Flowers: Use your centerpiece flowers for the ceremony area. A great way to do this is to have different vases so it gives the illusion that they’re not the same. You can have your florist put the flowers in one of those green oasis’s and that will make it easily transportable from one vase to another.
Another option is not even using flowers for centerpieces. You can use different leveled candles or candle holders. There’s so many choices! It just depends on your theme and colors. If you want some suggestions, let me know what your theme is. Especially if it’s anything vintage…I have a TON of ideas.
Cake: Have your baker make part of your cake fake. Just leave one layer or one side real for when you and your fiance cut the cake for pictures. If you’re having cake, just have cake sheets ready to go.
Invitations: Try doing it yourself. Fortunately, I was able to get 3 4X6 matted cards for a total of .66 for each set! I got it through a commercial printer who happened to do wedding invitations on the side. I’m going to assemble the rest myself. You can also get free sample paper through http://www.neenah.com
Bridesmaids Dresses: I got mines for less then $50 each at the limited. Check out http://www.modcloth.com, http://www.ruche.com, http://www.forever21.com, http://www.h&m.com, http://www.lulus.com.
Wedding Dress: DON’T get your dress at an American bridal boutique. Most of the time they’ll overprice their dresses and charge you an arm and a leg for alterations. Try finding a non-American bridal store. Most of these places will bargain down the price for you. Plus, a lot of them may give you free alterations, rental veil and jewelery for free. (that’s what I ended up getting). Just make sure to check the store reviews through yelp before purchasing. Also, if you tell them that you found the same dress for a lower price at another store…they will usually cut the cost or throw in something to get your business.
Playing the Waiting Game: Sometimes if you wait a little longer to book something…vendors may give you a lower price. For example, my cousin was debating between two venues and they kept calling him and giving him a lower price because they waited. Of course, you’re playing a gamble.
Get to Know People: It never hurts to meet someone new. You never know who you come across or who your friends know. My co-worker knew a someone who does baking cakes on the side…and I’m getting my 3 tiered cake (partially fake) for less then $200. Originally I was going to go with another bakery and they were going to charge me $600. blehh…
Don’t Make any Impulsive Moves: The best thing you can do for yourself is to shop around. Fortunately I have that luxury because I currently work part time. There are SOOOO many options out there. Especially since you live near NY, you definitely have that access. Make sure to ask family and friends if they know anyone who does anything wedding related. Most importantly, before making any big decisions…sleep on it.