Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Since we’re only talking about the ceremony itself, we’ll not go into the legal aspects. That’s another blog.
What is actually necessary is for the man to want to marry that woman, for the woman to want to marry that man and to agree for it to happen right then. That’s it. The rest of it is fluff.
That means that you get to have the whole, entire ceremony exactly as you want to have it. Fluff means you can play with “the rules”. You can be as solemn, as dignified, as creative and unique as you wish; even inject humor! Your only limits are if you belong to a particular church, religion, or sect that has specific rituals or wording that must be adhered to in the rules of that organization.
When you plan your own wedding ceremony, you can have a favorite person do a reading, sing or play a song, write your own meaningful vows, incorporate other ceremonies with the service (see my list under “Additional Ceremonies”), do a dance, release birds or balloons, have a theme wedding and include costumes for the bridal party or for everyone.
If you’re not sure of what you want you may have an idea of what you don’t want. Fine! Work from that end. It’s nice to take other people’s desires into consideration but on your wedding day YOU come first.
The most important thing to remember is to seek a minister who is willing to work with you. Maybe you want lots of prayers or maybe you don’t want any prayers. Every person has their own viewpoint, including the minister, but it should not infringe on yours. After all it’s YOUR wedding and above all you want it to reflect your tastes, wishes and desires.
I strongly suggest meeting the minister face to face in a personal consultation or at least speaking with them on the phone to see if you’re compatible. You always have options and you always have choices. Choose the minister you want to say the “magic words” to pronounce you husband and wife.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
For a wedding with this theme I would suggest using black and red colors. This color combination can be classic looking for the ceremony and still fit the themed reception.
Create a fun entrance so that when guests arrive at the reception they will instantly be in the mood to have fun and celebrate with the happy couple.
Awe guests with a cake that not only fits the theme of the wedding, but serves as a unique focal point as well.
Give guests the opportunity to play the night away by renting casino equipment such as poker, blackjack, roulette, and craps tables and/or set up slot machines.
Also offer guests a seperate area for dancing the night away.
Serve a buffet of hor'deouvers to fuel the night and have a bar that serves drinks to enhance fun throughout the night.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Priscilla (fictitious name) had been through chemo, radiation, a double mastectomy, and reconstructive surgery - and had become cancer free! Her friends and family wanted to celebrate her, her struggles, her life and her victories. They had been there for her, cried, laughed, baked bread, brought food, watched movies, and prayed.
At the same time, all of them had walked through their own fires of hell at some point in their lives, separately and together. In considering such a ceremony, it also caused everyone involved to internally reflect on what they had overcome to achieve their own personal victories in life, and they realized in their hearts that they were all champions, because they had gotten through those challenges and grown from them. They all needed - and deserved - to be appreciated and celebrated! A place was chosen, a date was set. Each person was asked to bring a small symbol of themselves or their accomplishments.
That night, when all were assembled, we opened with a prayer of gratitude for everyone present. One by one, each person in turn came to the “altar” to place their symbol and tell their story. Many tissues were passed among the circle.
We entered into a guided meditation in preparation for the Burning Bowl, to help reveal the next blocks that each person needed to release in order to move on to the next phase of their life. After the meditation, the obstacles were recorded on paper, taken outside, and placed in the fire as a sign of willingness to let go of fears, frustrations, and self criticisms.
The group reassembled, with each person receiving the gift of a candle with a personal message. As each gift was opened, the message was shared, thoughts were shared, hugs were shared. Again, the tissues were passed around the circle.
The ceremony ended with a heartfelt prayer, but the celebration continued with food, drink, and camaraderie!
Life is to live, to experience, and to celebrate.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Centuries ago in Egypt, rings were twisted or braided from reeds - the same reeds from which Egyptian “paper” or papyrus was made. Since a ring (or circle) has no beginning and no end, it represented eternity. The center hole symbolized things known and unknown. When a lover gave a ring, it was in the hopes that the love would be eternal, without end, like the ring. The problem was that the reed ring would only last about a year at best.
When metal was introduced, iron became the chosen material. The ring now had the added symbol of strength. The strong man gave his woman the iron ring so their love would have the strength of iron. But, eventually the iron ring rusted.
