes more. Simple equals elegance. A few beautiful, colorful, ‘gasp’ items that have been strategically arranged on a white linen-clad table speak volumes to the eyes of your wedding guests.
A few springs of parsley will add a dynamic element to a rather dull and boring wedding reception table. Inexpensive garnishes rule they act as ‘fillers’ and instill the impression of a ‘multitude’ of food. Garnishes other than parsley to consider include cherry tomatoes, cherry peppers, other assorted peppers and radishes. These items add color as well as beauty.
More decorating ideas will be detailed in great length later in The Wedding Planner.
11. WHAT TYPE OF ENVIRONMENT DO YOU WANT TO HONEYMOON IN? FOR EXAMPLE: TROPICAL, FOREST, BEACH, MOUNTAINS, SNOW, CITY, COUNTRY, DESERT? AND HOW LONG WILL THE HONEYMOON LAST?
Consider the time of year, the activities you will engage in, the length of your stay and any local events that will have an effect on your honeymoon.
If you plan to be intimately involved during the entirety of your honeymoon, why waste money on attractions outside of the bedroom suite?
12. IS EVERYTHING IN ORDER SO THAT WHEN YOU RETURN HOME YOU HAVE LIMITED STRESS/WORK?
Before the Wedding & Honeymoon
Water all plants, feed/lodge all pets. Purchase aquarium feeders for your fish; as a note, fish will be fine for a few days without being fed and your tank will be clearer for their efforts!
After the Honeymoon - Returning to your castle....
You’ll be exhausted and filled with apprehensions; new challenges’ will be over the horizon, such as returning to work, budgeting, filling your home with treasures and settling in as a couple. It’s a very stressful time – even though it is mostly ‘good’ stress. However, it’s still stress, just on a different level. So be as prepared as possible for the unknown!
Some suggestions along this line are:
Before the wedding go to your local supermarket and stock your cabinets.
Be sure your bedroom is set up for your return. Fresh crisp and clean sheets feel very good to a tired body.
Dust, sweep, mop, vacuum, wash dishes, clean baths, water plants and clean out any little animal cages you may have - all in advance. When you return home, it’s time to relax, unwind, rest and prepare for your next adventure in life. (Generally, it’s the old workforce.)
If possible, save any unpacking for later in the week.
Clear out a spot for any wedding gifts that you might receive. Again, deal with finding the perfect spot in your home for these gifts at a later date.
Realize that you’ll both be very tired and allow for that. If you expect that one of you may be a bit cranky in advance, the other one can help smooth over the situation and help get things back on track.
Either purchase something to eat for that first day back, or prepare something that will freeze and easily thaw. Or, you may decide to dine out that first day back.
Relax and enjoy one another. The wedding went off without a hitch!