Thursday, 16 February 2012

How to Save Money for your Wedding

Everyone knows that wedding's are expensive. You try and get a quote for anything and tell them it's for a wedding and I swear they jack up the price on the spot just because you said the word wedding! Now if you are frugal like me and want to save a few bucks when planning the big day I've listed a few ideas here. It doesn't have to cost you $20,000;$50,000; or even $100,000. You can plan a wedding on a budget and you can stick to that budget. It's very possible and you still will end up with a fabulous wedding day. Of course I ended up splurging on a few key items (after all it was my wedding day) but still managed to to it all under $10,000 for over 100 people. Not bad when you think about all that's involved!

Planning you wedding can be stressful so why not make sure you don't over extend yourself by following these tips:

1. Catering your wedding is going to be your biggest expense. Catering costs can be anywhere from $20 pp to $100 plus pp. You best, quickest, easiest and cheapest way would be to have a buffet style dinner. Sit down meals are often a lot more food and are quite a bit more expensive then a buffet.

2. Your venue price will depend on location. If you have your wedding in the fanciest hotel in town located on waterfront property of course it will be expensive. Most venue's will give you a price break if you order from their catering menu. Venue rooms usually start around $500 and can go up to $3000 plus. The venue is key to any wedding reception to set the tone and mood of your wedding but you don't have to spend a pile of money. Choose wisely and book way in advance so you aren't left with minimal choice. Most people tend to book their venue about a year in advance. I would recommend this or even earlier if you can.

3. Next would be choosing your ceremony site. Sometimes, you don't have to pay anything for your ceremony site as in my situation we got married on a local beach. I just had to get a permit to allow this which was free and it didn't cost anything to use the beach. Most government or provincial landmarks would be free or next to nothing to use as your ceremony site but make sure you check with your city first and get a permit if required. Sometimes if you advertise that you are looking for a nice ceremony site, you might be able to get someone with large property (maybe waterfront or gardens) to host for a minimal fee. Most hotels charge $1500-$2000 to have the ceremony at their place/venue. Do your research and remember it doesn't have to cost a lot.

4. Flowers can be purchased at a local supermarket instead of a florist which would make it considerably cheaper. You could even just buy the flowers and make up the arrangements yourself (if you have time that is) but most supermarkets don't charge too much to do this. Places like Safeway and Thrifty's are excellent places to order your wedding flowers on a budget. If you really want to save money you could always go out and purchase fake flowers and then resell them after the wedding! You'd be surprised on how real some fake flowers look =)

5. Wedding rentals can be expensive but sometimes can save you the hassel of buying your stuff and trying to resell it after the wedding. Some rental companies are very reasonable and some are quite expensive so again do your research before you choose a place to rent from. You can rent anything from a few things and do the rest yourself to everything. A lot of brides now a days have a DIY wedding (Do it yourself) and make up most of the decorations, centerpieces , etc themselves. You can find out how to do and make a lot of different stuff online and get supplies from your local craft store. This also gets you more involved in your own wedding instead of someone else planning and doing everything for you. Not for everyone but it could save you a lot of money.

6. Photography can be VERY expensive. Sometime packages can run for about $2500 for a day of shooting. This doesn't have to be the case for you though. If you have a friend that dabbles in photography on the side that could do it for you for a good price thats always a good way. Another way is also to try and find someone just starting out and that maybe just graduated from photography school who is looking to get known. They can usually do it for about half of the cost and the pictures usually look great! Make sure before you pick a photographer that you check out their work and look at their portfolio first before you make a decision. One thing I learned is that every photographer has a different style and some styles just don't suit what you want or need. I looked through I few portfolios before I found a style that I really liked.

7. Wedding cakes can be very elaborate and thus expensive. You don't have to go to a bakery to order one though. Most grocery stores with bakeries in them do wedding cakes for about half the cost. You can end up with a really nice cake with 1,2, or 3 tiers for a lot less. You can still decide and design what you want and have the grocery bakery give you a quote to see if that option is for you. In my case I have a sister that is a baker so our wedding cake was her wedding gift to us!

Cupcakes are another way to go when it comes to weddings. A lot of people are doing it now and it is an inexpensive way to have cake. All the guest will enjoy their very own little taste of heaven and you can rent a cupcake stand for really cheap. You could even make the cupcakes yourself, freeze them and decorate them the day before the wedding if you are feeling really creative and frugal. Cupcakes are the new fad and sometimes there will be a little cake on the top for the bride and groom to cut and save for their first anniversary.

8. Wedding music doesn't have to be expensive. It can be anything from you playing a simple Ipod connected to speakers to a full fledge live DJ. You could also get someone you know who has a little brother to come and DJ your wedding for a small fee to take care to picking the playlist and making sure the buttons are pushed when they should be. This is a cheaper way to go. If you want to go ahead with a DJ, some are better then others. Do your research on prices and music selection to make sure they are going to play appropriate music for your wedding. Sometimes, if you don't want to pay for a DJ but want professional equipment, you can rent the equipment from them and not pay for their time to be there. This would make it much cheaper.

9. Wedding bands can be expensive, but if you stick with simple ti won't cost as much. Also if you go to some of the bridal fairs in your area before you get married, usually the jewellery boutiques offer discounts on their products (sometimes up to 20% off), which is a really great deal. You can also try shopping online for the best prices but then you can't see exactly what you are getting so buyer beware. if it's from a well know site though you are probably pretty safe.

10. Your wedding dress! Probably one of the most important things about your special day. Everything revolves around the dress and you want to make sure you look and feel like a million bucks because everyone will be looking at you. Most bridal stores have discount racks you can check out. This is where I found my dress, I bought it as is and didn't have to wait for it to be ordered. You could always try to find someone online looking to sell their used dress (usually only worn once). This is a great way to find a dress as some people spend $1000-$5000 on a dress on average and if they've only worn it once it still looks new. Usually you can get used dresses for $500-$1000 sometimes cheaper, which is only a fraction of the original price. My sister did this for her wedding and the girl she bought her dress from had bought two dresses and never even wore the dress she bought from her. So she got a dress less then half the cost that had never been worn before. She got a great steal!

Well I hope this post gives you some insight on how to keep your budget low when it comes to your wedding. My wedding was one of the best days of my life and I never really had to worry too much about cost. I did my research and got a ton of quotes and compares prices. In a competitive industry prices can vary so always get a few different quotes from merchants and rental companies. Write down how much to expect to spend on everything and an overall budget for yourself (the max you would want to spend). Figure out what the three top priorities are for you wedding (what matters the most because every bride is different). Set your budget a bit higher for your top three picks and then distribute the rest of the budget for the other items. The start shopping and looking around for prices!

Happy Planning!