1. Use free media and the internet
You can borrow wedding/bridal books and magazines from friends, work colleagues and public libraries. Check for local wedding suppliers on the web, where you will be able to find details on the larger and smaller specialist wedding companies in your local area.
Visit free-to-enter wedding fairs, as the prospective customer why should you be expected to pay an admission fee to view their stands? Ask lots of questions and obtain quotes without making any firm commitments at the time, giving you a chance later to review all of the offerings and make your choices without any sales pressure - you'll be amazed at the price variations for supplying identical services.
Bear in mind that the larger wedding fairs will be charging high fees to the wedding suppliers who attend. This will have two consequences for YOU, firstly, it will exclude many of the smaller, but equally good quality, local wedding suppliers who cannot justify the wedding fair expenditure and secondly, you have to ask who is ultimately paying for these high exhibition fees? YOU ARE!...and then many of these larger wedding fair operators have the cheek to expect you to pay an entry fee as well!
2. Use Online Auctions and e-Bay
Many of the items that you need for your wedding are available on e-Bay at a fraction of the price charged by many wedding vendors. Cake toppers, favors, balloons, new and used-once wedding dresses along with a host of other useful items that can save you a lot of money. Do your shopping well ahead of the wedding date to allow plenty of postal time. Check for the established and trusted sellers by checking the number of items they have sold previously and their feedback rating and you can't go far wrong.
3. Food and Drinks For Your Wedding Reception
Ask your caterer for advice and be honest with them about your wish to save money. Discuss with the caterer the options that are available to you, maybe considering a hot buffet if that is cheaper than a formal seated three course meal. Enquire about providing your own drinks for your guests, or providing your own wine to accompany the meal.
You should carefully consider the bar arrangements as this can have a considerable cost. If you intend to provide a free bar, then ask about restricting this to only wine and beer, which will be cheaper. You may also wish to consider having the (free) bar open for a restricted period of time, an hour for example - or dispense with the free bar completely if you are supplying the wine for the meal and wedding toasts, etc.
4. Reduce The Wedding Guest List
Each name on your guest list is an increase in the cost of your wedding. It's not just the catering cost that will increase, but also the table decoration, favors, rentals you may need and even the size of the room you need to hire. Avoid being lavish with issuing wedding invitations, don't be pressured to invite all of your work colleagues and be selective over who's children you invite - each child will probably cost you just as much as an adult on the wedding day.
Remove anyone from your guest list that you haven't had contact with in the past few years and don't bow to pressure to invite distant relatives. When you invite friends and relatives who are single, resist the temptation to include "and guest" on their invitation, they are attending your wedding, not out on a date paid for by you.