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(c) By: Gina Brown 

Traditionally, the bride's family paid for the costs of a wedding while the groom would incur the expense of the honeymoon. These days it is not uncommon to find many couples paying for their own wedding from their own funds. However, you don't have to spend a fortune or go into debt to have a beautiful wedding. Determine the amount of your budget and stick to it....
Keep track of all your expenses and receipts in a folder or binder so that you can stay organized and accurately keep track of where your money is going. Here are some helpful tips to help you stay within your wedding budget.

Wedding Dress

• Avoid overly elaborate dresses because they will be more expensive.
• Choose a floor sample dress and just have it dry cleaned if necessary.

• Look for your dress during prom and homecoming or consider wearing a bridesmaid dress. You can find a beautiful white or cream colored dress during that would be perfect for a wedding at a fraction of the cost of a traditional wedding dress.
• Look at consignment shops and the classified ads. Wedding dresses are generally only worn once so you can get a gently used dress at a huge cost savings.

Reception

• Keep the number of guests down. You and the groom should look at the first draft of the guest list and carefully consider who can be taken off the list.
• Have a cash bar instead of an open bar. Or you can also just provide wine and beer to keep the costs down.
• Hold the ceremony and reception in the same location. You will be able to cut the cost of the location for the ceremony, decorations and transportation to the reception site.

Flowers

• Purchase your flowers wholesale and just pay for the labor of a professional florist to arrange them.
• Arrange the flowers yourself. A bouquet made of all roses with a little eucalyptus filler and tied with ribbon makes a stunning bouquet and you do not need to be a professional to put this together.

Photography

• Find a photographer with reasonable hourly rates and pay only for the time to do your formal poses. You can then designate friends or family to take the candid shots throughout the rest of the reception.
• Put disposable cameras at each table with a note asking guests to take pictures to help you capture memories.

Invitations

• Print your own invitations using your home computer. Visit your local arts and crafts store or search online and purchase a do-it-yourself invitation kit.

Miscellaneous

• Make your own wedding favors. Wrap up jordan almonds or other candies in lace and tie with ribbon pre-printed with your names and wedding date.
• Keep the number of chosen bridesmaids and groomsmen to a minimum or choose not to have them at all. This will keep the rehearsal dinner cost down as well as eliminate the need to buy groomsmen and bridesmaid gifts.
 


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