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Ways to cut your wedding budget without sacrificing style

(ARA) - Ask any bride, and she'll tell you that her wedding day was one of the happiest days of her life. It's not just a cliche - even those couples who run into some mishaps on the big day look back on it fondly. But perhaps the happiest brides and grooms are those who can look back and say they had a fun-filled day and didn't break the bank.

From the moment you get engaged, it's a good idea to start keeping lists. There are lots of good resources for wedding to-do check lists, from tear-away sheets in magazines to online progress trackers that have everything you need broken down into categories.

One of the most essential lists you'll need to keep is your budget. The costs of a wedding can add up quickly to a staggering figure, and it's easy for many couples to become discouraged by high prices. It really is possible to have a beautiful event that perfectly expresses your style as a couple without spending your way into debt.

Here are some tips and tricks that can help you cut costs and keep the wedding of your dreams within reach.

1. Consider a non-Saturday affair. Friday and Sunday weddings should be considered if you're serious about saving money. You will find that prices are often lower than they would be on Saturdays for everything from DJs to location rental to catering. What's more, you might also discover that service providers can be easier to book because they have more of those days open.

2. Don't go the traditional route for your paper goods. Wedding invitations and the calligraphy that decorates them can be an astronomical expenditure, so get creative and look for resources that can help you cut costs. One great money-saving idea is to look for a digital printing service - 123print.com is a great example - that will print everything to your specifications. You can also use digital printing for matching Save the Date, RSVP cards, menus, programs and more. The quality of digital printing has advanced just like digital photography has - the quality you'll get is the same as offset printing, but for a lower price.

3. Try out your green thumb. Flowers are expensive on their own, but when you add in the cost of a florist's services, the cost takes an Olympic-level high jump. Look into flower wholesalers in your area that can offer you flowers of all kinds at a lower rate, and then assemble your bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages yourself. If you feel unsure about your talents, try taking a class before the big day, or simply experiment at home in the months leading up to the wedding. Some wholesalers will even let you use their space for assembly and hold your flowers in refrigeration until you need them.

4. Go with a non-traditional wedding dress. Non-traditional can mean a lot of things, but what it should mean is lower price. You might something fun and flirty in a department store or see a long, sleek gown in a catalogue - just take your style and apply it to different shopping locations. Another idea that some brides have quietly used: buying a beautifully made bridesmaid's gown in white or ivory. The cost savings can be anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars - all without sacrificing personal style.

5. Drive a hard bargain. If you shop around, you are better armed for a discussion with vendors you want to use. Ask if they will do price matching, or even come down to a level that sits between the sticker price and what you want to pay. They may or may not agree, but the simple act of asking can sometimes open cost-saving doors in unexpected ways. If you can't reach a compromise but still want to use the vendor, you still have that option, as long as you can rearrange expenses to keep it within budget.

Just as it is possible to dress stylishly on a budget every day, it's possible to have a dream wedding for less than you'd expect. For more ideas on how to save some extra money on your wedding invitations, as well as a free wedding checklist, visit 123print.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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