Planning a big wedding on a small budget

By on February 2, 2014


By: Marina Radovanovic

When a “big wedding” is thought of or mentioned, numerous images appear to mind. The first being an enormous wedding party, and the second is dollar signs…everywhere! Did you know that the average wedding (in Canada) costs  $25,000 to $30,000?

Here’s how to keep the costs under control and still have the day of your dreams.

The venue

Wedding-VenueOutdoor weddings are huge these days! Some people prefer the great outdoors to capture the essence of two people uniting in love and life. Even if the actual wedding ceremony is not held outdoors, a reception outdoors may be favourable due to the beautiful scenery, and the unlimited sources of decorating options (granted the weather is on your side!).

For this instance, let us imagine a quaint wedding with a guest list that isn’t too large, and how a couple may create their own “unique” venue at pocket-friendly prices!

If you are going to be having a “quaint” wedding with a limited guest list and want to create a venue that is “unique” to your taste, it can be rather simple! but it does take a lot of planning, and a few notebooks and pens! If you have bridesmaids, have them help out with the list, sorting, planning and scheduling. If you opted to omit bridesmaids, your family, maid of honour and best man can easily accommodate you.

A lot of fun can be had in the entire “planning process”! All it takes is organization – yes organization is the “key” to a successful and beautiful wedding!

The dress


Wedding gowns can be astronomically pricey these days, but no need to despair! There are amazing bridal boutiques that offer simply gorgeous gowns and ¼ of or less of the price than big city boutiques! These quaint boutiques one can find either through word of mouth, exploring the internet (ordering and visiting stores way ahead of time), and finding the perfect gown that suits the bride. If a gown is found early, there is always time to make alterations, add extras such as: material (train), sequence or pearls, and if you know anyone that is handy with the sewing machine – all the better! When you factor in cost of alterations vs. huge price tag wedding gowns: the results can be overwhelming!

These days; gowns have evolved to such a degree that practically “anything goes,” that would include colour, style and fabric. The choices are tremendous – just make sure the search begins much earlier, so that there are plenty of options available.

Photography and video

It goes without saying that this factor is very important – capturing that special day in photos and video. If you know somebody who is exceptional with photography; consider yourself lucky! This aspect (along with the gown) is two important matters for the “big” day!

More useful tips & tricks:

*Create your own table centre pieces. It’s a lot easier than you think! You can purchase large glass bowls or vases and literally fill them with anything; water with colourful beads/gems at the bottom and floating candles, or in lieu of candles and flowers – I’ve even seen people have one or two exotic fishes floating around. If you want height,  use branches and spray paint in them in a colour of your choice. Add a few flowers, interspersed among the branches along with some beautiful ribbon and voila!

*Lighting: I simply can’t over emphasize the importance of lighting. It is the greatest feature to any venue. If your setting is elaborate and elegant, bad lighting will negate the effect! Make sure that the lighting in the banquet room, house or even outdoors is adequate and properly working! Focus on the main themes: the wedding table, entry, special décor you might have included such as ice sculptures, and the guest table’s centre pieces (if deems appropriate), and the wedding cake. Candles are a great way to add warmth (but make certain they are placed where they can’t be easily knocked over). Warm, soft and creatively placed lighting makes a huge difference; regardless of the location of the venue!

*Linens: Very, very important! Make sure your linens are perfect and suitable to your colour scheme. It isn’t costly to rent linens that are freshly washed and crisply ironed. Often, you will find that these providers have various colours, and toppers; so that it looks perfect and matches your taste.

*If you can’t afford to rent chair covers, there’s no need to panic! You can always find large ribbon rolls at inexpensive retailers, and have your family and friends wrap the chairs elegantly ending with a bow at the side of the chair or back of the chair. If you feel the chairs are perfect as they are, then add a vine of greenery around the sides with some flowers (artificial of course), or a bow tied on here and there!

*Catering: Food is always one thing everybody remembers! If you’re hiring a caterer, be certain that it’s through word-of-mouth, or a company that you had the opportunity to sample yourself. If you have a large family and group of friends that are impeccable with a spatula and can whip up tasty and great looking food – go for it!

*Entertainment: You can opt to hire a band or a DJ, or have a person/friend create a song list for you. The options are unlimited, and you can have a lot of fun creating your special song list!

*Wedding favours: Gone are the days of candy covered almonds! Nowadays, people like to incorporate these traditional favours into contemporary items by exploring the options using their own creativity.

The best advice I can give is to plan, plan, plan and have everybody pitch in! You can make your extra special event beautiful, elegant or simple (according to your tastes), and throw a little pre-wedding party with family and friends to gracefully introduce their tasks and get them on board with the happy work ahead!

Congratulations, and happy planning!

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