Tips for the Bride on a Budget - From a Bridal Consultant
I have been a bridal consultant for many years now and the first question I get from every bride is about price and how to save money. I find it disturbing that couples have to go through so much financial difficulty just to get the Wedding they really want and deserve to have.
There are things you can do to cut down the price tag of a wedding without taking away from the dream of a perfect day. The best thing to do is to start planning at least a year from the wedding date. Here is a rundown on what to cut costs with and how -- and also what you shouldn't cut costs on.
1) Invitations - CUT COSTS
Invitations are very expensive, especially if you are having a large wedding or if you are looking for something really fancy. One of the ways to cut costs is to make them yourself. You can now go to any department store and purchase blank invitations. The card stock is THE SAME as what you would get from an invitation dealer. You are not getting lower quality because of it. You may then use your home printer to add whatever verse or wording you would like on your invitation or if you have nice handwriting, just write it out yourself -- that is after all considered the most elegant way of inviting your guests.
2) The Dress - Don't CUT COSTS
The only time I suggest cutting costs on the dress is if your family is in with the tradition of grandmother to mother to daughter hand-me-down and all you may need are alterations. This is YOUR WEDDING DAY and your dress should be exactly what you want.
3) The Flowers - CUT COSTS
You can cut the cost of flowers down dramatically. This is probably one of the more costly things in a wedding. My first suggestion is to go with Silk Flowers for the Bride and her party and natural flowers for the tables. (If you want to give the centerpieces out as your souvenir, then get silk flowers for the tables as well, this way you don't have to spend on other souvenirs for your guests.) Do some research on Silk flowers as they do get very expensive if you go with a large retailer, but if you go with a designer that works on their own, it will be more affordable and you usually get more personal attention.
4) The Souvenirs - Cut Costs
Your guests are there for you and although they all like souvenirs they will appreciate even the smallest of attentions.
5) The Food - Cut Costs on Servers
I would never suggest to cut costs on the food itself. Did you know that what people remember and talk about the most after a wedding is the quality of the food. Cut costs by getting a better menu and deleting the servers. If you really want to have a server, have a buffet style set up with a few people helping the guests serve themselves -- They keep the line moving! So, instead of just dinner, with few choices and lots of servers, get a few servers and LOTS of food choices -- and perhaps this way you can add an attractive fruit and cheese table that will add a lot of beauty to your hall and will satisfy not only the eyes but the bellies of your guests. They will be pleased and so will you!
6) The Alcohol - CUT COSTS
A lot of people have an open bar, but that can be very costly. I suggest that you limit the open bar to wine, soda, iced tea and water only -- remember, there will be champagne too during the toast. If people want to get smashed, be sure they do it with their own money. They are less likely to drink as heavily and you can avoid any Wedding Day mishaps.
7) The Limo - Cut Costs
You can cut costs on the limo by hiring them by the hour. Some limo companies charge you for the entire day, but you can also hire them for 1 hour to do the drop off at the reception, have them leave and then 'hire' them for another hour to do the pick up once the party is over. Of course, you cut can the limo out completely and just rent a luxury vehicle and have a friend or family member drive you both around. They will be honored, you will still be in style and everyone will be happy.
8) The Honeymoon - NEVER CUT COSTS!
Don't ever cut costs on your honeymoon. At least not in a way that will cause your travel arrangements to become a problem or your hotel to be less than what you deserve. This is imperative. Go somewhere comfortable and fun and make sure there is plenty for you both to do and see while you are there. Even if you don't go far, pick the best accommodations you can afford. Perhaps you can get something with a kitchen and make yourselves breakfast in bed or order room service, but this is supposed to be one of the best vacations in your life, so pay for quality and that is what you shall receive!
With all that said -- Congratulations and I hope this has helped you with you planning needs!
Barbara Omland - Wedding Planner - Florist - Crafter