You don't have to break the bank on your big day. Planning a budget wedding can be easy when you take advantage of all of the sources of inspiration and ideas available online. Here are some ways the Web can help you put together a tasteful day you and your fiancée will never forget.
1. Balance your budget
The average wedding costs upwards of $21,000 depending on where you live. So if you know that you can only spend a fraction of that figure, it's especially helpful to visualize your spending priorities. Check out the Web-based budget calculator on www.marthastewartweddings.com. You have to register on the site to use this free tool. Once you enter your proposed budget, the calculator will create a line item plan for you with estimated costs based on wedding industry averages. And once you hire a florist or order your dress, it will remind you when payments are due and other deadlines.
2. Go DIY
If you have a flair for crafts, there are lots of places across the Web to find inspiration for everything from do-it-yourself centerpieces to party favors. eHow, marthastewartweddings.com, DIY Network, The Knot and Wedding Bee are just some of the sites that offer extensive sections on how to make you own floral arrangements, place cards, wedding programs, etc. Remember that DIY doesn't necessarily cost less money. Make sure you are realistic about how much you will spend on the materials for your project…and the time commitment to make each one.
3. Go Paperless
I had the pleasure of asking Martha Stewart what she thinks about sending wedding invitations and save the dates by email, (Check out the video player) and the wedding tastemaker says go for it. By sending email invites, you can really save some cash…and trees. And if Martha says it's appropriate, then why not? You might even want to consider digital thank you's, as well. Snap a photo of you and your new partner opening each gift and post it with a nice note on Flickr or Facebook for a modern twist on showing your appreciation.
4. Tap Your Friends
Trade the professional photographer and/or videographer for help from your guests. Ask your family and friends to take the photos and record the ceremony. Then send everyone to a photo sharing site where they can upload the memories from your celebration. You'll have some great shots, from a variety of angles to select for your album and guests will have their pick of the best images of the day, too.
5. Bid on the Bridal Gown
…Or anything else you might want or need for the big day by doing a little online negotiating. Check out the listings on PreOwnedWeddingDress.com, where you can make an offer on a worn-once designer wedding gown. Or scan the classifieds on WeddingBee, The Knot or Craig's List or even Freecycle for leftover party favors, candles, rehearsal dinner invites - even flower vases and cake pans. The Web makes it easy to connect with like-minded brides and grooms who don't want the special touches from their weddings to go to waste.
Do you have any online tips on how you've been able to save money on your wedding?