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Good intentions have a way of making your cheap wedding plans more expensive and with the constant reminders that the world's economies are in a bad way, finding ways to save yourself some money is always good.
Always start by working out what your budget is and then you can get planning
I get lots of emails asking where do you start when you are planning your wedding and lots of you are doing all of this planning by yourself which adds to the stress of it all. But you are not alone, drop me a line on the help page and I will do my best to find the answers for you.
Planning a wedding is all about being organized and also knowing all the bits that you want to have at your wedding and the bits that you want to leave out!
Print my checklist so you can tick off everything you need. There are no dates or timelines in this checklist - that is just going to add to your panic levels if you only have a couple of months and $200 to plan the whole wedding.
Also, if you have loads of time and won't be calm until everything is booked then this checklist will work for you too.
The most important part is to set your date and find your venues for your ceremony and your reception. Try and be a bit flexible as there are some amazing bargains out there if you don't choose popular days and dates.
The biggest cost will be your cheap wedding reception, this takes up on average half of your total budget and whatever your budget that will be a lot of money.
You need to find a cheap venue that you are happy with, it could be as simple as having the reception in a friend's or families' house - there is no way they could charge you any room hire!
Or you could be one of the growing numbers of brides who are turning to the local community center for their reception.
Community centers, working mens' clubs, sports centers are all showing increases in their wedding bookings every year and when you compare prices of just over a hundred for a full days hire plus in some cases the use of a kitchen at no extra cost, with the hundreds if not thousands of a local hotel or even bar just up the road you would be silly not to take a look.
Photo by Chris Phan
You can find all your local clubs by looking in your Yellow Pages, some will have a kitchen, a bar, a stage, a great dance floor and lots of space. Ask when you first phone up to avoid a wasted visit.
When you do visit check the times that the hall would be available as you may want to decorate and set up before hand. It might be worth hiring it for the evening before if there is lots to do and you have an early wedding.
The bar prices in these clubs are normally much less than regular bars in town but if you join as a member to the club you may find that there are even better deals on all the costs.
When you are at the club have a look at areas where you could have your photographs, if the building is more functional than pretty you may want to have all your pictures taken at your ceremony or at a local park close to the venue. Ask your photographer to recommend some locations for you that won't take up lots of time and result in you losing some of your guests!
Many clubs may not feature in your cheap wedding plans due to how they look but take a look, as behind that seventies concrete exterior could be a gem waiting for some wedding celebrations.
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