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Wedding guests applauding newlyweds

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Eva Marcille’s nuptials were the highlight of season 11 of the Real Housewives of Atlanta. She had a super extravagant wedding that cost her an arm, a leg, and half her soul. I’m certain that Porsha Williams is going to do something just as glamorous for her big day as well. Although most brides aren’t pulling down Bravo housewife money, they can still have the wedding they want. Here are a few simple solutions for having the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank.

1. Decorate with Fake Flowers
Most wedding etiquette experts will tell you that getting fake flowers is a tacky move. Most brides will tell you that getting real flowers was a pretty big waste of money. Split the difference by getting real flowers for the wedding party, and buy fake flowers to decorate everything else.

2. Amazon Is Your Friend
There’s nothing you can’t find on Amazon, including the components of your wedding backdrop. You can also pick up cake toppers, wedding shoes, bridal party gifts, and other perfect touches for less than you would pay at a craft store or bridal boutique. It also arrives quickly and Amazon usually offers a painless return policy if you’re not happy with your purchase. Just make sure to do you research before buying anything. Just because Amazon has it doesn’t always mean they can guarantee the quality.

3. Find Your Dress Online
We have all seen the dress disasters that knockoff suppliers have delivered, but don’t let that scare you away from online vendors. Digital boutiques Coco Melody and Azazie each offer stunning gowns for as low as $200 dollars. Azazie’s online shop has a similar vibe to David’s Bridal, but the major selling point here is that you can try on the dresses at home. Coco Melody has something for just about every bride, including some incredible high-fashion options, and their designs are more customizable than Azazie. No matter which website you go with, though, most of the wedding dresses cost $700 or less.

Etsy is also home to countless wedding dress designers that create a custom look for you from scratch for about $500. If that’s still a little more than you can afford, both Mod Cloth and Unique Vintage have a selection of gorgeous wedding gowns for less than $300. Other brides who prefer a cleaner, simpler look might even find their perfect dress on eShakti.

4. Consider Diamond Alternatives
Diamonds are forever, but they may not be for everyone. Many socially conscious brides want a ring, but they aren’t into diamonds, and that’s great news for their bottom line! If you’re not particular about the type of stone in your setting, there are more valuable gems that cost less which you can purchase for your wedding set. Those options include Moissanite, which looks like a diamond. The big difference is that it comes with more sparkle for a fraction of the price.

5. Keep The Guest List Short
As anyone planning a wedding will tell you, feeding everyone is the most expensive part of the whole affair. Eva’s guest list ballooned to nearly twice the size she intended, which made paying for the wedding a lot harder. You may want to invite everyone you have ever met to your wedding, but limiting your guest list to 100 or less is more financially manageable.

6. Toast It Up
Some couples save money by opting not to feed guests a full meal. Instead, they have a cocktail reception where they serve a wide variety of appetizers and desserts. I have also seen brides supplement their cocktail receptions with a limited buffet of pasta dishes, giving the reception more of an informal house party vibe. This virtually eliminates the need to do a seating chart as guests are free to roam about and sit where they like at their leisure.

7. Timing Is Everything
June used to be the most expensive time to get married; then summer became wedding season. Now, “wedding season” stretches from May all the way through October. Knowing that could save you lots of money. Many wedding venues are willing to give you a deep discount in January, February, March, April, and November. Some even offer up to 50 percent off the booking cost of the venue. If you want to save money, it pays to be flexible on your wedding date. You might be dreaming of dancing in September, but your wallet might appreciate an April wedding. However, if you have your heart set on a specific time of year, you might also be able to save money by having your wedding on a Friday night or a Sunday afternoon.

8. Find An All-Inclusive Venue
Chairs, tables, linens, flowers, bar service, lighting, flatware, glasses, table decor, etc. The list of things you need for a wedding goes on and on, and it all adds up. If you’re thinking about booking a blank-canvas venue on the hope that it will save you money, it won’t. A totally empty venue may cost less upfront, but think about how much you’ll need to rent in order to adequately furnish the space for your big day. Instead, consider celebrating at a venue that will provide most of these items in the cost of your booking.

No one wants to be broke after their wedding. No matter how you choose to save money, though, be sure to keep the focus on the relationship that got you to the altar because that is priceless!

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