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How to Budget and Save Money on Your Wedding Attire, Flowers, Photo-Video, Venue and Meal-Bar
WEDDING GOWNS and DRESSES
Wedding gowns are very expensive. However, there are many options you may exercise to get what you want and save money.
- Do you have a friend or a family member who sews? Engage them and in return give them the honor of serving as an attendant at your wedding party.
- If you shop for a gown on the internet you will probably find beautiful gowns reasonably priced. Before you decide to have your wedding gown custom made, go to department stores and check their sales and discontinued corner.
- Occasionally, department and bridal stores have sample sales and wedding gowns on clearance. When they do, you can buy a gown at a fraction of its original price and save a “ton” of money. Don’t be shy. Ask the bridal salon manager when they plan to have an end of the season clearance sale. They need to make room for the new styles. Another option is buying a sample gown which was used for a fashion show or a display.
- If you still cannot find just that special gown, consider a simple gown off the rack. Or comb the wedding ads and auction sites on and off the web. You’ll probably be able to buy a gown that was used only once or even a brand new one for “peanuts”.
- To save even more, you may consider a “prom” or a bridesmaid dress.
Today it is customary for the bridesmaids to purchase their own dresses and shoes. Since you probably intend to gift your maid of honor and bridesmaids, provide them with accessories. It is customery to gift them with custom jewelry that coordinates well with their gowns or dresses. Whether the jewelry is a necklace, errings or a bracelet, it does not have to be expensive. However, it does need to be of good quality and look good.
GROOM and GROOMSMEN
Depending on your wedding motif, the groom and grooms men can wear a dark suit and a dress shirt.You should give them matching ties for uniformity and a tie clip and cufflinks as a keepsake gift. If your wedding calls for tuxedos, have the men in the wedding party rent the tuxedos and shoes. Here again, you should gift them with the accessories. Many rental places will furnish the groom’s attire for free if all the men from the wedding party rent at the same time as one package. So, have all the men order and have the fitting at the same time. Even if you take them out for a meal after the fitting, having the groom’s attire for free, will save you money.
- Choose flowers that are in season and are grown locally.
- You can save money on your flower arrangements if you are willing to be ‘original’ and creative.
- If any of your guests creates flower arrangements even as a hobby, ask them to do the flower arrangements for your wedding.
- If you cannot find a capable guest, you’ll need to purchase the bridal bouquet and the flowers for the altar at a reputable florist.
- Transfer the flower arrangements from the ceremony to the reception.
- Consider giving the bridesmaids mixed seasonal flowers. They are available in supermarkets and Even at Costco and Sam’s Club at a fraction of the price charged by a florist.
- Place vases on the reception tables and ask your bridesmaids to insert their bouquets in these vases to serve as centerpieces for the reception tables. Your bridesmaids will oblige and after the reception they will take home their flowers and the vases as well. The flowers will not keep forever, but the vases will become keep sake mementos of your wedding and, you’ll save lots of money.
PHOTOGRAPHERS and VIDEOGRAPHERS
When it comes to photographers and videographers, choose your professionals very carefully. Your wedding day will come and go and the photos and video will serve as mementos and memories of your big day. Viewing them you will re-live it, and be able to share it with your kids and theirs building a family history.
Before hiring a photographer or a videographer interview at lease 3. Compare their work, prices and references. Choose the very best that are within your budget. Even if you need to choose a smaller package, here is where you want the very best. Go for it. Just as personalized wedding gifts and accessories will become treasured keepsakes to share with and hand down to your children, so will your photos and videos.
Most all your wedding gusts have cameras in their cell phones. Ask them to take pictures too. These pictures will usually be real and spontaneous and reflect your wedding as seen by your guests.
The reception is the most expensive part of your wedding. The meal is the most expensive part of the reception. However, you can plan it within your budget and have a memorable event. You must be very particular when choosing the site. It must be appropriate and fit in with your reception plan. It does not have to be a traditional hall. How about having your wedding in a historical home, a park, a museum, fair grounds, public gardens, on the beach, at your place of worship, in a club house etc…
You also need to know if the venue supplies you with all your furniture and dining needs. If not, you must calculate the rental fees.
When choosing a wedding site, choose slow period and either a Friday evening, Sunday afternoon or Midweek. When caterers are not busy, you’ll be able to negotiate with them for the best deals.
MEAL and BAR
- If you invite some good cooks to your wedding, you may ask them to prepare their favorite recipes for your reception.
- If you invite some good bakers ask if they could prepare sweets and desserts or maybe even your wedding cake. You’ll save money and they will feel honored for being asked. In fact they’ll probably be delighted to serve as well.
- If you have your reception catered, you must consider: the number of guests, the time of day and how the food will be served.
- Will it be:
- refreshments only,
- dessert only,
- light snack,
- a sit-down,
- a buffet?
- Will you serve alcohol?
- Will bar tenders serve alcohol?
- Will it be an open bar?
- Who will pay for the drinks you or your guests?
- Or,instead of having an open bar with hard liquor, serve only champagne, wine and beer. If you purchase these, ask the retailer if you cen return un-opened bottles. Big Box retailers such as Costco and Sam’s Club accept returns.
There is an enormous difference in price between a light brunch, a catered five course sit-down meal and everything in between.
Following are some suggestions you may check out to fit your budget.
- Have a brunch or an early lunch. Serve fruit and vegetables, salads, eggs, cheeses, pastries, coffee, tea and cold drinks buffet style.
- Have a late lunch and you’ll only need to add some meats and poultry. At your option, you may still serve it buffet style, or as a sit-down meal.
- For a dinner reception, you may serve a buffet style or a sit-down dinner. A catered dinner is by far your most expensive choice.
DON’T BE AFRAID to ASK for FAVORS
Most of the time, you will find that people will feel honored to be asked to contribute their talents and connections to your special day. When I got married, my brother ‘s best friend who is a DJ was more than happy to provide his services as a wedding gift to me and my groom.
See if you can borrow a friend or family member’s accessories. Something as simple as a head piece, a veil or jewelry can be very costly when purchased new. You will have plenty of “Something New” items but you need “something borrowed”. So, find someone who has an accessory just stored away in her closet and who will be more than happy to lend it to you as your “something borrowed”. “Something Old” “Something Blue”and a Sixpence for your Shoe. For my wedding, my father in law replaced it with a dime. I have been happily maried foe 55 years. So I guess that the Dime served me well.
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