1. When looking for locations, create a comparison chart to track what’s included in the price you’re quoted, suggests Lynda Barness of I Do Wedding Consulting in Philadelphia. “Some places claim to include everything, but then leave out the cake and the linens.”
Determine your budget and prioritize. A rule of thumb: Food, beverage and venue should be about half of your budget.
Many public spaces are available for small rental fees, but they need to be equipped to handle a big event. If you have to rent everything, from tables to napkins, you may blow your budget.
Book one location for your ceremony and reception. You won’t have to pay multiple site fees, plus there’s no need for transportation between each one.
Belong to the military or a community organization? You may have access to your group’s venue.
Many colleges offer beautiful, reasonably priced spots for students and alumni to tie the knot. Find out if this is a viable option for your event.
“Most places charge a premium for Saturday night,” says Harris Lane of Hank Lane Music in New York City. “Try an afternoon wedding, or a Friday- or Sunday-night event.”
Plan an intimate Sunday brunch. A morning ceremony, followed by an early-afternoon meal, is likely to be easier on the wallet, says Filomena Lombardi, co-owner of the caterers Villa Lombardi’s and Lombardi’s on the Sound in Long Island, New York.
Time is of the essence. Schedule a three-hour event instead of a five-hour one. (People will still have fun!)
Prune your guest list. Since so many wedding elements are charged on a per-person basis, aiming for fewer can save you big.
Avoid overage fees from limo drivers, photographers and other pros by sticking to a prearranged schedule, no matter how tempting it may be to throw caution to the winds.