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Here are some tips to help make your wedding stay more on budget.

The Flowers

Flowers can be a huge expense. Not only does tradition call for bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids, and boutonnieres for the men, you also need to consider flowers for the ceremony, the table settings and even a wrist let for Grandma.

To limit your flower costs:
•Stay in season: If you insist on a certain kind of bloom but it’s out-of-season, the cost will be higher.
•Think big: Larger blooms, such as hydrangeas, sunflowers and peonies are among those that allow you to use fewer stems and still have a larger presentation.
•Use greenery: If you use lots of leafy branches in your arrangement, you’ll still have a full look even if you use fewer blooms.
•Go simple: The bride and the wedding party can carry single roses instead of a big batch of flowers.
•Pick your own: Depending on the time of year and where you live, wildflowers might be an option. And they’re free.
•Double-up: When you create centerpieces for your guests’ tables, choose something that can double as decor for your ceremony.
•Do-it-yourself: Rather than hire a florist, have a friend or family member take charge of the arrangements.
•Forget the flowers: Hit the dollar store for some inexpensive vases, and fill them with sand and seashells, or fruit, or pine cones.
•Light it up: Go for candles instead of blooms.
While you may not want to carry a lit candle down the aisle, no one says you must carry flowers. Maybe you want to add some whimsy and personality to your ceremony by carrying a pinwheel, or a golf club, or an apple. Or a fairy wand or a fly swatter. Get creative!
One surefire way to cut these costs is to have fewer people in your wedding party. Fewer people means fewer bouquets and boutonnieres you will need.
As with any service provider, make sure you check out the florists’ reputation. And history of lawsuits.

The Transportation

When it comes to wedding day limousine service, you simply have to shop around and compare prices.
While that Rolls Royce might look snazzy, the price tag may not be. Traditional limos will carry more people and probably be more reasonable. If you have a large wedding party and you plan to provide transportation for all, you may get the biggest bang for your buck with a bus.
If you have the ceremony and the reception in the same location, you can probably cut down the hours for which you’ll need the transportation, if you need it at all; like if you have your party at the hotel where you plan to stay after the reception.
If you do hire someone, ask the company about hourly rates rather than buying a block of time. That way you won’t be paying for the driver to hang out in his car during your celebration.
Before you hire any car company, know that every state has different rules for how many people can be passengers in different vehicles. Make sure the company is licensed and insured in your state, and that they’re properly registered, too.
But like everything wedding, you don’t have to go the traditional route. Maybe you hire a car to get you there, but when the party is over, you and your spouse can:
•Take off on roller skates (and pre-park your car down the road)
•Use a scooter, a bike built for two or pull each other in a Radio Flyer wagon
•Rent a horse or two
•Borrow an old-fashioned car and ask your friends to decorate it with a “married” sign and cans and all

The Cake

Depending on the number of guests you expect, you could be looking at one big cake that doesn’t end up getting eaten by most.
If you plan to offer a dessert bar, think twice about having a wedding cake for all the guests. Maybe you only need a small one for the ceremony and the guests. Or perhaps you can serve a cupcake tower rather than a traditional tiered cake.
If you do decide to go with a pro, keep it simple. The more time the baker spends decorating the cake, the most it will cost you. And if you plan to use fresh flowers on the cake, you can probably do that part yourself for far less. While you get prices from boutique shops, also make inquiries at your supermarket or warehouse or chain stores. You’d be surprised at what those guys can make for less.
Or, contact a local culinary school and see what they can offer.

Clothes For The Men

There are few grooms, who care as much about their own wedding attire as the bride cares about her dress. There are no rules for what the groom must wear (unless the bride has some of her own rules, of course).
Here are some ideas to take with you into the dressing room.
•Shop around, and compare apples-to-apples.
•Cut back on some of the extras to lower the price. The store will probably offer ties (bow and otherwise) cummerbunds, vests, cuff links, suspenders and shoes.
•You don’t need to rent it all in one place, and some items may be cheaper if you buy in bulk elsewhere.
•Ask for a group discount if you can get your groomsmen to all rent from the same shop. If the bride is buying her dress at a traditional bridal salon, it may also offer tuxes. Again, ask for a group discount.
•Depending on the venue for your wedding, perhaps a traditional suit will do.
•Buy the tux instead. You might be surprised at the difference in cost between a purchase and a rental. Go to stores, but also check online auction sites.
•Go different. Maybe try an old fashioned vest and derby hat instead of the traditional wedding look. Or, if your wedding is on the beach, khakis or Bermuda shorts might work from fine.
•Look for coupons.
•You could forget tradition altogether and go for a different look for you and your groomsmen.
Just make sure you warn the bride, and more importantly, your future mother-in-law.

Hair and Make-Up

Two choices here: hire someone or do it yourself. Either way you go, there are plenty of ways to cut costs.
•Go to the cosmetics department of a store and strike up a conversation with the counter person. If you purchase a few items, you’re likely to walk out with a ton of free samples.
•Have a make-up party. You’ll get lots of free gifts or credits based on the amount of product your guests buy from the host company.
•Take a lesson. If you want to do it yourself, invest in a class to learn how to do it right.
•Ask a friend. Hand over the mascara and let someone else do the job for you.
•Buy in bulk. If you hire a pro for hair, make-up or both, ask for a group discount if you include your bridesmaids.
•Be willing to travel. Rates are usually cheaper if you go to the salon rather than have the artist come to you.
•Fib a little: If you say you’re a bridesmaid rather than a bride, you might find cheaper prices from a pro.
•Call your local cosmetology school and you can get someone in training for less than a pro.
Whether you do it yourself or hire someone, invest in a trial run. You sure don’t want to have a surprise a few hours before you’re due at the ceremony.


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