Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wedding Wednesday - cutting costs

Happy Wednesday everyone!  And Happy Holiday season to you.  Do you know what else it is?  It's Engagement Season too!  So happy Engagement to those of you who are looking down at sparkly, blingy additions to your left hand!  As more and more people get engaged this holiday season, one question that will ring out is how to have a wedding on a budget.  No one wants to sacrifice their wedding dreams because of cost nor should you have to!  Below are a few of the most tried and true ways to keep costs down at your wedding.  

1)  Guest List.  This sounds obvious but you would be surprised how many people want to invite their entire lives but don't want to spend more than $10,000.  The quickest way to save money and to cut costs is to cut the guest list.  It's pretty simple math, the more people you invite the more people you have  feed.  Skimming down the guest list will allow you to have those centerpieces you've been dreaming of with whatever your budget is.  If you have to buy six centerpieces rather than fifteen, you're going to save money.  Having a small, intimate affair is a wonderful way to help you come in under budget.  

2)  Hire a Wedding Coordinator.  I'm serious.  I know it sounds like I'm saying this because I am a wedding coordinator, but I'm not self-promoting.  Promise.  Hiring a wedding professional to be in your corner is a really smart way to spend your money.  A wedding coordinator will most likely end up saving you money because of her knowledge in the industry and relationships with vendors.  Having a professional by your side to help you make smart decisions will help you put your money where it counts and where it will make the most impact.  Plus we will never get sick of talking about your Big Day!  

3)  Bring your own alcohol.  This can be a tricky one, but if you can find a venue that allows you to supply your own alcohol, you can literally save thousands of dollars.  What's tricky about this is that most venues that allow you to bring in your own liquor are also those same venues that require you to bring in everything.  Tables, chairs, lights, kitchen, etc.  This can add up if you're not careful.  It helps to find a caterer who will handle the rentals for you and wrap that all into your per person price.  By bringing in your own alcohol, you can select exactly what you want at your wedding and save big money because you're not being charged on consumption.  You just need to do some careful planning to make sure you buy do not want to run out of "juice" at your wedding.  Check return policies when you purchase because many places will let you return unopened bottles.  In this case to ensure you're bar won't go dry, I suggest purchasing a little more knowing that you can always return it.  (Or drink it on your honeymoon.)  Finding a venue like this can be a little bit of work (see tip #2) but it can definitely save you money in the end.  

4) DIY when you can.  Be careful with DIY projects though, because sometimes you can end up spending as much as it would've cost to hire a professional for the job.  Just monitor your spending and plan out the projects well.  If you are creative, then have at it!  DIY'ing things can be a great way to save money.  That said, there are some things that I say should never be DIY.  Cake and flowers.  Even if you are the Ina Garten of making cakes, do not try to make your own wedding cake.  Hire a professional.  Same goes for flowers.  There are some things that will add a lot of last minute stress if you try to do them yourself and these two things top my list.  Let the professionals handle your wedding day, and if you love making bouquets, offer to do it for a friend's wedding, but not for your own.  You don't need the added stress!  

I hope this helps some of you as you get engaged and start to think about budget and how to manage it.  Enjoy your engagement!  It's such a special time in your really savor it!  

Photo credit:  Ceremony site: Vernon T. Williams, Wedding Coordinator: Jason Q Tran, Bar: Ciro Photography, DIY: Nataly Lemus

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