Pare Down on Paper (where you can). We would never tell you to skip paper invitations. However, you can send guests an online save-the-date through sites like Green Envelope or Paperless Post and save a bundle on postage and paper. The same goes for menus at your reception. Instead of having paper menus at each place setting list your entree choices on an artfully designed chalkboard you can create for a fraction of the printing costs.
Be sure to steer clear of the peak season months. There is a high and low wedding season and then those weeks in between the two. If you plan to get hitched in the shoulder season you will have many of the same prime time advantages without the plush fees.
Think big and small with your centerpieces. Not every detail needs to be created alike. By choosing two flower arrangement sizes and maybe even some non-floral greenery or candle alternative and then stagger them you can create just as much visual impact as if you had large floral arrangements throughout.
Give your rentals a pass. By renting all that tableware, flatware, glassware and linens your bill will really add up. However, if you choose to say "I DO" in a restaurant that already owns everything you can cross that line item off your list!
Make jewelry your something borrowed. Perhaps you don't want to rent your dress or wear a family heirloom such as your mother's or grandmother's dress, but how about the finishing touches? You can deck out your look with rentable diamonds via Adorn or William & Henri. And why not complete the look by adding a clutch from Bag Borrow or Steal, too!
Choose a bridesmaid dress color rather than a universal style or all your lovely ladies. Do them a favor and give your besties a budget break. Design a dress color palette to guide them and then trust them to do the shopping based on what looks amazing on them, and more importantly, what they can afford. They can also save big by having you choose a rental service like Vow To Be Chic or Weddington Way.
Feast like you're among family! If a buffet is too informal and plated meals too luxe, try a serving style in between the two. Caterers can prepare platters that guests can pass around 'family style' with no compromise on the yum factor. Just be sure you' don't fall into the trap of thinking heavy hors d'overs is a more cost effective way to go, either. In many cases it can be as expensive as serving a buffet.
Forget the frosting! While everyone is busy Instagramming your gorgeous naked cake, you can be putting your pennies in the bank. These chic confections can be a sweeter deal because they lack the costly buttercream or fondant finish.
Hold back on the bubbly! Will your wedding be less fun without a champagne toast? Likely not. But if raising a flute to your future is a must, ask servers to pour only a half, rather than the typical three-quarter, glass. Few will notice and those who do can always get a refill. Another way to politely pinch pennies is to throw a Stock the Bar Party. This will help save on the bar bill and ensure that everyone will have their favorites to drink during the festivities.
Mind the minutes on your second shooter. While two is better than one for catching those precious moments it really isn't best for budgeting. Ask if your second shooter can photograph the ceremony but skip the reception to reduce fees. Your guests can make up for it by sharing their fun filled candids on Eversnap or Wedpics.
Postpone your trip. There's no rule you have to leave immediately after your wedding for your honeymoon. Time is money in your pocket! Delay your getaway to take advantage of off travel dates and shoulder season deals that will give you more bang for your buck. Start with Airfare Watchdog which can alert you to price drops to your top destinations. You can also consider registering for gifts, but also for Honeyfund for loved ones to give the gift of travel!