10 Ways To $ave On Your Big Day
Weddings can be expensive and in today's economy every dime counts. According to several national surveys the average wedding budget is between $25,000 and $40,000 with most couples going over their inital figure by at least 10%.
So why do so many newlyweds choose to start out their life together already in debt? Are the memories you'll make at a extravogant event worth more then those made at a smaller more intimate affair. Of course not! The good news is, you can still have the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank! The secret is all in the planning but, you don't neccesarily need to hire a professional to get you more bang for your buck.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
The #1 thing to keep in mind when planning your wedding is... this is your day! It's okay to say ''NO" to parent or others who try to get you to change your plans. Trying to please or accomodate others wishes is a surefire way to skyrocket your budget. Graciously thank them for their input but be firm when letting them know that your doing it your way. If hosting your reception at your favorite pizza place is what makes you and your spouse happy then GO FOR IT!
# 2 A smaller guest list does not automatically guarantee savings. A formal wedding for 50 can end up costing more than a casual wedding for 100. It's all about the choices you make. Be careful not to get carried away on all the extras just because your guest list is in the double - didgits! You'd be surprised at how fast things add up, so be aware of what you're spending and eliminate the things you don't feel strongly about. This goes for people as well, don't feel obligated to invite someone to your wedding JUST because they invited you to theirs. You can always invite them over to dinner after the honeymoon or host a more informal party for anyone you left off the guest list at a later time. Also feel free to leave off anyone you think might cause you mental or emotional anquish - this includes parents, step - parents, siblings etc...
# 3 Leave children off the guest list for the official reception. Hosting kids other then than the flower girl and ring bearer adds up. Often caterers will charge a full guest fee for each child. Why pay $50 per child when they are likely to spend their time running around with the other kids and only pick at their plates if they eat at all! Try an option like holding a kids only pizza party and movie night with hired babysitters during the reception. If you're holding your reception at a hotel, ask if the honeymoon suite can be transformed for a few hours, or perhaps a friend who has kids would be willing to loan out her home for the evening. This way parents can enjoy the party kid - free and you save money!
# 4 Be creative! Consider unique alternatives to the usual buffet or sit down style reception. Cocktail parties are a great money saver that give your event that something special. Offer different hors d'oeuvre stations for guests to visit. This smart money move could save you 15 - 45% on your per guest charge, depending on the menu you select. This way guests have the option of going out to dinner afterward, but in reality you are giving them so much food that nobody is going home hungry!
# 5 Consider a "theme" wedding. There are tons of options and items to work with and a world of savings to be had when you're going for nonbridal requests. Prices are often higher when you're shopping for wedding items then party items. So why not do something out of the ordinary and host a Vegas style casino themed wedding complete with poker and black jack! Your guests will have blast and your bank account will thank you!
# 6 Don't be afraid to ask for favors! Use your networking skills to help you get the things you need for free or for a lower price. Think about who you might know in any area of the wedding industry, maybe a friend works for a local florist or your Aunt who manages the Hilton in town. Brainstorm your network of friends, family and own six degrees of seperation to see who you might be able to ask for a favor. Encourage your parents and future in-laws to do the same with their own network. The more people you have searching the better.
# 7 Use the barter system! Trading service for service has never gone out of style and is a great way to cut costs. Perhaps you're an accountant who can offer to prepare taxes for the photographer in exchange for a discount on your photos (or maybe an even trade!)See if you have something to offer and use your negotiating skills to bring bring big discounts and freebies your way! And don't forget to encourage your parents and in-laws to do the same!
# 8 Look for locations that don't specialize in weddings. Check with local wineries and bed & breakfasts to see what kinds of deals they have available.Think twice about locations that charge outragous site fees. Perhaps the beach or your own back yard for would be right for your event.These options offer much in the way of natural decor, choosing a place of natural beauty can save you a fortune in decorations.
# 9 Check into locations that are "all - inclusive" meaning that you'll not only get the site but have the use of their caterer, their baker and their florist. These kinds of packages can be winners and are worth looking into.
# 10 Shop around! Don't choose the first florist, photographer, dress shop etc.. you vist in effort to save time. Get several quotes and use the lowest price to negotiate deals with the places that you really hope to use. There's always a better price out there so invest the time to find it!
You can beat the money trap for your wedding, it just takes a little effort and a lot of creativity!