Here are some of the tips mentioned on Martha Stewart Weddings that we've actually used in the past while planning weddings. These real life examples help show you how easy it can be to cut your wedding planning costs!
Combine your favors and your place cards into one item. For my sister's wedding we did this and used mini picture frames. It's a great way to cut costs by not having to splurge on both!
Reuse your bouquets as centerpieces at the reception. The last wedding we planned reused the bouquets as the wedding cake topper and table decor (see above). It not only saved the couple money on flowers/decor but also ties the ceremony and reception together. Also, this gives the bride and bridesmaids a place to stash their bouquets after the ceremony and pictures!
Above is a photo from my sister's and my photo shoot a few months ago for our DIY Weddings Magazine feature (shameless self promotion, I know...). Our friend, Morgan, is a new photographer and did it for no cost. She's AMAZING folks!!
So, for your wedding think about hiring a new photographer. There are so many photographers (and for that matter any type of wedding vendor) just starting their careers and will give you a great discount. If you offer to give them referrals, they'll probably give you even more of a discount.
Consider having your wedding in the morning followed by a brunch reception. July 4th weekend we are planning a wedding like this and I love the idea. Mimosas and Bloody Mary's for happy hour - yum! Not only are the food and drinks for a brunch generally cheaper, but wedding venues will also be lower prices in the morning. And you can escape to the honeymoon even earlier :)
Small Display Cake - Sheet in the Back
Consider having a smaller, ornate wedding cake on display for guests and pictures. Then have a larger sheet cake in the back for cutting and serving. Keep it the same flavor and no one will know the difference! This can really help you save a TON of money. We did this a few years ago for a wedding and it worked out perfectly. They had the above cake on display and a larger, plain sheet cake in back for serving to all of the guests.
So as you can see, cutting costs and staying under your budget can be pretty simple! For more budget saving ideas, view Martha Stewart Weddings - they have some really great tips.