A friend of mine just emailed with the news she got engaged over Christmas … Lots of folks get engaged during the season and plan for summer weddings. Here are some general principles to keep in mind when planning a wedding to keep your overall costs down. Afterall, the wedding is about getting married, not spending your life savings, right?
Nine Ways to Stretch Your Money
1. Pick a slower time of year (January, February or November)
2. Shop around and negotiate prices and packages with vendors. Don’t ever settle for more than you think you should be paying.
3. Get your hands dirty. The more you’re willing to do, the less you’ll end up paying. Get your friends and family in the act of addressing envelopes, folding programs, creating favors, and making a headpiece or a veil.
4. Limit the guest list. Most caterers charge per-person, so the difference between 100 guests and 150 is significant.
5. Shop anywhere but a traditional bridal salon for your gown. Think eBay, off the rack, or a local seamstress.
6. Consider “drop-off catering.” The caterer delivers and sets up already prepared food. Or, have family friends cater the reception for you.
7. Ask friends to take photos at your bridal showers, rehearsal dinner, pre-ceremony and reception. Hire a professional only for the formal portraits and ceremony shots.
8. For your reception food, consider a buffet instead of a sit-down meal; or host a high tea; a dessert reception; brunch or luncheon instead of a multi-course meal.
9. Hire a local music student(s) if you’re set on having live musicians at the ceremony and reception.
Check out my upcoming book filled with more tips, Cheap Ways to Tie the Knot: How to Plan a Church Wedding for Less Than $5,000, releasing on Feb. 14. If you’re in the Orlando area, come party with us Monday, Feb. 6, from 7:30-10 p.m. for the book’s release at our offices. Email me for directions.