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Any cheap wedding and reception ideas?

I just got engaged and I find myself lost on planning a "cheap" wedding and reception. I have thought about just getting married at the court house and having a big reception to keep costs down. My guy and I have been together for 7 years and we have 4 children so we need to save as much money as possible, any suggestions????

Details:

  1. Outdoor weddings save you on venue costs. Think about having the wedding in someone's backyard, on the beach or in a park. Then you could follow the wedding with a potluck or catered buffet. Can you keep the guest list small? That's the first (not always the best) way to cut costs. Good luck!
  2. You could make your own favours. e.g a cupcake for each person in a box with a bow. Theres also some good tips here: http://weddings.about.com/od/weddingplanningtools/tp/Costcutters.htm
  3. For a dress try Davids Bridal, they have great sales. Try to keep your guest list, and bridal party size down. You could have a morning ceremony and then have a brunch for the reception, or you could have each guest bring their own dish to the reception. Leave out alcohol, you don't need alcohol to have a good time, and it really saves money. Look into making your own centerpieces/bouquets, etc. Have a home-made cake, or make cute cupcakes that are shaped like a cake! You could also look into hiring someone who makes cakes from their home, but is still certified, they always have great deals because they are home based and trying to get their name out there. (Ex- I hired my friends mother to make my wedding cake, She is servsafe certified and only charging me $180 for a cake that should be $1,000) There are so many ways you could save on your wedding! This website might help you better. http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/wedding-budget.aspx Good Luck!
  4. The smaller the guest list, the more you'll save. Also, if you can do a lunch reception, that cuts cost almost in half at a lot of places. If you do a cocktail type reception with just a bunch of different cocktails and no dinner, that also saves money.
  5. ways to have a beautiful cheap wedding: -if you are using your kids, they dont have to wear tux esp if they are young. nice kackis and jacket would be perfect. -have and outside wedding. it can be on the beach, in your back yard, and if you are a member of a church, you could have it there. normally churches dont charge if you are a member. -instead of having a full course meal at the recpetion, have finger foods such as chicken fingers, bbq weenies, chips/dip, fruit/veggie trays...etc -be simple with the decorations. flowers will be the most expensive item. ex, your bridesmaids dont have to carry a big boquet, they can carry one flower itself. -ask a close friend/family member to do the pictures and video. -Do your own favors. -do your own, hair and make-up. -for a dress, shop around and do your research. find the best price. Look around on ebay or craigslist to see if you can find one. alot of people wear flip flops, flats, or sneakers with their dresses, some even go barefoot. -try to keep your guest list to imediate family members and close friends then add people as you can afford it. google helps everything! :)