Before coinage, the legal tender was gold rings. If a man gave a woman a gold ring, it proved that he trusted her with his wealth. The chosen woman would wear the marriage ring on the third finger of the left hand because it was believed that a vein traveled from that finger directly to the heart.
Along comes Maxmillian, the Archduke of Austria. He desired Mary of Burgundy as his wife and wanted to give her a gift she couldn’t refuse. Upon consulting his counselors, he was advised to give her a diamond ring. He did. She accepted. And thus, the precedent was set for diamond rings as engagement rings.
Many gems were rare, but the diamond was chosen because it was the stone of Venus, the Goddess of Love – and rightly so, because the brilliant diamond carried a fire in its depths that would go on forever.
However, diamonds were so rare that they were only available to the very rich, until the 1800’s, when a huge diamond mine was discovered in South Africa. Several decades later, in the 1900’s, a method was devised to cut the stones in little pieces and mass market them to the general public. Now it was possible for almost anyone to buy a diamond ring. It might be miniscule, but it WAS a diamond - proof of unending love.
In this fast-changing world, I wonder when it will become common for women to give men diamond engagement rings?
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
A very popular addition to wedding services is the Sand Ceremony. It’s usually performed by the bride and groom, each having a vial of sand of their chosen color, and pouring it at the same time into some sort of a container. You may have heard about it or seen it performed. It’s very symbolic in that each person, represented by their color of sand, is willing to pour themselves forth to be joined by the other person, represented by their color of sand, to create a new color, a new item, a new family.
At least that’s the basic idea of the ceremony.
Whenever someone mentions Sand Ceremony, I immediately think of this one particular couple. If you asked their names, I would have to say Barbie and Ken. (You remember Barbie & Ken!?) She was thin, lithe, blond and beautiful. He was gorgeous, so handsome in his perfectly fitted tux. Standing together, they were radiant; fairly glowing in their love for each other.
Fast forward to the “sand” time in the ceremony. They gracefully process to the small, draped, table that holds her vial of blue sand to represent peace and his vial of red sand to represent love, or passion. Together they pick up their vials, together they start pouring and mingling their sand. And then I notice that his hand is still poised but no longer tipping. She keeps pouring, then realizes he isn’t, looks up at him and down again at the vial. He returns her look and smiles, letting a few grains of sand fall. She continues to pour. He holds his own, so to speak.
Again, she lovingly looks up at him and down at the vial. Again he lets a few more grains of sand fall. A few more desperate darts of her eyes back and forth, forth and back. Now she is out of sand.
Dump, goes his sand. The last half vial of bright red sand squarely sits on top of hers. Exactly what is he trying to tell her? Maybe he feels that his passion is enough to overcome any obstacle. Maybe the sand was damp and wouldn’t pour. I don’t know. I didn’t ask.
The Sand Ceremony usually works out very nicely and the couple has a new, beautiful container filled with a symbol of their union which they put in a place of honor in their new home.
This ceremony may also be written to include the parents. But I’ll leave that story for another blog, another time.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Both the groom and bride exchange wedding vows. Commonly, the vows would include a pledge of unselfishness, faithfulness, and unconditional love. If you are in the dark on what to write in your wedding vows, don’t be! You can find one of a kind wedding vow just by a click of your mouse. Surfing the internet for wedding vows proved to be a good source of ideas and tips that you can readily use on your wedding day. You may need to pay for the service on some sites, but you can scout one for free too.
Free wedding vows do away with the traditional and scripted promise one hears over and over again in common wedding ceremonies. The good thing about free wedding vows on the net, aside from the fact that they are free, they give you the freedom and flexibility to write what you want to say from your heart. You can modify the free sample vows or if you find the writing incredibly heart-warming, you can go ahead and use it without revisions.
There are different vows you can choose from. Like everything, vows can be customized according to the circumstances that you are in. There can be vows specially written for second marriage couples, couples with children, religious variations or wedding anniversaries. Using poetry as part of a vow is a common practice too. Those of Gibran, Keats and Browning are popular choices. You can browse on some internet sites that can even offer a free worksheet format and questionnaires that you need to fill out for you to easily modify your chosen wedding vow. These will serve as your guideline so that you can re-evaluate what you want to say.
