As a wedding planner in Jamaica I meet and speak with alot of brides on a weekly basis and the main thing that's on every brides tongue and mind right now is the word budget. Sticking to budget and avoiding debt. Also today most couples are financing their own wedding so its a major concern. See below some suggestions for trimming that budget:
1. Instead of having a full bar for the cocktail hour why not do a signature drink or just offer a limited bar.
2. Buy your own liquor wholesale. You will pay corkage to some venues for serving it but it still saves you something.
3. Have a morning wedding and thus a wedding breakfast or brunch. Breakfasts and brunches, are usually more affordable than evening receptions. They are shorter and guests tend to consume less food and liquor early in the day.
4. Avoid price main courses. Use expensive ingredients, such as lobster, in hors d'oeuvres where the serving size is less rather than in a main course.
5. Make the wedding or display cake your dessert. As a planner we now suggest this alot and therefore schedule the cutting of the cake early in the event so that the cake can be removed and prepared for slicing and thus dessert.
6. Avoid a full sit down dinner. Some brides are now opting to just have a cocktail reception or simply a cake reception where only cake and drinks are served.
7. Choose and simple wedding cake design. Order a moderately priced, plainly decorated cake, and make the focal point the cake topper. Floral toppers or flowers used on the cake in some gorgeous blooms and colors, vintage bride-and-groom figurines, wedding bells, monograms or a pair of doves (from an antiques shop or handmade) are toppers that can make a cake memorable.
8. Champagne for toasts only. Instead of serving champagne all night using it for toasts only is a good way of cutting the budget.
9. Re use your wedding flowers. For example bridesmaids bouquets can be reused in centerpieces. Also if there's an adequate number of ceremony flowers and they're an appropriate size, they can serve as centerpieces at the reception; otherwise they can decorate behind the headtable, guest-book, seating-card, and favor tables.
10. Go minimalist with your centerpieces. Instead of decorating tables with large arrangements, float a few flowers in shallow bowls or glass cylinders filled halfway with water. You can also use candles or attractive glass containers with fruits.
11. Use cheaper blooms. Don't overlook such floral standbys as daisies and carnations. They're available year-round, are quite affordable, and when arranged en masse make delightful centerpieces and bouquets.
12. Make your own wedding favors. There are tons of DIY ideas now on the internet. Click this link to find 29 ideas http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/228626/boxed-wedding-favors/@center/272429/diy-weddings#/228622
13. Downsize your bridal party. Try to keep the number of attendants as small as possible: The larger the bridal party, the more you'll spend for gifts, hair and make up and flowers.
14. Edit your guest list. To minimize the guest list, refrain from inviting children and coworkers. Include your friends' significant others but not casual dates. A rule of thumb I use is if you haven't talked to the person in 2 years then they aren't important enough to be on the list.
15. Never be afraid to ask for a discount. Before signing a contract with your caterer, photographer, or florist, try to negotiate a lower yet still reasonable price.