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Everyone wants to come under budget for their wedding day. Sometimes, the choices couples make to experience big wedding savings result in epic fails – awful (or worse, dead!) DIY floral arrangements, starving guests, or running out of alcohol. Here’s ways to avoid these pitfalls and still save on your wedding.

Choose Hard Goods over Florals for Decor

Nothing can compare to flowers for beautiful centerpieces, ceremony arches, and other decor. However, if you’re on a tight budget, consider buying what we call “hard goods”- decorative items that can be used in place of live flowers. For example, a trio of Moroccan lanterns on a table looks elegant and stylish, and they can be reused at your home or apartment (especially on a patio – picture a gorgeous outdoor dinner party with these!).

Moroccan style lanterns for wedding decor

Important: If you want bouquets for your bridesmaids, do order these from a pro. They’ll look gorgeous, stay fresh, and you can save your bridal bouquet as a loving reminder of the day. A friend or relative can pick them up to save on delivery fees.

Avoid Food Stations

Food stations became popular in recent years for weddings, but they’re not very conducive to a typical wedding reception. First, stations give a lot of choice to guests, so they can sample from each one as they please, compared to a manned buffet or plated meals where food is controlled. Thus, caterers must overbuy food, and labor wise, each station needs at least one staffer to monitor, and another to run to the kitchen and get more food. These costs add up, fast. To achieve big wedding savings on catering, look into buffet or plated options instead of stations.

Important: Do not skimp on appetizers for cocktail hour. If guests have no food while they drink pre-dinner, they’ll get very drunk – not a good way to start the party!

Consider a Buy-Back Alcohol Service

Working with a venue where you can BYOB is a great way to save big on your wedding. But you may be tempted to underbuy to save money, and the next thing you know your guests are anxious because you’ve run out of alcohol. Many stores do not take alcohol returns depending on state laws.

There’s an easy fix: Work with a bar service that provides licensed, professional bartenders and alcohol – and buys back whatever is left over. This is a clever turnkey service that ensures no waste. You get to keep the partially used bottles (yay!) and the service credits you a refund on the rest.

Keep your Priorities Consistent

Most important, understand what your priorities are, and don’t veer from them as you plan your wedding. If you’re an amateur mixologist but you don’t care so much for the decor, spend less on the centerpieces, and invest more in the bar. Make sure your wedding represents you both as a couple, and spend accordingly.