A dream wedding neednt create a nightmare bill

If you're Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, you can afford a fairy-tale wedding in the Big Apple, and make a few bucks by selling the photography rights, too.

But, if you're not, cost-cutting tips for marrying the person of your dreams may be the most useful advice possible. Start by gathering tips from several expert sources, such as:

*"Bride's Wedding Planner" (a Bride's magazine publication, Fawcett Columbine).

*"Modern Bride Complete Wedding Planner" (John Wiley & Sons).

*"Simplify Your Wedding" by Allana Baroni (Reader's Digest).

*"The Portable Wedding Consultant" by Leah Ingram (Contemporary Books).

*"From Something Old to Something New: A Bride's Guide to Something Unique" by Becky Long (Galaxy Publishing).

First look for these books in your local library, which is the first of many money-saving planning tips. And, don't fail to consider hiring a wedding consultant. It may seem like an additional cost, but these professionals plan weddings for a living, know how to cut costs in your town and have experience working with various providers.

Meanwhile, keep in mind these tips from the authors above to make your wedding day one that won't break your bank account.


*Schedule your wedding for a Friday or Sunday (or even weekday), rather than Saturday, the most popular day for weddings. Many reception sites will offer lower rates on lower peak days.

*University halls, publicly owned buildings or a business-district restaurant on a weekend may be more affordable.

*Limit the number of guests.

*Consider an off-peak wedding month (November through April) and an off-peak time of day (morning vs. evening).

*Have the reception in the same place where you get married — for one fee.

*Limit the reception to three hours instead of the usual four.

Food and drink:

*Serve foods that are in season.

*Cut down on service personnel by having stationary appetizers instead of passed hors d'oeuvres.

*A sit-down dinner may be cheaper than heavy buffets; check with the caterers or providers.

*Call local culinary and cooking schools whose chefs may charge less than those from big-time restaurants or catering establishments.

*Cut back on liquor; serve only wine, beer and champagne.

*Consider serving carafes of wine, which are less expensive than pouring bottles.

*Use a site that allows you to bring in your own food and beverages, which can be less expensive than those offered by a hotel or hall.


*Call an art school's photography department and examine photographic portfolios of students.

*Go with an unedited video. Raw footage will be less expensive than one heavily edited by the videographer.


*Form flower bouquets with large flowers; you'll need fewer.

*Have bridesmaids' bouquets double as table centerpieces.

*Some brides have shared costs of flowers for decorating the house of worship if they marry there on the same day. If a bar or bat mitzvah will be held the weekend of your wedding, often the flowers on the bimah can be used again, with a little freshening.


*Compare costs of the disc jockey vs. a live band; a DJ is usually less expensive.

*Ask talented friends to perform.