Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Budget Saving 101

I found this Wedding Budget article on The Knot and wanted to post it for all those that are looking for creative ways to stay on budget. Below the article, are some additional budget saving tips of my own.

Whatever your budget, you don't have to resort to DIY bouquets to come in on target. Follow these three tips to have a chic wedding without sacrificing one iota of style.

Step 1: Decide What's Most Important
  • Pick your top three priorities and allocate a little extra money for them (i.e., gown, catering, and band). Next, pick the three things that come lowest on your priority list (maybe style, flowers, cake, invitations), and budget accordingly.

Step 2: Cut the Guest List

  • One of the fastest and most effective ways to lower your wedding cost is to pare down the invitees. Get out that red pen! At $100 a head, taking 10 guests off the guest list saves $1,000! Also consider the size of your wedding party: Gifts, hair, and makeup are cheaper for two than for ten.
  • Knot Note: Having trouble figuring out which guests to cut? Make a rule and whittle away. Rule #1: If you have never spoken to, met, or heard the name of a particular guest, they get cut. Rule #2: Anyone whose bedtime occurs before 9 p.m. will miss the cake cutting anyway, and probably won't have the best time. (All under-12 year-olds get a no) Rule #3: Significant others? Consider someone worthy of an invite if he or she is currently living with or has been in a relationship for more than one year with the friend you want to invite.

Step 3: Pass on Pricey Details

  • Glamorous details on items you're indifferent about spike costs without adding any fun to your day. Free yourself of the pressure to upgrade and instead make honest choices based on what you want. Ask yourself, "Will anyone notice if we don't do this?"
    -Having two shades of ink on your invitation might match your color scheme, but it can also add massive printing costs; square invites require extra postage.
    -Town Cars will shuttle your wedding party to the reception just as effectively as a Hummer stretch limo.
    -If you're happy with simple wedding pictures, pass on options like sepia tones, multiple exposures, and split frames.
    -Choose flowers that are in season, and pick locally grown flowers rather than blooms that need to be flown in from afar to reduce costs.
    -Substitute less expensive flowers: If you exchange Black Magic roses for more reasonably priced, deeply colored dahlias in all your bouquets and table arrangements, you'll save about $4 a stem. If you were planning on having five roses per bouquet and ten per centerpiece and have a wedding party of five gals and guest list of 150 people, you could save $700.
    -Reduce the number of overall dinner courses (making each of three courses fabulous, costs less than serving five individual courses) and keep your menu simple. Stick with the specialties of the season and region.
    -Have the caterers bring out the fancy Dom Perignon for the toast, but then switch to a less expensive champagne for the rest of the night -- no one will ever see the bottle or know the difference.
    -Order a small, fabulous cake that's exactly what you want and, in the kitchen, have several sheet cakes of the same flavor cut for your guests. And stay away from tiers and (time-consuming) handmade sugar flowers or special molded shapes. Have your caterer decorate each plate with a flavored sauce instead. Forgo fondant: Buttercream frosting is tastier and less expensive.

-The Knot

**Now for some budget saving tips of my own:

  • Save the Dates ~ Instead of sending out save the date cards by mail, use one of the many websites such as The Knot to send out ‘save the date’ emails. This service is 100% free and saves a lot of time!
  • Shop around for florists to ensure you are getting the most for your money. If your decoration/flower budget is relatively low, consider having your wedding in a garden where the backdrop and the surroundings can serve as your decorations.
  • Think location! If you prefer a church wedding, choose a church with beautiful stained glass windows with rich architecture to add to the overall feel. Not only will this save on ceremony decoration costs; but your ceremony will look and feel expensive. A friend or family member's backyard/home is also an inexpensive way to go if space permits. The ceremony and reception are both generally located here, which can save an enormous amount of money on rental fees.
  • In addition to the above tip on cutting cake costs, consider having cupcakes instead of a traditional wedding cake. Cupcakes cost considerably less and can still be personalized just as much as a traditional cake.
  • Consider DIY favors, ceremony programs, and even place cards. Invest in a quality printer and ask a creative friend or bridesmaid to assist you with these. Plus, it's always a great excuse to get the girls together for a night in! Or consider skipping favors all together. This is a touchy topic with brides depending on each brides personality and style, but if you are on a tight budget, skipping favors can save you $100-500 depending on the style of favor and guest count.
  • Consider a Friday evening or Sunday wedding instead of the traditional Saturday wedding. Changing the day of the week your wedding is held on can save you an enormous amount of money with your vendors. Often times vendors of all types will offer special discounts or promotions if your wedding is held on an "off" day.

I could go on for hours about ways to cut costs and STILL have a fabulous day and the wedding of your dreams! It's actually one of my favorite aspects of planning...I love being creative and finding ways for couples to get the most for their money. I have TONS more budget saving tips that I would love to share with everyone, so I think that this blog will be a two-part series! Check back later this week for the next part!

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