Before that big day, preparing your wedding vows is very crucial. Writing your vows together is a very special activity that is highly recommended.
When writing a wedding vow together, set a specific time and place where the two of you can have some privacy. You can jot down your promises on a separate sheet of paper and agree to compare what you’ve written after an hour or so. First, write a letter professing your love for your partner. Do not hesitate to elaborate what you are feeling. Be creative and be sure to take note of your favorite and memorable times together, either good or bad. Some suggestions are the first time that you met, the moment when finally said ‘yes’ or when a trying situation happened but still your love for each others endure. Grab sweet lines from songs, books or scriptures that translate your love for your partner. After writing down your letter, get back together and read each other’s writings. Reading the letters can be truly heart-warming. Prepare to share a laugh or even occasional crying. Share your thoughts on the best part of the letter and from there start your outline for your vows.
The secret of a good wedding vow is making it a personal commitment to your other half and make sure that the message you convey are made clear and simple. Nothing beats anything that genuinely comes from the heart.
Get the picture? Statistics have shown that more people are afraid of public speaking then they are of more common fears, and it is indeed a very fearful act, speaking in public, anything you say cannot be taken back, and if you say something bad, you’ll get foot “in” mouth disease.
But does looking for free speeches on the net really help? Most of the time you’ll find some cheap tips on how to make the perfect, speech or how to say it. Or maybe you’ll be lucky enough to find one that is already made, and you’ll just have to print it. But these speeches tend to be rather, impersonal and very general, and if you’re the best man, you’ll probably just end up boring your friends and family.
When making speeches, the simpler the better, you won’t have to depend on free wedding speeches off the net if you have memories of your friends.
What you are asked to do on a wedding toast is to tell the people something about your friends, the ones getting married, how they were meant for each other and how you wish them happiness for the rest of their lives. You don’t need a factory made, winding speech, all you need is memories, and your genuine care for your loved ones.
If you’re still having the jiggly stomach about giving your speech you can follow these free wedding speech tips, they may not be ready made but they’ll surely help.
- Forget the preaching go on with the memories
Most people give winding speeches because they tend to give “unasked advice” leave that to the marriage counselor or the pastor, just give ‘em memories. Most couples appreciate the nostalgia of a few well chosen memories. Find a funny or a touching memory you have of the couple and share it with the room, plus a few well wishes and you’re done.
- go for short but effective, rather than long and winding
Many of us know that a long speech is very boring; you don’t want to dull the night with your talks of your childhood, and your games, with your friend. A biography is for a book, one or two memories are for a wedding.
- Write a Poem
You may say that poems are for sissies but that depends on every person point of view. But a Wedding Is a very emotional moment and it’s sure that everyone is in the mood for a little emotion and tears and what more to provoke those dams to flow than a few well said lines in the form of a poem?
- Don’t forget to introduce yourself
A simple “Jade has been my friend since high school and I’ve never seen her gaga over any guy other than Andrew” Make a basis for what you’re saying, especially if you’re talking about moments in the newlywed’s life. If it was a trial, you’re the witness, and you’ll need credibility. Just imagine would people “feel” your speech if they’re don’t know who the heck you are?
However, the right wedding invitation need not cost an arm and a leg. It is not wise to spend a fortune that can be used somewhere else. The range of kinds and styles of discount wedding invitation is vast. Choosing a particular one can be very confusing. There are discount wedding invitations and if you follow the guidelines below you will definitely never go wrong in choosing one. The key is to be prudent and not letting yourself get carried away. You can even save more money if you follow these guidelines.
Choose wedding invitation style well. As mentioned earlier, your primary consideration in choosing a wedding invitation style is the theme and motif of your wedding. Is your wedding grad or simple? Will your wedding be light or formal? Other than that, it all depends on personal taste and budget. But whatever your taste or budget range is, you will definitely be able to find a good wedding invitation. If you want, you can even buy some cards and design your own invitation by buying a printing kit which is offered by some wedding service providers.
