Do not underestimate the impact of time on your wedding—your time, as well as that of your helpers and vendors. Just like money, there is a finite amount of time that must be spent wisely.
1. Consider “opportunity cost” before deciding to spend your time on a particular activity, thus giving up the chance to do something else. It’s tempting to overextend yourself to save money, but in the end it’s likely to cost more in terms of money and sanity.
2. Get organized from the start. With your game plan already laid out, you can work much more efficiently and make better decisions along the wedding planning path. (Get my Wedding Planning Cheat Sheet here.)
3. Be truly interested in working together with your vendors—given your preferences, budget, and priorities—to find the best solution for each of you. Work as a team, and you will be more efficient and get more accomplished in less time.
4. Assign tasks according to creative strengths. Your helpers will better enjoy the task and you will better enjoy the results.
Understand the value of a wedding planner and consider hiring one to help …
5. Consult a wedding planner. A good wedding planner knows the local wedding industry and can give you advice and guide you through the areas you are most unsure about.
6. Hire a planner to handle choice aspects of your wedding. While you can certainly hire a planner to handle everything between your engagement and honeymoon, some will, if you choose, also plan only certain parts of the wedding, such as handling all the details related to your out-of-town guests or managing vendor communications.
7. Hire a “day of” coordinator. Doing it all yourself on the day of the wedding is like directing and starring in your own production. It’s doable, for sure, but it is a lot more work and likely to be less than dreamy.
8. Ask potential venues: Do you do the breakdown and clean up or do I?
9. Ask potential venues: Is there a time limit, and what is the cost of exceeding it?
10. Have the ceremony and reception at the same location. This saves coordinating and travel time between two venues.
11. If your wedding is small and intimate, consider a restaurant for your reception with a sit-down dinner served in courses. With few guests, your overall budget can survive the higher per-person cost. Plus, the restaurant will handle everything related to table settings, food, and service. And, depending on the restaurant, decorating needs may be minimal.
12. Give yourself more time by using synthetic flowers.
13. Make sure you give the florist plenty of time to order in flowers. Last minute means more money.
14. Opt for simple arrangements, such as hand-tied bouquets rather than wired-and-wrapped designs, to save on labor.
15. Put together a list of the most important group photos and get those taken first.
16. Have a detailed timeline and distribute it to each participant so everyone knows when to be where.
17. Schedule the critical parts of the reception early in the event, and have the photographer and videographer leave when those are complete.
18. Give yourself plenty of time to find the beauty professionals that are right for you.
19. Make only the items you can effectively create, and buy the rest. You may find a few more dollars to purchase the finished item has more overall value than going through extended learning curves to make it.
20. Practice relaxation techniques to calm your mind, thus becoming more efficient.
21. Avoid major alterations to your wedding dress by carefully measuring and considering a corset gown (which is more flexible when it comes to size).
22. Use linens available through your venue to avoid taking time to source them separately.
23. If you choose to make wedding party gifts, begin far enough ahead of time to put thought and love into the process. Your attendants will be much more appreciative and have fonder memories of your big day.
The above is based on an excerpt from the Dream Wedding on a Dime; 7 Secrets for the Budget-Savvy Bride ebook.