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How to Make "Less is More" Works in Wedding Planning

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Adapted from original article 15 Wedding Details You Don't Need to Worry About by Denise Schipani.

1. The Wedding Guest List

- The guest list's size is the biggest determinant of your total wedding cost, so keeping expenses trim is of the utmost importance.

- Your best bet to tighten your list is to make some wedding invitation list rules (for you, your fiancé and both families) and stick to them, i.e., first cousins, but not second. Spouses and live-in or serious partners, but not random dates. Your boss, but not your whole office. Don't split up groups, if you can invite your office gang, great. But if you can't, don't just invite one of them.

2. The Wedding Flowers

- You don't need to fill every corner of your venue with flowers for a lovely look. Work with your wedding florist to use the freshest, most in-season blooms to their strategic advantage, then fill in the rest of the decor with budget-friendly candles or greenery.

- If you just adore flowers, check out botanical gardens in your area, you'll have a bounteous backdrop of blooms at your disposal.

3. The Wedding Reception Cocktail Hour

- Keep it short and sweet. This ensures that you'll need less food. Have your hors d'oeuvres hand-passed instead of having stations. This limits the amount of food you'll need.

- Stick with just enough food to keep guests from getting too tipsy too early in the evening. A pretty display of cheese, fruit and crackers will do just fine.

4. The Wedding Reception Dessert Table

- Unless you're having a dessert reception, you don't need to go overboard on sweets.

5. The Drinks

- Feel free to skip the champagne toast. It's no longer considered a must-do at weddings. Simply toast with whatever wine you already have on the table.

- Work with your reception site or caterer to create a bar you can afford, whether that means offering only beer, wine, water and soft drinks; a signature drink at the cocktail hour and red and white wines with dinner; or less-expensive liquors for mixed drinks rather than pricey brand names.

- Keep mixed drinks as simple as possible: The more varieties of liquor that are involved in assembling the drink, the more you will pay.

- Instruct the wait staff not to automatically top off guests' wineglasses.

- Arrange to have your bar closed an hour before the end of the party.

6. The Five-Course Wedding Reception Meal

- If you're looking to cut costs, eliminate one course in the meal, and just serve an appetizer and an entrée. You can also stick to offering one or two choices for the entrée.

- Once you find a caterer that you really trust, you can work with him to find the most economical options. Rest assured quality always trumps quantity.

7. The Wedding Invitations

- If you're a DIY-er (or if you know someone who is), design and make your own wedding invitations by hand or on a high-quality computer printer. Some calligraphic fonts are so good that it's really hard to tell they're not done by hand.

8. The Wedding Cake

- Options: Serves a smaller, tiered display cake and supplementing with a sheet cake brought out from the kitchen after the official cake cutting; doing less-pricey cupcakes in your wedding colors; or choosing less exotic fillings and less elaborate sugar paste designs.

- Consider decorating the confection with fresh flowers instead of sugar paste, as they cost less but give a luxe look.

- Instead of a specialty baker, hire a local one to make your cake more affordable and guests will be just as happy!

9. The Transportation

- Ask your limo company about wedding packages—they might have just the right one for you.

10. Wedding Favors

- Unless the favor is food like some nice chocolates the guests can eat right then — it's a wedding expense you can forgo.

- You can write an adorable note to each guest or something charity deeds, in which you let them know you've donated in their honor.

11. The Wedding Reception Venue

- Be honest about your budget, and ask, "What can you do for me with this amount?" "I see this is your lowest package price. Can you do a little better?"

- Even if negotiating doesn't get you a drastic cost reduction, you may get some extras thrown in (like trays of cookies for the tables, or top-shelf liquor for the price of generic brands).

12. The Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

- You need not make the rehearsal dinner a mini wedding by booking an expensive restaurant or another catering place.

- Do something casual, like a backyard barbecue. Or ask your wedding caterer if he or she is willing to cater it in a private home for a lower fee, as part of your wedding package.

13. The Linens

- On an unlimited budget, specialty linens add sparkle and a special touch. But the standard white or off-white table coverings included at most reception sites have kept their classic good looks! Perk up the tables with napkins tied with ribbons or rent stylish napkin rings.

14. Wedding Shoes

- Focus your energy, your worries and your money on your dress — not your wedding shoes.

- Why spend hundreds of dollars on footwear you'll wear for a single day? Seriously, if you have a gorgeous gown, an amazing hairstyle and a flawless face, no one is going to be examining what's going on below your ankles.

- Find inexpensive (but comfortable) wedding shoes that complement your bridal gown, and leave it at that.

15. The Impression

- Too many couples think it's their obligation to dazzle their friends at their wedding with every extra on the books. But all guests really want is to feel taken care of and special, which you can do in little ways.

- For example, be sure your wedding has good "flow", without an uncomfortable time gap between ceremony and reception. Be sure your traveling guests have little amenities in their rooms, and that older guests don't have far to walk.

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Sounds very practical and sensible. Now it's not the time to fret but to make "less is more" works and works well it shall be. :)

If you wish, follow updates about my wedding adventures here. ;)

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