Determine the kind of wedding you’ll have. Your type of wedding invitation will largely depend on whether you will have a traditional or modern wedding. Traditional weddings would require a more formal invitation. On the other hand, a modern wedding will call for a more modern kind of wedding invitation. Traditional wedding invitations would only contain texts. It wouldn’t contain any graphics. Traditional wedding invitations are usually upright and folded with the words engraved on the right side. Cards used in traditional wedding invitations are usually white or cream and the letterings are in silver and black. If you are having a themes wedding then choose a wedding invitation that is appropriate for your chosen theme. For example, you can have a sixteenth century scrolled parchment wedding invitation if the theme of your wedding is Tudor.
Choosing a supplier. Wedding invitations can be obtained by mail order, printer, stationers and stationery designers or you can buy online. Choose a supplier hat provides value added services and features so you will get real value for your money. Some suppliers will help you right the wording in your wedding invitation. Some will even help you with wedding etiquette rules and would help you if you are confused about all the etiquette rules involved in sending out wedding invitations. It would also be nice if the supplier has trained and experienced wedding etiquette and social correctness experts. Choose a supplier that offers personalized service so you can be sure that you are not getting run of the mill wedding invitation.
A good discount wedding invitation supplier will also respond to your inquiries and requests promptly either through email or by phone. But your privacy must always be requested so make sure that any personal information you provide to them is used for the sole purpose of processing your order. Your order must be transmitted across a secure server, so your billing information is kept private.
Starting from the engagement, Americans can think of unique ways to personalize their wedding. As there really isn't any engagement tradition, the more unique the marriage proposal is done, the better.
For most wedding preparations, the engaged couple visits their parents to inform them of their recent engagement.
At times, the engaged couple hosts an engagement party. The engagement party costs less than a wedding reception since most of the time, the menu will only include cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. Therefore, if the couple is on a tight budget, they can just invite more guests to the engagement party if they plan to limit the number of guests during the wedding.
Most wedding preparations have a bridal shower given by the maid of honor and the bridesmaids. The groom may also have a bachelor party the night before the wedding but he has to be careful not to drink too much.
Wedding invitations should include response cards to quickly inform the couple whether the person has accepted or declined the invitation. The wedding invitations should also be sent within four to six weeks before the event.
Usually, there is a rehearsal dinner in which the wedding party and guests came from far places to be present at the wedding attend. It was practiced that the groom's parents pay for this dinner.
A bridal luncheon may be hosted for the bride's attendants during the wedding day. However, time constraints may not permit this to be part of the schedule for the wedding day. Likewise, the groom may also host a groom's dinner for his groomsmen.
Interestingly, even if the couple is not very religious, they still prefer a religious ceremony. However, this may pose a problem since in America people of different faiths and religious backgrounds get married.
Even if there are few people who believe in bad luck, some couples still make sure that the groom does not see his bride until she starts waking on the aisle.
It is still practiced that the groom and his groomsmen enter the church through a side door. The bride will then walk down the aisle with her father. In some cases when both her father and stepfather brought up the bride, she may ask them both to escort her.
During a formal reception, there is usually a bridal table where the couple and the attendants sit. Also, food and drinks should be served as the guests appear at the reception.
Before, gift giving used to depend on what the guest will feel useful for the couple. Now, it is better to register for gifts so the guests will know what to bring that the couple will need.
Upon receiving an engagement or wedding gift, it is better to send a thank you note apart from saying "thank you" to the giver. This should be sent within two weeks upon receipt of the gift. Make a personalized thank you note, instead of using an impersonal generic thank you note.
These are just some American practices during weddings. Whether one chooses to this or prefers to have a very different wedding, what's more important is that American's still believe in the wedding vow, "For better or worse, 'til death do us part."
Friday, June 19, 2009
As a girl, the wedding dress really bring us to much imagine, and the dream has begian at the first sight of Mr Right. however, do you know how can select an elegent, delicated design wedding dress with low price. No one deny that the wedding is sacred, a siutable wedding dress will give bride and groom more happy and romantic feelings.
Compared with Europe , some Asia countries can supply quality and more competitive price for bride to be. The mateirals they use in the wedding dress making are best silk that from China Hangzhou (a well-known China silk city with more than 1000 years) or India. If you are considering buying direct from China, or overseas, here are a few additional things to consider, based on some independent research. You need to Beware because the pictures they use do not always represent the actual dress that they send.
