Money Wise--Watching Your Wedding Budget

Many young girls dream of growing up to be a June bride, but any season can be wedding season. And the price tag on those weddings can be pretty hefty. Contrary to what many believe, weddings don't have to cost $20,000 to be beautiful. So keep this in mind: no matter what your budget, there are several things you can do to keep from going overboard, which is a big problem for many brides and grooms to be.

Sebrell Smith of Event Solutions plans all kinds of different events in Savannah, but one of her specialties is planning weddings.

"You have everything from your wedding dress, your catering, your flowers, your transportation, your gifts for your attendants," she noted.

And it goes on and on. Smith's first tip when it comes to planning the big day is to get organized financially.

"The biggest mistake people make when is they don't sit down with a piece of paper and a pencil and come up with a budget before they start committing themselves to vendors and start spending money," Smith told us.

Once a budget is complete, the next step is making a guest list. This is one of the first places wedding budgets are blown, so unless you don't have a limit on how much you spend, ask yourself a few questions.

"Who has to be invited, who do you want to invite, and who can you afford to invite?" Smith asked.

Once that's complete, consider the invitation. Hundreds of dollars are spent on engraving and ribbons and bows to make what the bride and groom think will be the perfect invitation.

"A lot of that is nice. Nice details, but it's really not all that important," said Smith. "It's going to hang on someone's refrigerator for a few weeks then it's going to go in the trash."

You can also cut corners when it comes to the flowers. Instead of hiring a florist to do everything, ask friends or family to put together the centerpieces, and use a florist only for the bouquets and the boutonniere. Also, use flowers that are in season and shy away from using several different kinds. The more variety in the flowers, the more money you're sure to spend.

The amount of money you spend on your wedding does not dictate how special the day is going to be. So be realistic and be willing to make compromises. Chances are, the guests won't notice the difference and neither will you. For example: wedding programs and favors: don't need 'em. Also, keep the cake in mind. The more decorations that go on the cake, the more money you'll have to shell out. It's a wedding cake, so simplicity goes a long way. And it's going to be devoured anyway.

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