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By NICOLE WILLIAMS

WEDDINGS are expensive and there is no getting around it.
As a bride on a budget, I have sought out countless blogs and articles with tips for how to save money on your wedding but they all say the same thing – cut numbers, have a wedding off-season, etc.
All the tips are great but it’s just not always possible.
From my own wedding planning experience, sometimes you have to think outside the box.
If you are willing to compromise a little bit huge savings can be made.
Here is what I have learnt.

Prioritise
The first and most important thing is sit down and work out your wedding priorities with your fiancé.
Do you want an expensive designer dress or the perfect reception with all the bells and whistles?
The easiest way to keep everything in check is to make a list in order of your priorities and when budgeting, try to make sure the amounts you are paying are in line with your priorities.
For example, you don’t want to end up spending $3000 on a dress if you have listed your top priorities as location and decorations.
After careful consideration, I chose two priorities – the reception and the photographer – everything (and I mean everything) else is on a budget.

Use who you know
Sit down with your fiancé and family and think hard!
It is likely you know someone who can help you out.
You can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars, by thinking about who can help you with your wedding essentials.
It doesn’t have to be a professional – someone with a knack for hair and make-up or an eye for a good photo can be all you need if you are willing to compromise.
These are just a few ideas:
Cake – someone who has done a cake decorating course or has talent for baking.
Cars – a friend with a nice car or member of a car club.
Stationery – a graphic designer.
Photos – someone with a good camera or ask your guests to tag your photos on social media.
Location – a family member with a big backyard or a contact at a venue.
Hair/make-up – a beauty student.
Decorations – just ask and most people will be more than happy to keep their eyes out for decorations in the lead up to the big day.
A recent wedding in the family or friendship circle can also be very useful for borrowing decorations or unused items.
The options are endless!

Always ask
It is an obvious one but often over looked for fear of appearing rude – simply ask if someone can do a better deal.
Some providers are more than happy to offer a discount for paying cash or can suggest a cheaper alternative (there is that dreaded off-season advice again).
Florists may be able to suggest similar but cheaper flowers or the caterer may suggest share platters rather than an alternate main course menu.
Remember the providers have been involved in many more weddings than you and know some tricks and tips you have never even considered.
Taking some advice could save you in the long run.

’The’ dress
Here is the really important thing!
When it comes to the dress, there are always options – even if you have your heart set on a particular dress, style or designer.
Some bridal shops have outlets where out of season or slightly damaged dresses are on sale at huge savings.
Really think about whether anyone is going to know if you’re wearing a dress that is one or two seasons out of date, with a small tear amongst mountains of fabric or with make-up/fake tan stains on the inside.
It is a small compromise for a huge saving.
A second option for dream dress savings it to have it made.
There are plenty of dressmakers on websites like etsy or ebay who are willing to make a custom dress or if you ask around, you’ll be surprised how many people know a cheap but fantastic dressmaker.
Whatever you choose, the happy glow surrounding you on your big day will make anything look beautiful!

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