Not So Charming Price Tags- Getting Married in Charm City

According to the Knot.com Baltimore is number 14 out of the 20 most expensive areas to get married!  Worse yet, our neighbors- Washington, DC, Northern Virginia and Suburban Maryland are number 11!  The Knot surveyed 19,000 couples married in 2010.  You can read the full report here.  But don't pack up that wedding gown and take the ceremony on the road just yet!  Here are some tips to save some money:
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1.  Choose your date wisely.  Many venues off discounts for “off-months.”  Also, chose any day other than Saturday, and you automatically save money!  Consider having a day-time event or a cocktail ceremony instead of dinner.  Serving guests lunch or hor d'oeuvres is a considerable price difference.  If an evening ceremony is a “must,” consider a buffet.
2.  Limit the professional photography.  Look at your photographers smaller packages and make a list of your “must have” shots.  Then think about limiting your time with the photographer to save more money.  For example, do you really need professional shots of you getting ready?  The photographer could arrive just before the ceremony.  And cut the cake early so that the photographer can leave.  You can always supply your guests with disposable cameras for candid photos.  Now that most everyone is using a digital camera, you are likely to be bombarded with candids from guests via email and facebook.  

3.  Consider a pre-owned dress.  Designer wedding gowns can cost a small fortune these days.  Often you can find near-perfect condition gowns for less than half the cost of a new dress.  Once you find a style you like, scour upscale consignment stores and the internet.  Sites like preownedweddingdresses.com and ebay.com have a great selection and often the dresses were never worn!

4.  DIY the flowers.  Enlist some creative friends and family members to help you with your bouquet and centerpieces.  There are many step-by-step instructions online to help you.  The more simple the arrangement the better.  You can buy flowers in bulk from your local flower market, costco.com or theflowerexchange.comRemember it never hurts to ask if a vendor can do better on a price.  You’ll be surprised how often people are willing to work with you.  Try to stay flexible, compromise on things that are less important to save your money for what counts.  Weddings are a celebration and should be a testament to the relationships in your lives, not your wealth.

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