I highly recommend the book Bridal Bargains. I’m doing all the usual things to save money:
-printing our own invitations, purchased at Michael’s with 40% off coupon.
– I am lucky in that my cousin is a professional photographer and has agreed to do our wedding!
– we decided to get simple wedding bands. The cheapest, well-recommended place I’ve found so far is weddingringhotline.com. We both got 18k white gold bands and the total was around $300.
– we chose a venue that allows us to use our own catering and liquor. We are still planning to have an open bar, but will buy liquor at Sam’s Club, wine by the case, and provide 2 kegs. One of the waitresses at our regular bar will bartend.
– I tried on dresses at a local bridal store to get a feel for what I liked, and am now looking online for once worn wedding dresses. I’m looking to get a Maggie Sottero dress (usually run $800-$1500) for around $500 with shipping and bustle already done.
– We are probably going to skip a lot of the things I consider unnecessary and trivial, like the favors. I think providing good music, food, and alcohol is most important to the enjoyment of our guests and they probably won’t care/remember if we had organza overlays on the table and sashes and matching chargers etc.
– we’re getting a simple 3 tier cake from Publix. If we had the money it would be nice to get a stunning, custom cake but I don’t even like cake, half the guests probably won’t eat it, and I don’t think it will make a big difference.
– I also plan on doing my own floral stuff, using flowers bought in bulk from Sam’s Club or fiftyflowers.com. My centerpieces are going to simply be orchids submerged in cylindrical vases, so they should be fairly easy to arrange.
The biggest challenge I have so far is finding affordable but elegant food for an evening reception. We’re considering having a restaurant drop off the entrees and just getting the side stuff like salad and garlic bread from Sam’s as well. We would still have to find someone to set it up and man the buffet station, but we were thinking of craigslist for that.