In my previous blog we talked a bit on where to start with your wedding planning. I think we all know there is a lot in wedding planning and no doubt the costs of planning a wedding can add up.

Previously, we talked a bit on the budget and how important it is. What are you going to do if you have a very small budget?  Many are discouraged and become quickly overwhelmed by their small wedding budget. All the pressure these days to have an extravagant lavish wedding are all too real and costly.

So is there something to be done? Can you really save on your wedding and make it within your budget and still have a tasteful wedding? My answer is yes! And here I will name ten ways this is possible. Combine all ten, and voila... you have a beautifully budgeted gorgeous wedding.

First remember the basics, start with a budget. This is the best way to keep your costs down. Secondly, know what is important to you. What are you willing to spend money on and what are you willing to skimp on? With that little refresher, here are ten easy ways to save:

Have a off-season/off-day Wedding

We all are well aware that in Duluth, MN most weddings take place in the summer and fall.  And why wouldn't they?  It is stinking cold during the nine months of winter around here!  But really, if you want to save, having an off-season wedding is a great way to do it.  The majority of weddings take place from May-October. So, those remaining winter months leave discounts to be had!  Many vendors offer discounts for off-season weddings.  It is revenue they would otherwise not normally have.  Really, is a winter wedding so bad?  Think about it?  A Christmas wedding, New Years, or a beautiful snowy day.  The bride can even wear one of those gorgeous white furry jackets... ooohh lala!  And if all your vendors are cheaper in the winter month, then is it really so bad for a bride to have hot chocolate in a white dress? (Oh a hot chocolate themed wedding...yummy!).

If you're not willing to freeze your white knickers off in the winter for a wedding then think about having a off-day wedding.  Friday and Sunday weddings are discounts to be had.  It is less frequent for all vendors to offer discounts on off-wedding days but they are still out there.  Vendors have twice the amount of money to be made if they are able to book weddings on Friday through Sunday.  If you have a lot of traveling guests it may even be appreciated to attend your Friday, Sunday, or even weekday wedding. Discounts are possible,  just ask!

Have a Destination Wedding

You may say, "What a destination wedding, no way that is cheaper?!"  But in some cases it is true, you can save some dough on your wedding and have an amazing honeymoon all in one trip.  Many destination wedding resorts do all the wedding planning for you, you just have to show up.  If you like to keep it simple, what is more amazing than a destination wedding?  You already have the scenery so saving on the details is easy.

A quick tip on the details though, make sure you will be pleased with them. The photographer there may not be your style. The food may not be to your liking. So just check into it all very well.

If you have family and guests that are willing and happy to travel the decision really can be easy.  Show up with your dress and each other and you have it made.  Get married and run down the beach off to your honeymoon.  In some cases you can also save if you prefer to have your own vendors.  Photography vendors such as myself, who love to travel, may give deep discounts on photography packages in exchange for a paid trip to a beautiful destination.

Have your Wedding and Reception at the Same Location

It is very possible in our gorgeous outdoor locations to have your wedding and reception on the same site.  Instead of paying two places for holding the guests, go with one that can hold both your wedding and reception. Whether you have your wedding outdoors and reception indoors, or have separate rooms for each gathering, you'll be saving on decorations and venue charges.  If you need to use the same space for both, have a fun cocktail hour outdoors or in another room while the reception space is converted after the wedding.

Re-own a Designer Dress

You may think I'm a bit crazy for bringing this up but really it is quite a steal to re-own a designer gown.  Designer wedding dresses can cost in the thousands and if having a gorgeous high fashion gown is important to you, it may be a letdown to know you can't afford it.  But there are thousands of un-worn designer wedding dresses out there for sale at highly discounted rates.  Brides that never had their wedding are dying to get that dress out of their life and into your loving arms.  Check eBay, Google "unworn wedding dresses," and you are sure to find your dream gown in an untouched or gently used condition.  Getting alterations is not difficult, you just have to find your dream gown.  Seriously, I'm not crazy!

Search for Decorations Online

Yet another online way to save is through searching for your decorations online.  Many brides spend hours upon hours putting together their wedding decorations.  When they are done with them and they have no use for them, they are happy to make some of their money back through a cheap sale of pre-made decorations.  Take a look and you may find exactly what you are looking for at half the price. Plus you'll save all that time of assembling yourself. If you can't find what you looking for in the pre-made aisle don't discount looking online still for your supplies. You may be surprised at the cheap rates and wide selection of options.

Make your own Bouquets and Flower Arrangements

I am not typically one to say to not go with a professional, but if your budget is truly tight then sometimes spending a little time making your own flowers is the way to save.  All you need is someone with a little creativity, some floral wire, floral green tape, your flowers of choice, and ribbon. It really can be easy and can be done the day before your wedding in just a few hours. Find your bouquet inspiration and go from there!

Quick tip: research on how to properly store your flowers overnight. Go with a professional florist if you have any doubt.

Serve Cupcakes!

Cupcakes really are all the rage these days.  And without a doubt no one will turn up their nose for you serving cute little cupcakes.  You really can save hundreds by not serving a big wedding cake.  And cupcakes can be made by yourself or friends and family.  Bake the amount of cupcakes needed, whip a little frosting on top, add a little garnish, and you have yourself a money saving treat!

You'll be amazed by the fancy cupcake decorations you'll be able to find to match your wedding decor. Not to mention cupcake stands are everywhere these days. And you can make it into a fun time of decorating with your friends and family before the wedding. Want the traditional cake cutting experience? Order a small cake for just the bride and groom, and serve cupcakes for everyone else!

BBQFTB (BBQ for the Bride)

I touched on this before and some may think it's taboo. But when done right and tastefully a BBQ can really be quite awesome.  Think about it, what do guests always talk about after the wedding, the food right? What better way to control this than serve a tasty BBQ.  How to do this tastefully you ask?  Well, of course it needs to be fresh.  And by fresh I mean right off the grill (or roaster for that matter, who doesn't love a pig or chicken roast?)  Hire a couple friends, or friends of friends to man a few large grills.  Have your guests come and get food hot onto their plate. The guests get choices and hot food on their plate. What's not to love? It is especially great if it fits your wedding theme.  Go with a bulk food store to get your food choices from and you'll save a ton. Chicken, fish, shrimp, steak, kabobs, the options are endless. `Have choices and high class food options and then what you have is... BBQFTB!

Make Your Own Invitations

It is really easy these days to put together a classy, fun wedding invitation. Places to find designer paper and invitation ideas are limitless. Designers today have taken to offering their services online. Take one stop at and you'll never return from the dreamland of wedding ideas and designer invitation templates. All you really need is a great template, your wordings, some paper unique to your wedding theme, and a decent printer. Unless you a computer illiterate, putting together some unique invitations unique to your style is really a synch.

Another quick tip on invitations... using a wedding website is the new RSVP. Save on extra paper, ink, and stamps by having guests RSVP on your personal wedding website. Some venues and many photographers offer a personal website as part of your package. They are also easy and free to set up on many websites.

The Guest List

Nothing can hurt the budget worse than the doomed guest list. If you plan to feed, house, and entertain all those guests it costs a dime or two. Really narrow your guest list down to who can come and who will be understanding if they are not invited. Not everyone has to be invited to the reception. The reception can be just for close friends and family in order to save on high costs. Figure that at least a third of your guest list will not be attending. In all hopes, everyone wishes everyone could come to their wedding. But if your budget is a tight one, consider the guest count.

This post is brought to you by our sponsor and all images copyright LaCoursiere Photography 2011.