My big, fat, bargain wedding: Entertainment

My big, fat, bargain wedding: Venues | Food | Combining finances | The dress

This is the fifth part of a series on wedding planning on a reasonable budget. I hope you will join me on this journey of orchestrating the ideal wedding — without overspending.

Since my fiancé and I met dancing, the wedding reception is a priority for us. We love cutting a rug, and although we probably won’t remember insignificant details of our wedding (like chair covers), I know we’ll remember the music.

I had originally ignored the idea of a live band at our reception, because I’m working within a below-average budget. But I realized a few months into planning that I’m actually friends with a guy in a local swing band. Would they give me a discounted rate?

I lucked out — or rather, my friend and his band are very generous. Although it’s still a significant expense, I’m paying the “friends and family” rate for my ideal wedding band.

Looking back, I should have started the wedding-planning processby asking anyone and everyone for help. But it’s easy to get swept up in that first wave of excitement, forgetting that sometimes the best solutions are the simplest. Forgo that expensive calligrapher and use your friend with an art degree.

I wrote a story last year, Say ‘less!’ to the dress, in which local brides used their connections to find great discounts on venues, wedding invitations, music, videography and other parts of the wedding. It can be simple once you sit down and think about the skills your friends possess.

Muster up the guts to ask — the worst someone can say is “no.”

Did you ask friends to help with your wedding? Which connections saved you the most money?

Percent of budget spent so far: 50

Coming next: Mini-moons and other money-saving trends

Discount: Get 10 percent off a wedding planner at We Tie The Knots when you mention the AJC Atlanta Bargain Hunter.

More: Wedding spreadsheet | The cost of the royal wedding | Don’t go into debt

– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter

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