Plan Your Wedding on a Budget

Get creative tips from real-life brides on how to plan an unforgettable wedding while still saving money.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionKerstin Turcotte and Jerrod VanZanten planned their wedding ceremony on a Sunday instead of a Saturday.

All About

The Couple: Kerstin Turcotte and Jerrod VanZanten
The Location: Temecula Creek Inn, Calif.

Kerstin's Story: "I was able to plan my wedding on a budget of about $5,000, which doesn't sound like much, but if you do your research you'll be amazed how much bang you can get for your buck! In my quest for the perfect wedding location, two things mattered most: how it looked and, of course, the price! I knew that I would spend less on decorating the site if I could find a really beautiful location. I chose the Temecula Creek Inn because it was one of least expensive places that I could find and also one of the most beautiful locations in the area."

Her Tips:

Always negotiate: "The entire wedding industry is overpriced and all the vendors know it; which is why I was able to negotiate the price of everything! I didn?t try to low-ball but I did ask for a price break from each of my vendors. For instance, instead of paying $375 for my dress I negotiated the seller down to $350; alterations were supposed to be $120 and I negotiated them down to $100. Saving $20 here and there may not seem like much, but the savings really added up."

Sunday ceremonies cost less than Saturday ceremonies: "The original cost of using the site was $2500, but because we changed the day from Saturday to Sunday we were able to get it for $2000. We were able to save even more money because our location provided complimentary champagne. We decided not to serve a full meal (too pricy), to accompany the champagne; we also offered our guests iced tea and lemonade. The cake was allowed to be brought in, so we ordered a delicious cake from our local grocery store. It was beautiful and cost only $275 to feed 200 people. So free champagne, tea and lemonade and a delicious but inexpensive cake — food and beverages were done!"

Eliminate the unnecessary details: "As much as we all love ribbons, candles and flowers everywhere, when it comes to keeping within a budget, all those little extras can really break the bank! If you have the extra cash — go for it, but if you are cutting out something important (like your honeymoon) for all the unnecessary little embellishments, then it's time to take a step back and reconsider what's really important. Realize that although you may think that your guests will expect it, they won?t! Honestly, they won't even remember all of those expensive little details once the wedding is over. Stick to the basics, a guest book for them to sign and no favors, who really needs tiny jars of bubbles, bells or little baskets. Just keep it simple and elegant and within your budget."