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Bridal Basics

You can have your dream wedding on a budget

February 24, 2013
By SHAUNNA DUNDER HERSHBERGER - Lifestyles Editor ( , Times Leader

After the happy couple announces their engagement, usually the first things that pop into their heads are, "What do we wear?", "Who do we ask to be attendants?", "What colors do we like?," or "Where do we want to have the ceremony?" While these are all questions that need answered, probably the most important question might not get asked until it's too late: "How much can we spend?"

Most couples pay for their own weddings - long gone are the days when mom and dad foot the entire bill. And while mom and dad and family members can still help with some of the costs, the bulk of the bill will settle on the bride and groom. Developing a budget up front can be a lifesaver - not only will it help keep you in line during the planning, but it will also help eliminate massive debt and financial burdens after the wedding - and no couple wants to start off their life together arguing about money.

According to the website, the average cost of a wedding in Belmont County runs anywhere from $16,000 to $27,000, based on the number of guests between 128-148. While this is just the average, many couples like to shoot for the lower end of that number, but it's really easy to overspend, especially if you don't sit down and plan out a budget first.

First, make a list of your necessary expenses like dress, tux, church and reception hall, food, flowers, etc. Then decide the maximum amount you want to spend on each. You might think that it's impossible to avoid these costs, but there are ways to save money even on the necessary expenses.

For example, simply having your wedding in the off-season and not on a Saturday can save you a lot of money. Venues tend to charge premium prices for Saturday night wedding receptions, so having a reception on a Friday can make a big difference in your bill. In addition, if your religious preferences don't dictate having your wedding in a church, consider holding the wedding and reception at the same place. Not only will this cut travel time for your vendors, but it will also help your guests save some gas money too!

Trimming your guest list is probably the best way to cut back on expenses. This can be hard for some with large families, and it's not always possible to have adult-only receptions, so the bride and groom usually have to make some tough decisions. As a rule of thumb, if you're trying to save money and keep the guest list small, stick to close friends and family and don't add "and guest" to your invitations.

There are other tips and tricks you can incorporate as well, like choosing flowers that are in season and using more greenery and non-florals, like lanterns. You can use bigger tables at your reception to cut down on the number of centerpieces and table decorations. You can also reuse your ceremony flowers to decorate your head table or decorate the cake table.

Weddings just don't cost the bride and groom money. The bridal party also incurs expenses such as dresses, showers or bachelor parties, and gas money associated with travel.

This bridal guide will help provide tips for couples planning a wedding and those participating in it to keep within their budgets. Whatever your budget, we hope that we can give you plenty of ideas for planning the wedding of your dreams.



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