If you're just diving in to wedding planning and feeling overwhelmed with expenses, Pure Ambiance Event Planning has some great basic tips on reducing your costs. Happy planning!
Special Feature by Kisha Barner of Pure Ambiance Event Planning
1) Having a wedding in winter months is definitely cheaper than having it in peak seasons, such as fall or summer. Consider looking at different dates that will save you a great deal of money!
2) Consider a wedding that occurs during the day instead of the evening or a Friday or Sunday wedding instead of a Saturday. Since evenings and Saturdays are the most popular times for weddings, the cost will definitely be higher at those times.
3) Large wedding parties are pretty common now, but keep in mind this comes with a price. Having a large wedding party means that you have to purchase more bouquets and boutonnieres, more thank-you gifts, and if you planned on covering any of their expenses, such as make-up, you would have to shell out more for that too! Cutting back on the number of people involved will definitely save you some money.
4) Take a very close look at your guest list and make sure that everyone you’re planning to invite is someone important to you that you would miss if he or she wasn’t there. People tend to get carried away inviting everyone they know, even people they haven’t spoken to in years. Remember, the more people you have, the higher the cost is for everything – catering, décor, favors – EVERYTHING!
5) Instead of seating eight people to a table, consider seating ten to twelve. This will save on table décor such as centerpieces, stationery for table numbers, and linens. Be sure that you are using a 72” round table as you increase the number of people at the table. Otherwise, people will get to know each other a little too well.
6) Food is definitely important at any event, especially a wedding, but instead of having five courses and a slew of fancy upgrades, stick to the basics and go for what’s in season or local. Keep in mind that if your guests don’t see the “Asian Fusion Station,” they won’t miss it because they never knew it was an option! Remember, as long as it’s delicious, no one will complain.
7) We all know that alcohol is usually an important aspect to people when they’re planning a wedding, but having an open bar is pricey. Instead of having an open bar, consider having a bar that will only serve beer and wine. You can add a signature drink as well, if you would like.
8) You don’t have to nix the beautiful wedding cake you’ve always envisioned, but you should scale down on the size. You should opt to have the cake only feed a portion of your guests and have a sheet cake made with the same filling(s), etc. to make up the difference. No one will know that their slice came from a sheet cake instead of the cake, and they really wouldn’t mind!
9) I often read that using credit cards that have rewards is a wonderful way to pay for wedding expenses. However, I have to disagree unless you pay the amount charged right away. Using a credit card to take care of wedding expenses to earn 5% back on your purchases or frequent flyer miles is just not worth it because of all the interest you will have to pay back on your purchases. It just doesn’t make sense to have to pay $2,500 or more for your gown when it really cost $2,000. Instead of using a credit card, I suggest using a bank or debit card. Many banks offer rewards on purchases made with your bank card, so you can still accumulate your rewards without having to shell out extra money in the long run.
10) Consider fruits and/or vegetables as a part of your centerpieces, bouquets, and other parts of your event, such as place card holders. They are natural beauties and can truly add a different and unique element to your flowers. Since it will reduce the overall amount of flowers you need, it will in turn save on your cost of flowers!
11) Candles make an absolutely beautiful and elegant statement all on their own. Instead of using flowers, utilize the beauty of lit candles. Creating centerpieces with various pillar sizes on a glass mirror is gorgeous. Spice it up with decorative rocks, crystal pieces, or votives. You can find quality candles for a good price, so definitely shop around. Wholesale floral supply stores are great, as well as places like A.C. Moore and Michael’s.
12) Providing individual menus to each guest is a new trend that is a beautiful touch. However, when funds are tight, providing a table menu is a great alternative. Have your invitation designer print one menu card for each table that is big enough for all to see. You can print the table number or name on the menu card as well.
13) Consider having a destination wedding. Weddings on Caribbean islands are not expensive at all. For just a few thousand dollars, they usually include everything you need. You will have a small guest turnout, but the guests who are most important to you will make it a point to be there. If you would like, you can have a party when you return for everyone, particularly those important to you that couldn’t make it.
14) It is important to know where to cut corners. Personally, I believe that décor is always a critical part of an event. It’s one of the top things your guests will talk about after everything is over. The most important aspects of your décor are linens, lighting, centerpieces, chairs, and chair covers. This doesn’t mean that you should buy the most expensive items in these categories, but they are areas worth investing in to make everything look beautiful. Look for great cost-effective items that will still give that “wow” factor.
15) The first thing that people want to do when they have to save money is to ask their family and friends to take on important roles in the event. This happens all the time, and it’s not something that I ever recommend. Cousin Joey becomes the photographer, your friend Susan is the planner, Aunt Helen is the florist, and so on. Although these people love you, keep a few things in mind:
First, if something goes wrong (unfortunately, this happens all too often), it will affect your relationship and possibly ruin your day.
Next, they are not professionals in the field, so you may not be so happy with Aunt Helen’s floral creations.
Also, these individuals are a part of your day as well – they need to get ready and take time for themselves, so it’s not possible for them to do that and take care of all of the other day-of responsibilities.
There are things that you can do yourself and ask your friends/family for help with. Things like packaging your favors, taking care of errands, and possibly creating some of your stationery materials, such as table numbers. Just be careful not to take on too much - that could bring on a whole new set of problems. Planners are definitely a great investment that saves stress, time and money!