There are ways to save when planning a wedding

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If my Facebook feed is any indication, Christmas time, New Year’s Eve/Day and Valentine’s Day are the more popular days to get engaged.

My husband and I were engaged a few days after Christmas, and one of my good friends was engaged on New Year’s Day. Well, we’ve just had all three holidays, and as expected, the announcements came pouring in.

Everyone knows that even the simplest of weddings can cost thousands. The most important thing to remember when planning a wedding is what the actual wedding is all about. It’s about committing your life to someone else for better or for worse, regardless if you spend $3,000 on flowers. Here are a few tips to help save.

After you announce your exciting news, start to prioritize. Sit down with your fiancé and start to plan your wedding/reception, and make a list of your top five priorities. This will help you decide where you want to go all out and where you can cut corners. For example, if it is important that you have dozens of red roses at your wedding because that certain flower is special to the two of you, you can budget for that and cut back on a DJ during the reception if music isn’t that important.

A guest list can be one of the most stressful parts of planning a wedding. Most venues will have a limit to the number of people it can accommodate, so that is always a good excuse for keeping your list short. Cutting the guest list can also drastically lower your reception costs. Most caterers charge per person, so the difference between 250 and 200 people can be significant.

When we were planning our guest list, someone told us not to invite more guests than we could spend one minute of time with. So, let’s say you invite 300 people and spend a minute with each of them. That would take over five hours, and that is not including the ceremony. Keep in mind that everyone will want to congratulate you at some point, and you want to be able to give them your full attention.

The time of the year can also help you save money on your special day. Many weddings happen in the spring when the flowers are blooming or in the fall when the leaves are changing. If you are planning to get married outside, spring or fall would be a great time. The spring flowers or fall leaves can provide the perfect, free, backdrop for a gorgeous wedding.

There is also an “off season” for weddings which is Nov. 1 to March 31. It happened to work out that I love Christmas, and most churches are decorated beautifully with poinsettias and other Christmas decorations after Thanksgiving until the first week of January.

We were married on Dec. 8, and the church was decorated beautifully. The only flowers and decorations we had to purchase were bouquets and boutonnieres. If that is a time of year that you are interested in, just make sure you check with your venue and make sure they will allow you to keep it decorated during your event.

Weddings are stressful enough without having to worry about costs. There is so much to plan and so many different emotions during that time that are more important. Just remember that regardless of what may go wrong or how much money you spend the result at the end of the day is going to be the same. Weddings are a time for joy and the bringing of two families together.

Oh, I love weddings; I cry every time I see a wedding whether it’s in person or on TV between two people I don’t even know. What goes through my mind is the obvious love between the two people standing up in front of everyone committing themselves, not trying to figure out how much money was spent.

Happy savings!

Chelsey Edens writes a monthly column about couponing and ways to save money. She also conducts couponing classes at The Wilson Times. The next class is March 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the newspaper office, 2001 Downing St. Classes are free, but a reservation is required. There is a limit of two reservations per person. Call 252-265-7850 to reserve your space.