First off, congratulations! Ooh the sweet wedding budget, my big day is just over one month away and I am STILL finding things I’d forgotten about. Here’s some advice:
–Wedding dress: Find a designer you like and try to hit up a trunk sale to purchase your gown (you get a 10 percent discount on the sale). If you really want to search for a bargain, look into purchasing a sample gown at cost and then having the alterations done yourself. Glamour Closet in LA and San Francisco has great deals on gowns like this. Another smart option is to go for a white desinger evening gown — you can get great deals for less than $1000 — try Neiman Marcus, Nicole Miller, Theia — I love shopstyle.com because you can search by price and style.
–Be wary of alterations! The alterations for my dress are $700 — way more than I expected!
–Buy flowers at a flower market! If you live near a big city you can purchase your flowers at cost if you buy them from a flower market. There are many great articles about there on how to DIY your own bouquet — huge cost saver if you’re near a flower market.
–Sales, sales, sales: Buy your rings on sale! I purchased mine for half off on a summer sale. If you live near a big city with a jewelery district (like LA or NY) you can snag AWESOME deals on jewery at cost. Jewelry stores mark up over 400 percent, if you can get something at cost it will save you a bundle!
–Prioritize: For me, the photographer was the most important item on my list, so I spent a lot on that item. I’m not too worried about the flower girl or ring bearers clothes, for example — my bridesmaid (who’s daughter is a flower girl) had a dress already that is perfect and I’m wearing that.
Honestly, one of the best things for me has been to make small monthly payments toward my wedding. Even though our deposit wasn’t due for a while my fiance and I started chipping away early on. Also, our photographer has his payments split into three large chunks, a deposit, a payment before the wedding, and a final payment after the wedding. That final payment is a life saver; if you’re vendors let you do anything like that it can truly make a huge difference!
As far as Bridesmaid or Best Man gifts and groomsman gifts, you can do what you want! I think I’m going to purchase earings for my BMs to wear during the ceremony. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy your wedding!