10 Simple and Eco-Friendly Wedding Cost-Cutters

From how to save on your wedding cake to picking the right season, take a cue from Green Bride Guide

Linens and Silk Weddings
These tips will help you plan your big day and cut back on funds.

These green wedding tips are hassle-free, common sense, and reduce the environmental impact on your wedding.

They also save you a little green in the process, too.

1. Pick the Perfect Off-Season: If your vacation schedule permits, consider taking your honeymoon during one of the "shoulder" weeks, the few weeks right before and right after the peak season for your destination. The weather will be similar to the peak season, but you will not have to fight through the crowds to enjoy it. According to Smarter Travel (smartertravel.com), choosing a shoulder week can also cut 40 percent off the price of your trip.

2. Rent-a-Suit: You can rent a tuxedo for as little as $50, and there are often specials for the groom if the other members of a bridal party rent from the same vendor. Most tuxedo shops also rent suits and accessories. Because tuxedo rentals are so common, it is usually easy to find a local vendor to work with. Check the yellow pages for listings and prices. The internet is also a good tool for specialty rentals, like kilts.

3. Slice This: Like corkage fees that some restaurants charge when you bring your own wine, some reception sites will have a per-person "cutting fee" if you bring your own cake or cakes. Be sure to ask about this before you sign a contract. You may be able to negotiate it away if they are not able to provide you with organic or vegan options.

4. Get the Most Out of Your Dress: If you cannot find a dress that was previously worn, consider buying a dress that you can wear again. See if you can find a dress with a detachable train or one that can be hemmed below the knee and still look good. This will allow you to reinvent your gown after the wedding into something you can enjoy again and again.

5. Have a Small(er) Wedding: The size of your wedding is the most influential factor affecting both the cost and the sustainability of your wedding. Generally speaking, the smaller the wedding, the less expensive it will be and the less environmental impact it will have. A fifty-person wedding at $100 a head is $5,000. A two-hundred-person wedding at the same location is $20,000 and has roughly four times the environmental impact.

6. Two-in-One: If you find a ring you love or get a band with inlaid stones, consider letting your engagement ring do double duty as a wedding band and save thousands of dollars. If you later decide that you want a second ring, you can always get one as an anniversary present. In the meantime, you can feel good knowing that you have decreased your environmental footprint and can use the money for your honeymoon or as a down payment on your first house.

7. Last Call for Alcohol: The amount of alcohol that you need at a wedding can vary significantly. Generally speaking, daytime receptions require less alcohol than nighttime events, and younger crowds drink more than older crowds. You know your guests best, so you will be the best judge of how much (and what) they are likely to drink. A general rule of thumb is to provide your guests with one drink per person per hour--or four to five drinks per person for an evening affair.

8. Flowers for Every Other Row: According to the Wedding Report, the average couple spends about 65 percent of the flower budget ($1,300) on flowers for the reception. Instead of putting a floral arrangement at the end of every row or pew, place them on alternate rows. You will get the same effect for half the cost. See if you can recycle the plant material you already have. Can your aisle decorations become decorations for the tables at the reception? Can you reuse the flowers from the rehearsal dinner for the reception or a brunch? Every time you can make a flower do double duty, you save money and resources.

9. Cut Costs on Air Travel: When booking air travel, stay over on a Saturday night to yield cheaper fares. Similarly, use search engines like Kayak.com and Cheaptickets.com to search nearby airports, which can halve the cost of your trip. One easy way to get the most bang for your buck is to pay for absolutely everything you can with a credit car that earns flyer miles.

10. The Photographer Has Left the Building: Most photographers and videographers work on an hourly basis. You can save money by scheduling the toasts, cake cutting, first dance, and other must-have-documented moments immediately after dinner so the photographer and/or videographer does not have to stay until the end of the party.

For more money saving green tips check out The Green Bride Guide: How to Create an Earth-Friendly Wedding on Any Budget

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