Here is a source for a cheap wedding dress online. You can go to the Aminweddingdress bridal Online Store website and find prices that are 60-80 percent lower than bridal shops. I hope this article will give you useful information of quality and Cheap wedding dress.
How to Plan a Cheap Wedding
Don't let the title fool you! A Cheap wedding doesn't mean running off and eloping or running down to city hall on your lunch hour. You can have a very memorable wedding and not spend an arm and a leg on the whole event.
Here are some tips to save money and cut on the costs.
Tip1: Cut back on some of the guests. Every time a name gets added you are adding to the catering bill, the table arrangements and postage. A Good rule of thumb is this, if you haven't seen or talked to them in 5 years, it won't hurt for them to miss the event. Don't feel obligated to invite everyone you work with and just because some one is single, they don't have to bring a date and veto children.
Tip2: There are a couple of ways to save money in this category. If you just have to have the invitations done by a professional, get rid of the inner envelope, blotter paper and the R.S.V.P cards. Have people respond back by email or by telephone. Of course, another way to save money is buy your own paper stock and print them yourself. It will take some time, but will save money in the long run.
Tip3: The wedding dress. Cheap weddings don't mean you have to forgo the lavish wedding dress. Search the web; check Ebay and Craigslist for people selling used dresses. There are also sample sales and resale shops. Other things to look for are bridal stores that have special sales on certain dresses for 99.00 and up. You may not get all the lace and pearls, but still have a beautiful dress.
Tip4: The day you are having your wedding could cost your more than you think. Saturdays one the big day for weddings and as such vendors are usually booked. Change the day to a weeknight or a Sunday. Vendors may cut you deals or give you discounts on packages.
Tip5: If you are having a church wedding, try to plan around a holiday. The church will already be decorated and could save you a ton on flowers and decorations. Candlelight ceremonies are also romantic. Try those for off days in the church. Candles are usually abundant.
Tip6: Another way to have a cheap wedding is check with family and friends see who can do what and see who they know. You may have a preacher or minister in the family, some who is crafty and can design center pieces or help you do corsages or put together the flower arrangements. Maybe you know someone that has a bar or a restaurant and would let you use it on the day he or she is normally closed. Or maybe there is an aspiring photographer in the family, give them practice and get your wedding pictures free or at least at a discount.
These are just a few tips for have a cheap wedding but still having a memorable day and including family and friends. It doesn't take a lot of money to have a good time and keep a memory for the rest of your life.
How to plan a low cost wedding: Focus on these eight specific areas.
Food: When it comes to food there are a number of creative ways to save on food costs. Wedding venues that cater for the event will build healthy margins into the food they serve as is expected when running a business. They will also charge differently depending on the day of the week and time of the day. By doing some leg work you can pick a venue and establish your cost guidelines that fits in with you budget allocations. Sometimes picking a venue that doesn’t break the bank and using your own source of catering can end up being cheaper. Examine the options before you proceed.
Bar: Buying wholesale will definitely save you money. If you use a reception center this is not likely permitted. By hiring your own venue you may be able to assemble your own team of caters/waiters and supply the alcohol and food. If you find a suitable venue then this low budget wedding tip can save you thousands alone.
Wedding attire: In general, the more formal you make the occasion the more expensive the cost. Consider employing a less formal approach. You can still look stunning by selecting wedding attire that doesn’t cost a fortune. Custom made dresses are often expensive and if you do some research you can often find a discount designer dress at a greatly reduced price.
Flowers: Select flowers that are stunning in appearance but not as expensive as high end alternatives. There are also other ways to employ decorations that can minimize your investment in flowers. By having one main centerpiece and using other decorations you can greatly reduce the money you need to allocate towards floral arrangements.
Photography & Videography: This is a major cost and is something you will need to carefully consider. Having a professional do the job is essential because it is something you will cherish for years to come. If you are investigating cost cutting in this area you need to make sure that the person you employ has the necessary professional expertise and experience to be able to deliver a high quality reproduction of the event. You can go for a student to reduce costs but you need to make sure they will be able to handle the job.
