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Big Day, Small(ish) Budget


Stay put: By holding the ceremony and reception at the same site, you’ll save on site fees, flowers and other decorations, transportation, and rentals. And guests will appreciate being spared additional car time.

How does your garden grow? Flowers are one area where you can go cheap without looking like you did: Cut costs by sticking to in‑season blooms if you’re going with a florist, or get creative and hit up the Farmers Market for an abundance of beautiful, locally grown flowers that won’t break the bank. The Mission’s rose gardens are a great find, too: Scoop up the petals on the ground to adorn the aisle.

Nix the open bar: Booze will eat up your budget faster than you can say, “Make it a double!” Instead of having a full bar, decide on one “theme” cocktail, and round it out with beer, wine, soda, and enough champagne for the toasts.

Tables and plates and linens, oh my! If you’re getting married anywhere but a hotel, you’re on the hook for the cost of table linens, plates, silverware, and glasses. And it adds up. If you’re feeling creative, buy bolts of fabric to use for tablecloths, and thrift stores and restaurant supply shops are fantastic for cheap china. The bonus: The costs will be comparable to rentals, but it’s yours to keep.

Music to your ears: A live band really sets you back, budget‑wise. So, if it’s not a huge priority for you, skip it. If you must have a band, try to double‑up, and see if one of the musicians can serenade you during the ceremony, or use prerecorded music for your stroll down the aisle.

A friend in need: If your sister is a pro at applying her makeup, ask her to do yours. If your mom’s best friend is a whiz with hair, why not have her do your ’do? Take people up on their offers to lend a hand.

The list: Cutting back on the guest list is the best way to trim your expenses. Nix colleagues, kids, or the “plus guest” on invites to single friends, and spare them the agony of trying to find a date. This is your wedding, not the prom.

Elope: Just kidding.

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