PLANNING FOR YOUR WEDDING? Here's an
important tip to avoid the blues.....
Create a realistic budget and stick to it!
Every bride wants her wedding day to be the fulfillment of all her dreams. However our dreams often look very expensive. Never forget this important fact. The reason you are having a wedding is because you love each other and want to spend your lives together. No matter what your wedding is like, the end result will be that you are married and starting your life journey together.
Having said that, let me repeat, our dreams often look very expensive, but they don't have to be. You can find creative ways to make your budget stretch or to tastefully mimic expensive ideas you like. BUDGET...that is an important word in planning a wedding. You need to figure out before you starting spending on your wedding what is reasonable for you (and your family or whomever else will be helping you pay for it) and then stick to that amount.
How do you determine what you need to spend on your wedding? Here are several expenses you will have and some ways to save:
Love In Your Eyes
Bridal Gown Purchase a floor sample or discontinued style. Consider a purchase online--if the seller is reputable. If you have a great seamstress with plenty of experience, consider having it made. It will be a one of a kind dress, so unless it is simple, it could cost more than a store purchase. If you buy at a store, alterations are much less expensive from a seamstress who doesn't work for a store. Remember all the accessories in your costs: veil, undergarments, slip/hoop petticoat, shoes, etc.
- Groom's tux, suit or clothes and accessories. Get a free rental with the rental of groomsmen tuxes. Purchase a suit that can be used later. A casual wedding requires much less expensive clothing choices.
- Wedding Venue and Reception Venue. Having a church wedding? Does the church have a great reception location? Consider reception venues where you can cut costs by using their caterer, baker, etc.
Wedding Cake & Gown
Wedding Cake. Ask around. There are excellent cake decorators who don't have a storefront which helps you can keep costs down, but make sure you see real work. Consider a smaller cake and/or use sheet cakes or cupcakes.
Other Food -- catered or not. Depending on the time of your wedding, wedding guests may not expect a meal. Can you get by with cake and punch? A buffet or formal meal? If you have friends or family care for it, there will be more stress on you. Do you have to pay for the food or will it be their gift? Consider whether it is worth the cost savings?
- Wedding Photography This is near and dear to my heart and I've seen too many sad after-the-wedding stories to not say this. Plan NOT to skimp on wedding photography. You get what you pay for! You can book far ahead to spread manageable payments out over a period of time.
- Decorations. Themed weddings are in. Start planning early. Get ideas online. Can you purchase used decorations online? Can you and/or a friend make decorations?
Bride's bouquet and daggerBride's bouquet and dagger
Flowers. Do you or someone you know have the ability to create beautiful bouquets? Are you okay with silk flowers? Selecting in-season flowers for your wedding will be less expensive.
- Officiant. This is a minor expense, but one that you should not forget to include.
- Music, DJ, Entertainment. Do you want live music, a DJ to run the show, or can you and/or someone you know plan and pull together the equipment needed to have the music you need at your wedding and reception. Who will deal with this on your wedding day? You won't have time.
Limo or Carriage, etc. Will you leave the wedding/reception in a limo or carriage or some other special means of transportation?
- Equipment Rental. Do you need to rent chairs? Chair covers? Tables? Aisle runner? Candelabras? etc.
- Hair and Makeup. Where and by whom do you plan to get your hair and makeup done?
- Last Minute Expenses. In the 22 years I've been shooting weddings, I have rarely been to a wedding that didn't have some last minute needs come up. Plan to have money set aside to pay for unexpected expenses.
Saving money requires planning and research...find ideas online. Look for deals. It also requires networking. Ask people for referrals to vendors who can do the job well and save you money. DON'T settle on an inexperienced or cheap vendor just to save money. You could be sadly disappointed afterward, as I mentioned about photography. Planning will save you money, and as I said in a previous blog, it will save you stress and lots of headaches.