Music: If you are going to hire someone to provide the music this will add additional expense. You can save in this area by using prerecorded music or by hiring a person who is musically talented but doesn’t charge professional rates. Asking friends can often produce someone who is talented and can be booked at a greatly reduced cost.
Honeymoon: Saving money on your honeymoon depends on a number of factors including the time of the year, duration and the honeymoon destination. You will have to be prepared to do extensive online research to find bargains. You can often get a great deal by traveling at the end of the season. Making use of any frequent flyer miles can also help reduce your honeymoon costs.
Guest List: Keeping the numbers down will greatly reduce your costs. If you have a large guest list then you will need to find an approach that reduces the cost per head. You can also save on your wedding invitations by creating your own. If you add humor to the occasion you can often create memorable invitations that will really strike a chord with your friends for very little outlay.
The above represents some basic guidelines to plan a cheap wedding. The more you research the more creative solutions you will find. It just takes time and a little effort. Creating a memorable wedding that doesn’t cost a fortune is attainable for everyone provided you are prepared to do a little leg work.
2. Imbibe wisely. Many sites offer consumption bars (you pay for the liquor your guests drink) or open bars (a flat fee per guest). If your invitees are light drinkers, a consumption bar will save you cash. One caveat: Make sure you trust the establishment tallying drinks.
3. Limit your attendants. You could save hundreds on the boutonnieres and bouquets, not to mention all of the gifts you would need to buy for a large wedding party.
4. Avoid a Saturday night soiree. Wedding pros charge their highest fees for parties that are held on this evening. If you're willing to move your event to a Friday or Sunday night, you'll probably get lower rates-and even better ones for a weeknight wedding.
5. Marry in the off-season. Prime party times are from May to October in most parts of the country. If you instead plan your nuptials for January, for instance, you'll have a better chance of finding vendors who will drop their rates.
6. Steer clear of holidays. A Valentine's Day wedding will mean higher costs for flowers-and for nuptials on New Year's Eve, your site may charge you overtime rates for staffing.
7. Shop strategically. When searching for a gown within your budget, avoid luxe materials and embellishments. Instead, go for textured fabrics like silk organza, crinkled silk and silk faille, which look and feel more expensive than they are.
8. Inquire about freebies. Some sites include a cake, flowers or a honeymoon suite in wedding packages.
9. Pick a multipurpose venue. If you use one site for the ceremony and reception, you'll save on site fees and won't have to pay for transportation to both spots.
10. Keep it to one card. If you can fit all of your reception information on the wedding invitation, you'll save on the materials and printing costs, and possibly even on the postage.
11. Skip the inner envelope. This is a tradition but certainly not a necessity-it costs extra and may even add more to each invite's postage.
12. Use nonfloral fillers. Mix fruit with flowers to create a beautiful centerpiece for half the price of a flowers-only design. Or ask for extra greenery to fill out the arrangement at a lower cost.
13. Be choosy. For a destination wedding, select a hotel with an on-site wedding coordinator so you don't have to pay for an independent planner. Also, choosing an all-inclusive resort can save cash; if there's a reception fee, it tends to be small.
14. Throw a brunch (or lunch) bash. You'll save on the food (breakfast and lunch entrées are cheaper), the bar (daytime tabs tend to be much smaller) and possibly even the fee for the space.
15. Browse sample sales. Twice a year, many bridal salons sell samples of the dresses they carry at a significant discount. You could land a bargain (but first find out what dry cleaning and alterations might cost, so you can take that into account before your purchase).
16. Pare down ceremony decor. Guests will see these flowers for only an hour or two, so stick with the basics. Consider placing one or two big arrangements up front, where all eyes will be, and leaving the rest of the room decorated very simply.
17. Authorize a market buy. Instead of specifying the blooms you want for your wedding, ask your florist to choose the best bargains available in your color scheme on your big day.
18. Eliminate waiting fees. Hire one car to get you and your groom to and from the ceremony, and then another for the end of the night. Often, you'll end up paying less for two cars than for one limo with overtime charges.
19. Have dual-function flowers. Certain types of bouquets, most notably pomanders and nosegays, can surreptitiously be used twice. After they are carried down the aisle by your bridesmaids, they can be placed in vases to grace guests' tables.
