Planning a wedding on a tight budget means giving up some things and/or thinking outside the box to make it happen. My three most expensive areas are food, reception site and rentals. Below are some tips from my own search.
1- You've probably already seen my posts on food but consider:
- Self-catering with the help of family, friends and some volunteers
- Hiring a local culinary student and college student/charity or church group to service
- Hiring a local gourmet grocery store to prep, cook and deliver food
- Any combination of the above (I'll probably employ all 3)
- Look into all the public places in the area. Just when I thought I had looked at everything, I came across ten more. Check out state parks, museums, theatres, historical sites, gardens, environmental sites, religious and YMCA camps, lodges, firehouses, church halls, barns, warehouses, and local restaurants. Don't rule anything out based on a stereotype. I have a lot of friends who chose sites with negative stereotypes but they weren't your typical site and they made the spaces beautiful!
- Check your state and city visitor bureau's and google things to do in the area. You'll discover lots of places you've never heard about.
- Don't be afraid to ask. If you know someone with beautiful property or drive by a charming old barn everyday then take a chance and ask! I learned pretty quickly that any space thats not often or has never been used for a wedding is much less expensive than the wedding ready sites.
- Try to find a venue that will let you choose your caterer and will let you provide your own alcohol because it will save you TONS of money and give you more control over times and the menu. Bonus if you can find a spot with an industrial kitchen (if you're having a large wedding)
- Compare prices from all area rental places.
- Look into borrowing or renting some things, like linens from a church or other rental company, perhaps in another state, if a close family member or friend could bring it to you.
- Don't rent from a caterer! They usually mark up the prices. Look for the local rental company that they use.
- Check out thrift stores, garage sales and flea markets for linens, dishes, silverware, glasses, wedding decorations, etc.