Save Big Without Skimping

Continued (page 2 of 4)

11. Skip the inner envelope. This is a tradition but certainly not a necessity-it costs extra and may even add more to each invite's postage.

12. Use nonfloral fillers. Mix fruit with flowers to create a beautiful centerpiece for half the price of a flowers-only design. Or ask for extra greenery to fill out the arrangement at a lower cost.

13. Be choosy. For a destination wedding, select a hotel with an on-site wedding coordinator so you don't have to pay for an independent planner. Also, choosing an all-inclusive resort can save cash; if there's a reception fee, it tends to be small.

14. Throw a brunch (or lunch) bash. You'll save on the food (breakfast and lunch entrées are cheaper), the bar (daytime tabs tend to be much smaller) and possibly even the fee for the space.

15. Browse sample sales. Twice a year, many bridal salons sell samples of the dresses they carry at a significant discount. You could land a bargain (but first find out what dry cleaning and alterations might cost, so you can take that into account before your purchase).

16. Pare down ceremony decor. Guests will see these flowers for only an hour or two, so stick with the basics. Consider placing one or two big arrangements up front, where all eyes will be, and leaving the rest of the room decorated very simply.

17. Authorize a market buy. Instead of specifying the blooms you want for your wedding, ask your florist to choose the best bargains available in your color scheme on your big day.

18. Eliminate waiting fees. Hire one car to get you and your groom to and from the ceremony, and then another for the end of the night. Often, you'll end up paying less for two cars than for one limo with overtime charges.

19. Have dual-function flowers. Certain types of bouquets, most notably pomanders and nosegays, can surreptitiously be used twice. After they are carried down the aisle by your bridesmaids, they can be placed in vases to grace guests' tables.

20. Cut out a course. If you serve heavy hors d'oeuvres during the cocktail hour, you can get by with a simple soup or salad, followed by a main course and dessert (or just wedding cake) for the meal.

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