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Posted: Dec 7 2006, 12:31 PM
Co - admin
Member No.: 3
Joined: 30-October 06
If only your pockets were as deep as your love for one another.
Let’s face it: weddings can be expensive. Creating a reasonable wedding budget means knowing what you can afford to spend, deciding what matters to you most, then applying your dollars appropriately. You can have a great wedding day, no matter the size of your budget. Making some smart decisions up front can help keep costs under control.
Here are our ten favorite budget-cutting tips:
1. Schedule your wedding “off-season.” Nearly 70% of all weddings take place May through October of each year. Even in matters of the heart, the laws of supply and demand apply. If there are lots of brides competing with you for locations, limousines, and florists, the price goes up. You will probably find yourself able to get better deals on virtually every wedding service if you schedule your wedding in one of the “off season” months. Also avoid late November through New Year’s, when hotels, caterers and bands are likely to be busy with holiday parties. Your best bet? Set the date for sometime in January, February (other than around Valentine’s Day, when the flower prices peak), or March.
2. Set the time for early in the day. If you’re the average couple, your biggest wedding cost will be for food and beverages at the reception. A beautiful morning brunch will set you back less than dinner fare. And unless you have really outrageous friends, there will be far less alcohol poured before lunchtime. Better to have a wonderful morning reception than be forced to pinch pennies for an evening event.
3. Find a low-cost location. If you’re flexible about the “where,” you can save a lot on your location. Don’t knock your childhood church or synagogue: if you or your parents are members, the location fee will probably be waived. A city-owned location, such as a public garden or historic building, may be available for a surprisingly low fee. And you might consider marrying at home (yours, or a rich friend’s!) if your guest list isn’t too large. But be careful: a home wedding won’t cut costs if you have to bring in additional restroom facilities, seating, lighting, etc.
4. Select a non-bridal bridal gown. Bridal gowns aren’t the only white dresses in the world. It may be that the perfect wedding dress for you is not found in a bridal salon, but among the women’s evening wear section of a department store. (Maybe even on the sale rack!) Especially during the last several seasons, while elegant, understated gowns have been in style, the line between bridalwear and formalwear has blurred. You might even find that the perfect gown for you is a more-affordable bridesmaids style, done in white or ivory.
5. Decorate strategically. Spend your money on the things people will see the most throughout the event -- not things they’ll only glimpse momentarily. Your guests may not notice the flowers that decorate the end of each pew as they take their seat -- but they will notice the bouquets and boutonnieres on the wedding party during the ceremony and reception. They’ll spend a few moments before your ceremony starts perusing your program, so make sure it makes a good impression. Less important are extra flowers to adorn your wedding cake table; the cake itself will capture their attention. You could spend money to decorate the back of each guest’s chair -- but will they see it other than when they enter the reception room? Consider putting those dollars instead into your table centerpieces, which they’ll gaze at repeatedly during the event. Candles -- at your ceremony or your reception -- add drama and style with little cost, especially compared to floral arrangements. Another budget-friendly decorating touch: tiny, white twinkle lights, swathed in tulle. The most strategic way to decorate? Pick a location that needs little or no embellishment -- a garden in bloom, a scenic beach, a fully-restored historic building, or a spectacular cathedral.
6. Select flowers that are in season and locally available. If you do, you’ll probably find you can save considerably on cost -- especially if you make it clear with your florist that cutting cost is a high priority. Availability and price vary from city to city, and region to region, but you’ll probably find that Gerbera daisies, traditional daisies, carnations, chrysanthemums, statice, Queen Anne’s Lace, freesia, baby’s breath and gladiolus are your best priced flowers. Irises are an economical choice for Spring, which is also the best season for violets, daffodils and tulips. Various kinds of lilies are most plentiful (and best priced) in the summer months; sunflowers and orange blossoms are most abundant in the Fall. Avoid roses and orchids -- they’re widely available but pricey. And stay away from white blossoms. They bruise easily, so florists must go through larger quantities to find good ones, and to match the shade, thus the cost is higher.
7. Theme the event to hide what’s not included. Picking a theme for your reception celebration can be a great way to cut costs. You don’t have to be of Mexican descent to turn your reception into a fiesta -- and a spectacular banquet of traditional Mexican food will probably cost less than prime rib and asparagus. Continue your theme (and budget-management) by limiting the bar to imported Mexican beers and margueritas. Your guests won’t miss the martinis while dining on machaca. Another possibility: serve a family-style southern Italian banquet and limit the bar choices to red and white wines with dinner, limoncelo and espresso with dessert. Or follow your barefoot, beach wedding with bonfire-grilled chicken and corn, vegetable kabobs, buckets of beer on ice and a fruity sangria.
8. Harness the talents of family and friends. Don’t be afraid to let those close to you know that you’re looking for ways to keep your wedding budget under control. They may offer their own skills to help you save money, or they may know how to help you find a great deal. Your uncle with the classic car may be willing to play chauffeur for the day, and your cousin the computer graphics wiz might be able to create spectacular wedding programs on her computer; all you’ll have to do is pay for the paper.
9. Cut your guest list. It may be painful, but the simple truth is that there is no quicker, easier way to control your budget than by limiting the size of the event. Again, your single biggest cost will be reception food and alcohol, so you can reduce that expenditure by paring down the number of mouths. Remember: single guests who aren’t in a serious relationship can be invited solo; you may invite parents only; and you need not invite anyone who you haven’t spent time with in the last five years -- even if they invited you to their wedding.
10. Use the free tool and resources available to you online in WeddingChannel.com. Wedding planning experts say that the single most important thing you can do to control costs is to get organized. Timely planning saves late fees and expensive compromises. The planning tools available to you here in WeddingChannel.com will help you create your planning timetable, and send you email reminders of every appointment and deadline. You can even manage your guest list, RSVPs, and thank you notes. Access to your bridal registry here online means you don’t even have to drive to the mall to find out if someone’s gotten you that espresso machine yet. Through your Couple’s Profile, Wedding Logistics and Out-Of-Town Guest Information pages, you can get the word out to family, friends and guests -- without costly mailings or long distance phone calls. And best of all: the tools, information, and advice in the site are totally free for you to use. So you can spend your time, energy, and hard-earned dollars on the things that matter most to you on your wedding day. Now that’s a bargain any bride will love.