This is your moment. You've been planning this day in your mind since childhood. What you didn't plan to be is broke... You can still do it! You can still have a fantasy wedding with some creativity, planning, hard work and fun. Here's how:
1. Decide on a style. What is fitting to you and your future spouse? Gather ideas from blogs or magazines. Put them together. Make it your own. Friends are also a great source. They know you, and usually you are on the same page.
2. Hit the thrift stores, fabric stores, dollar stores, second hand online shopping sites, and wholesale distributors. There are treasures everywhere. Plus, you will be doing the planet a world of good buying second hand. Keep an open mind and picture what you could do with your finds.
3. Compare prices online before making purchases. You will save a lot of time by searching online, and usually that is where you will find the best prices.
4. Beg, borrow. Friends and family are great resources. Ask if they have any old event decorations, cake toppers, etc. They may even have a dress and suit! They will most likely be happy that the items are being put to use again.
5. Make your own wedding cake. TLC Cooking has written a guide for making your own wedding cake.
6. Make your own flower arrangements. This will cut your costs significantly. About.com has a great article on how to prepare your flower arrangements and bouquets. Make sure you have the proper storage and water. Compare bulk and wholesale flower prices online and locally. Use the flowers from your bouquets at your reception.
7. Make your own wedding dress, have a friend help, or find one at the thrift store. You can make your wedding dress unforgettably fabulous by going unconventional. Think about short dresses, vintage, hippy, funky, so much more...
8. Make your own invitations. Office supply stores actually sell decent inexpensive invitations. You can also hand craft invitations for a personal look. Another Earth friendly possibility is a wedding website invitation.
9. Go location scouting. The smaller your wedding the easier it is to be creative with your location choices. Outdoor locations are usually cheaper than venues. Don't settle on the first one you see. Find one that feels right and fits your wedding style.
10. In the San Francisco area? Through the Looking Glass | Foto offers a CARE discount to couples in need. Ask about requirements.