Jan. 24, 2008 -- Weddings can be one of the most joyous times in a person's life, and they can also can be one of the most stressful. Figuring out how to finance the perfect day sometimes requires aerobatic budgeting acts.
Still, there are ways to save without having your ceremony appear cheap. Real Simple magazine recommends six ways you can save time and money on your wedding with the tips below.
Time of the Year
It is more expensive to get married in the summer, and yet about 70 percent of all weddings take place between May and October, with June being the most popular month.
As brides compete for venues and vendors, wedding pros raise prices because they can. Holding your event during the off-season months — like January, February or March — could save up to 50 percent on the very same reception venue.
Also, try skipping Saturday dates in favor of Friday nights or Sundays, when rates are often discounted.
Gift Registry: It's Not Just China and Flatware Anymore
Register for the unexpected. It's not about dinnerware anymore. You can register for big-ticket items, like a couch, at many retailers today. You can also opt for the less traditional route and have guests donate money to your honeymoon.
Through sites like www.felicite.com, guests can contribute whatever amount they would like toward the purchase.
Meet With Vendors
Meet face-to-face with no more than three vendors in each category (catering, music, stationery, cake baking). Meeting more than three vendors per category can prove unmanageable and stressful.
Do your research beforehand by gathering general information about the vendors online and through word of mouth. This way, the interviews are really just about finding your favorite.
Use a Look Book to Find a Dress
When shopping for dresses, hit the stores armed with your own look book, containing magazine tear-outs, photos from friends' weddings, fabric swatches-- anything that helps you communicate your taste to the sales staff.
The more detailed, the better: For example, "I like the neckline of this gown and the skirt from this one." Be completely candid about your budget from the beginning. This way, you won't waste a single moment trying on dresses that you'll never end up buying.
Use Digital Cameras When Dress Shopping
Use digital cameras to snap photos of yourself in serious contender dresses. Then, review them again later.
Also, don't freak out. There's a perfectly good reason why you don't fit into your normal size at the bridal salon. In a cruel twist of fate, wedding gowns tend to run one or two sizes smaller than regular clothing lines. So if you're normally an 8, gear up to try on a 10 or a 12 — no crazy crash diet needed.
Create Big Day Survival Kit
Toss the following items in your bag on the big day to keep wardrobe hiccups from turning into headaches:
A small sewing kit
Hollywood Tape to secure strapless dresses
White chalk for disguising dress stains
A lint brush
White gaffer's tape (available at hardware stores) to patch tears in your dress
White ballet slippers