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.
5. Revise The Day and Time
Saturday is the most popular day to hold a wedding, so suppliers and venues are likely to be booked and they have little incentive to reduce their prices. However, if you choose to have your wedding midweek, or on a Sunday, there is less demand for these days. Wedding suppliers will have fewer bookings for these days and will be more inclined to quote you better prices in the hope of additional work. If your wedding is timed for early in the day you may be able to secure a better rate from wedding car suppliers, as their vehicles can be used later for a second wedding or evening transportation jobs.
6. Shop Around For Wedding Cars
The wedding cars are a major part of your wedding day. If you are fortunate enough to know someone who owns a luxury car that you would like to use, you may be able to persuade them to provide it for your wedding as their wedding present to you.
If you are hiring a wedding car, it certainly pays to shop around various suppliers and various vehicle types. Don't assume that all wedding car suppliers have the same rates, they don't - and don't assume that a cheaper quote means an inferior car. Go along and view the wedding cars, ask questions and don't be afraid to negotiate, some companies have lower operating costs than others and some will have fewer bookings for your wedding date than others, so discounts may be available.
There is the possibility that wedding car suppliers will try to get you to hire two cars, for the groom and for the bride. Ask if there is sufficient time for one wedding car to make more than one journey, there generally is as the groom needs to be at the wedding venue much earlier than the bride.
7. Flowers and Floral Arrangements
If you know someone who is trained in flower arranging or has a flair for it, then it may be worth considering asking them to provide your floral arrangements for the wedding. Alternatively, obtain quotes from several local florists and view their previous work before making your final decision.
If you have a church wedding service planned, then bear in mind that you will not be using the church and the wedding reception venue at the same time. You can score an economy by simply asking friends to take the flowers from the church after the service and displaying them at your reception so you get more use from them.
8. The Wedding cake
The age-old tradition of having rich fruit wedding cakes is passing, so you may want to consider having only the top tier of your cake made of rich fruit cake, with the other tiers made from sponge cake. If you do not intend to keep the top tier after the wedding, then you could have the whole cake made in sponge, or dispense with a top tier completely.
Do you know someone who is good at baking cakes or cake decoration? You could ask them to provide your wedding cake as their wedding gift, or maybe purchase plain white iced sponge cakes from a supermarket and have them decorate them for your wedding cake. Rented cake stands are available should you need them.
9. Professional Wedding Planner
It's your wedding, you know what you want, you know your budget, so why would you want to allocate a percentage of your wedding day spend to a wedding planner? Planning and arranging your own wedding is fun and a memorable achievement. Unless you are a big celebrity, professional footballer or huge personality (in which case you probably wouldn't be looking for money saving tips!) then handling all of the planning and bookings for your wedding day is a satisfying and economic task to undertake.
10. Restrict The Number Of Bridesmaids
Most brides dream of a big fairytale wedding, gliding down the aisle in a long flowing wedding dress supported by flower girls, page boys and lots of bridesmaids to meet her Prince Charming. But reality is often different! Before you make a list of all the candidates for your bridal entourage pause a while and consider the cost of doing so.
Each individual bridesmaid will add a cost to your wedding. Each will need a dress, shoes and accompaniments, each will need to be included in rehearsals and rehearsal dinner, hen night, etc. and each, of course, will need to be catered for at your reception. Just a few, maybe two or three, bridesmaids will give you a small intimate group and your special invitation to them will be far more meaningful.