When I got married my fiancé and I had no money to pay for a fancy wedding, so from the day we got engaged we started saving, saving, and saving some more. I have a very talented family, my mother made my wedding dress and the brides maid dresses, and we made all the decor for the tables. We even made all the food for 80 guests and served a 3 course meal. Let me tell you how I did it for all under R20, 000.
Lets start with the dress. Not everyone has a mom that can make their dress, I understand that, but maybe you have your mom's dress that is considered "vintage." Not old, don't think like that, besides then you already have your something borrowed and something old all in one and it can be modified to fit your body and taste. Or maybe you have a friend whose mom is very good at sewing who can make a dress from a picture. I bought all my wedding dress fabric for R900 and that was 9 meters of white fabric, lace, beading, ribbon, thread and the fabric for my exit dress (oh and I forgot that also included 30 meters of cheap white fabric to decorate the venue with). Any one that knows fabric prices know that's a steal.
The venue can be a very tricky thing, so what I did was I tried to find a venue that would allow us to do our own catering. That cut the costs in more than half. We made a Greek style starter: pita breads on all the tables, with humus, olive oil and balsamic dips. For the main we did a big buffet with meat and veg and for desert we did ice cream and chocolate slices. If your not the type of person that can really handle the stress of the food too, then why not do a tea and cake for your reception or a picnic under some trees outside. If you plan well it could be very elegant.
That brings me to decorations. I have to say here, Google is your best friend! That and all the many bridesmaids you can have, to recruit them to help you make decorations. I very badly wanted to have my wedding at the beach but because budget didn't allow, I brought the beach to me, literally! We went to the ocean for vacation the year before we got married so I brought back 5 liter bottles of sea sand and shells. As center pieces I took old palm tree leaves and made "boats" out of them with sea sand and shells and tea light candles. Glass bowls with flowers submerged goes a long way and doesn't cost as much, because no need for filler flowers. You could use brown pears as name tags with the name tag pinned on top with a toothpick. Check Pintrest out for some good decor ideas.
Don't let money limit your dream wedding. It's your day and don't have any regrets. Let your sister do your hair (just practice before hand), and let your best friend do your make up (just invest in a good foundation and again Google how to do good makeup).When it comes to wedding photography, you don't have to have the most expensive package either. Take an option where you get a disk with photos on it. It's about the memories and you can always print as many photos later when all your cash isn't going into making your dream day happen.
My dad has a saying that he's always told me from little, "You've got the vision, you've got the job". If you can picture it you can make it happen. Just ask for some help and plan, plan, and plan some more! I hope this helps you get the wedding you deserve to have without going into the negative.
Now get planning, it's part of the fun!!!!