20. Cut out a course. If you serve heavy hors d'oeuvres during the cocktail hour, you can get by with a simple soup or salad, followed by a main course and dessert (or just wedding cake) for the meal.
21. Be sly with centerpieces. Choose less expensive flowers that are in season (such as dahlias or local hydrangeas) to use at the base of the arrangement, since they'll ultimately be covered by pricier blooms.
22. Size things up. Play with texture and scale to make all of your centerpieces appear costlier than they really are. Three simple glass cylinders each holding a cluster of stems interconnected with a curly willow, for example, can be just as attractive as a traditional candelabra that's packed with many blossoms-and way more unique.
23. Ask about hidden fees. Before you commit to a venue, inquire about all the little costs-for example, some sites will charge to cut your cake or uncork your champagne. You can save by adding them up and factoring this into your decision about a site.
24. Mark down the meal price. A fancy beef or seafood dish is nice, but a fabulous chicken entrée or even an exotic vegetarian risotto can wow your guests for a lot less.
25. Be a minimalist. Instead of carrying a big, lush bouquet, opt for just a few dramatic flowers, like sunflowers or calla lilies, tied with ribbon. You'll get a chic look for a lower price.
26. Select a well-dressed site. A venue's affordibility depends in part on how much decorating it requires. A grand historic estate, for example, may need only minimal florals for decor-so in the end, this venue might actually cost less than a bare reception hall.
27. Alter the champagne toast. Sites usually charge extra for toasting bubbly, but you can decrease the cost if you substitute prosecco or a sparkling white wine for the French original. Or skip the champagne service entirely: No one will notice it's missing-they'll simply raise a glass of whatever they're drinking.
28. Call upon friends. To free up funds for other areas of your wedding, have craftsy friends (instead of your planner) create your welcome baskets, or ask a relative with neat handwriting to address all of your invitations.
29. Lessen the guest list. Its obvious, but it bears mentioning: Each additional attendee means an extra meal, a bigger bar tab and one more invitation you'll have to pay for. With eight to 10 extra guests, you'll also have to purchase another centerpiece.
30. Limit the liquor. The bar tab can be the biggest budget breaker for many couples. Those in the know make it more affordable at their wedding by offering guests beer and wine only (at least one red and one white), along with a sophisticated signature cocktail.
31. Be your own beauty pro. You can save a lot by doing your own hair and makeup. Get ideas and tips beforehand from magazines and makeup counters, and ask a friend to help on the big day.
32. Bring your own bar. If your site allows, it can be cheaper to buy liquor at a warehouse-style store and pay your site to provide a bartender. You can use any leftovers to stock your home bar.
33. Stick with the standards. Nix premium-brand liquors and instead serve more economical "house" brands. In mixed drinks, it can be difficult to tell the difference.
34. Be frugal with photography. If the photographer you have in mind seems priced beyond your reach, you may still be able to hire him without going over budget. Ask this pro to provide proofs only, then craft your own album out of those. You won't have to settle for a different vendor-and you can always order more prints or a polished album later.
35. Ask for a rough cut. Scale back on videography costs by asking your pro to give you just a very basic edit. You'll get the footage you were looking for, in the style you wanted, and you can always save up to have him edit it further later.
36. Minimize the musicians. For your ceremony, hire just a pianist and a vocalist instead of booking a string quartet-you'll still get the great music you'd envisioned but at a greatly reduced cost.
37. Bypass a live band. Most top DJs charge a lot less than top bands. An added benefit is that a DJ can act as an all-in-one entertainer: He can play the tunes for your ceremony, switch to background music for the cocktail hour, then take the remainder of the party into high gear.
38. Forgo the favors. Your guests will hardly notice that they're missing. Another option: Give one favor to each couple instead of one per guest in order to pay half the price.
39. Craft items by hand. If you have time for this budget-friendly DIY project, make your own favors. (Enlist friends or relatives to help!) A bonus: Since homemade treats are more personal and unique, they're always a hit among guests.
40. Postpone your honeymoon. Consider delaying the trip to your dream destination until the off-season, when rates will be lower. If you can't be this flexible, try to schedule your departure and return on a Monday or Tuesday to secure better airfares.