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Saving on Wedding Costs
If you are paying for a wedding – your own or someone else’s – you know how easy it is to find yourself in over your financial head. Perhaps you even started with Step 1 on any wedding planning list: setting a budget. But you are having trouble keeping the wedding you want within the budget you’ve set.
There are some obvious things you can do, starting with cutting the guest list. Reception venue and caterer costs usually are based on the number of people. If you invite fewer people, it will cost you less.
But if you have done that – or if you don’t want to do that – experts have some other suggestions for ways to trim costs:
- Don’t choose a popular time. If you schedule the wedding for winter, for example, you often can negotiate a much better deal with all your vendors, from the reception venue to the baker.
- Choose a day other than Saturday. Saturday is the most popular day for weddings, which makes it almost impossible to get a discount. Consider another day, such as a Friday or a Sunday.
- A daytime reception usually costs less than a nighttime one.
- Look for sample sales or special offers on a wedding dress. Another option, especially if you want something simple, is to buy a bridesmaid’s dress in white or ivory.
- Reduce the number of dinner choices, and/or focus on less expensive options like chicken or pasta. Pasta can have the added advantage of being vegetarian-friendly.
- Better yet, skip dinner altogether and have a cocktail reception with a variety of appetizers. It can be elegant and less expensive.
- If you are serving drinks, choose a few kinds of cocktails rather than letting guests order whatever they want. Usually you pay for every bottle of liquor opened, so limit the kinds of liquor you use by limiting the types of drinks you make.
- You also can serve only beer and wine, plus some champagne for toasts. Or have beer and wine, then add a cash bar for cocktails.
- Be creative with the cake. Have a small cake for the ritual cutting, then serve a sheet cake cut and plated in the kitchen. Or substitute brownies or cookies for a traditional wedding cake. Some creative brides have built a tower of cupcakes, brownies or even snack cakes from the supermarket, then placed a bride and groom on top.
- When choosing flowers, choose something seasonal. And try to use the same kinds of flowers for all the bouquets and arrangements.
- Photography can cost a bundle, so shop around. If your photographer or videographer charges by the hour, consider compressing all the things you want professional shots of into a smaller window.
- Make sure to take lots of candid photos. They don’t take the place of professional ones, but they often do a better job of capturing the spirit of the day.
- If you know anyone who is creative and handy – or if you are creative and handy yourself – consider making things like centerpieces or bouquets.
- Skip the favors. Your guests don’t really care anyway. Instead, put out bowls of candy with a note saying that instead of favors, the bride and groom have made a donation to charity.
And most importantly, remember that in the end, the marriage matters much more than the wedding.