Looking forward to planning your dream wedding, but have your hands tied financially? No matter how big or small your budget is, it shouldn’t come in the way of you enjoying one of the most memorable days of your life! Having a lovely wedding in an expensive destination like the UAE calls for some creative thinking that will help contain the bills without compromising on the fun.Here are eight wedding planning tips that help you stay on-budget while ensuring you do not settle for anything less than your dream wedding.

Skip the Expensive Invitations

You no longer have to get your invitations designed and printed by professionals that charge an arm and a leg. With the world increasingly going digital by the minute, e-invitations are the new (and budget-friendly) way to go. Opting for these is an easy way to cut down on traditional wedding expenses. And in case you want to have a printed option for the non-tech savvy peeps, hand-made wedding cards never go out of style!

Pick the Right Venue at the Right Time

If you are working with a tight budget, you must avoid the peak wedding seasons in the UAE, which include the time around Eid, Christmas and Spring breaks. Most venues inflate their prices at this time. Other tips to save on this front include:

  • Booking one venue for all the functions to get a better dal
  • Opting for a cozy restaurant instead of a ballroom
  • Choosing an outdoor venue (beachfront or golf course lawns) that helps you save on decorations

Save on Dress and Jewelry

When it comes to wedding dresses and jewelry, the thumb-rule is to avoid brand names. Branded designs are often unnecessarily expensive and too extravagant to be worn again. So consider opting for something more wearable that doesn’t come with a hefty price tag. You should also go shopping during the big retail sales that will offer you great bargains on dresses and suits. Alternatively, you can also consider renting the dress and jewelry.

If you’re from India or Pakistan, shopping through the streets of Meena Bazaar in Bur Dubai can land you some amazing deals on traditional wedding attire.

Be Creative and Cost-Conscious with Food

Getting the food planning right can save you a significant amount of money. The trick is to make it no-fuss, creative, and intriguing at the same time. Effective cost-saving tips include:

  • Skipping the three or four-course meal in favor of a canapé, food and beverage package
  • Arranging a creative food truck or live cooking stations
  • Setting up a fun and interactive DIY food stand
  • Picking a venue that includes tiered cakes in the wedding package

Don’t Bust Your Budget on Decorations

Opting to decorate the venue yourself will not only bring down the costs, it will throw a sense of detailed personalization into the mix which no wedding planner can match. You can also visit the stores of Dragon Mart, Al Satwa and Naif Road in Dubai to avail discounts on wholesale decoration items.

Look Out for Photography Deals

There is a lot of competition in the photography space today and booking in advance can bag you some great deals. You can also search group buying websites in the UAE to fish for some lucrative deals. In case you know of a budding photographer or have a talented friend, you can always have them photograph your special day.

Go Easy on the Entertainment

Hiring a wedding band or a DJ in the UAE can be quite expensive. Instead, you can line up singing and dance performances of your artistically inclined friends and relatives and put on your best party playlist once they are done.

Opt for Handmade Wedding Favors

If you follow the tradition of thanking your guests with wedding favors, having handmade and personalized gifts can help you save some big bucks. Your guests will always appreciate the creativity and efforts that you put in.