Reach out to your connections! I am so excited about my wedding photographer Jillian Zamora. She is married to my little sister’s really good friend from high school, and a recent grad from UNT. I saw photos from one of her first weddings and knew she was going to be in great demand! So I grabbed her as soon as I could. Photography takes a huge part of your budget so try to find someone whose photography you love and is in the beginning of their career.
I am very frugal, and over spending does not only bother me when it is my money, it goes for any money spend unwisely. After being a bride’s maid in two of my best friend’s weddings back to back, I promised myself to start the bride’s maids dress search early to find a good deal. Well, I found the perfect dress in a J. Crew catalog, but the price was over $200, and I refused. How was I able to go around this and still get the perfect dress? I waited tell Cyber Monday and sure enough J. Crew had free shipping and 40% off! So find the dress and keep a close eye on it, and if you can, wait tell cyber Monday! I did the same thing for my own shoes: found them a month before and then just waited until that dreaded weekend, but it was worth it!
In the same vein, just be ready to pounce on a good deal. Think about the things you are going to need before, during, and after the wedding and keep your eyes peeled. When I was living in Long Beach (before I got engaged, oops you got me) I was walking Izzi and noticed the local card store was going out of business. I instantly ran in there and got eight boxes of thank you cards (along with lots of Happy Birthday and Congratulations cards). I have already gone through half of the Thank You cards! You have to think about things not directly related to the big day, the little things add up.
Also, if you can, getting married in your home town has so many benefits. Even from the fact that I can cut down blossoming fruit tree branches to add to my floral arrangements is a saver. Mix this in with using things like mirrors, candles, and old books from my parents house to help decorate equals cutting my flower demands in half. Using local vendors instead of going outside the city limits has been a great way to ensure a lower price. This is mostly true of smaller towns, but regardless of your location, using venders in your close vicinity is a money saver. Here again you have connections! So get out there and ask people for help!