Wedding Ideas

10 Ways to Save Bridal Bucks!

Posted At : March 30, 2009 4:25 PM   |  Posted By : Bridal Network   |  Views: 19,239
Articles on these Topics: Wedding on a Budget,Wedding Planning
Articles about these Services: Flowers & Florists, Consultants & Event Planners, Wedding Supplies & Favours, Invitations: Stationery, Books, Seminars & Workshops, Reception: Wedding Venues & Halls, Decorating: Supplies, Rentals & DIY, Catering & Beverages

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By Shannon Valente - Frit Fru Weddings, Calgary.

From "Yes" to "I do," the moments, days, and months between your engagement and your wedding day are sure to be a whirlwind of excitement and emotions. But while your love may be priceless, the event itself certainly won't be. From the engagement ring to the perfect dress to the reception hall, the trappings of the average modern-day wedding can quickly tally up to $30,000 or more--enough to send any couple (and their parents) into sticker shock.

Luckily, there are some thrifty shortcuts that can translate into substantial savings. As an experienced wedding planner and an expert in the event planning industry, I'm always getting questions from budget-conscious brides about how they can lower soaring costs. While there may be areas where you'll need to sacrifice, it's definitely possible to pull off your dream wedding (or, at the very least, come pretty close) without draining the bank accounts of everyone involved.

When deciding where to cut corners, the first step is to prioritize. Determine what aspects of your special day are most important to you and devote a majority of your budget accordingly. For less important details, look for ways to economize. Chances are, your sacrifices won't even be noticed by the guests. Like any good wedding planner, I've got a nose for bargains. Coupled with an insider's knowledge of the bridal industry, my thriftiness has saved my clients thousands of dollars in wedding costs. Now, I'm happy to share some of my favourite penny-pinching tips with you.

Shannon's Top-10 Ways to Save on your Wedding

1. Setting the Tone

The invitation sets the tone for your entire event, with different paper stock, font types, verbiage, and colours reflecting the theme and style of the wedding. Ordering custom invites from a professional stationery company can be pricey. You can easily save hundreds of dollars by making them yourself. You can purchase your own card stock--or a complete invitation kit--from a craft shop or wedding supply store, and then use a printer to print them at home. If you don't have a quality colour printer, you can send them to a local or online printing company. And why stop there? While you're at it, you can save even more by designing and printing your own wedding programs, save-the-date announcements, and custom wedding favours.

2. Location, location, location

With churches and reception halls charging higher prices than ever, many brides are saving big by consolidating the ceremony and celebration into one convenient setting. If you're looking for an alternative to a traditional church wedding, many reception halls have botanical gardens, courtyards, or lofts that can be used as a ceremony venue. After the vows, guests can convene for cocktail hour until the wedding party joins them in the reception hall. Your guests will appreciate the minimized travel time, and you'll enjoy the substantial savings.

3. Frugal Feast

For most events, the biggest chunk of change is spent on the food. Instead of paying the premium prices of a reception hall's menu, try to choose a venue that allows you to bring in your own catering service. This will allow you the flexibility to shop around and find the best available prices, with the added bonus of having complete control over your event menu.

4. Save on Spirits

A large majority of wedding receptions include some type of alcoholic beverage, usually beer, wine, and champagne. If you order your spirits from the reception venue, you'll likely pay a steep premium. One way to save is to find a venue that allows you to bring your own alcohol. You may pay a surcharge for the bartenders to serve it, but it will still cost significantly less. Enterprising types might consider making their own wine at a wine-making store, and then adding customized labels with your name and wedding date.


5. Do Yourself a Favour

Wedding favours may seem like an inconsequential component of the grand event, but if you're inviting two hundred guests, a seemingly small trinket can suddenly add up to a hefty sum. Many frugal brides save money by making their own wedding favours. If you're using candles, ribbons, photo frames, tulle, or other non-perishable materials, you can make them weeks or even months in advance of your wedding night. Page through wedding magazines or visit craft stores for inspiration. Once you've settled on an idea and gathered all of your supplies, invite your bridesmaids over for a favour-making party. Another unique, simple idea is to print out some bookmarks (on recycled paper) with a message informing guests that a charitable donation has been made in their name.

6. Center Stage

Elaborate, sophisticated table centerpieces may look nice, but they can quickly stretch your budget beyond its limits. For a more economical option, try taking a cue from nature. If you're having a fall wedding, gather small pumpkins and colourful gourds to place strategically on tabletops. For a winter wedding, collect some pine cones and spray-paint them in colours to match your theme. Add splashes of colour to spring and summer weddings with flower petals and baskets of succulent fruit. If you do opt to purchase pre-arranged centerpieces, you can try to re-sell them after your event to regain a portion of the expense.

7. Let Them Eat Cake

Wedding cakes run the gamut from understated to extravagant, but even the simplest varieties can make for an expensive sweet tooth. The truth is, by the time the cake is cut, most of your guests will likely be in the throes of festivity, more concerned about getting back out on the dance floor than noticing the artistically applied cake designs. Save hundreds by asking your baker to make only the top one or two tiers of your cake, and then use a fake cake for the rest. Have a simple sheet cake in the back for guests--when the catering staff cuts and serves it, no-one will be the wiser, and you'll have saved a bundle.

8. Botanicals on a Budget

It can be tempting to go overboard on lavish arrangements, but sometimes the simplest options can make the most elegant impact, all while leaving your budget intact. Choose an oversized flower that makes a grand statement, pairing one or two with some greenery. Another way to save is to choose seasonal flowers (out of season blooms can often carry a surcharge).

9. Thrifty Tunes

Nothing raises the festivity of a wedding celebration quite like live music. A string quartet, harpist, or live band can add elegance and energy to your reception, but they can also wreak havoc on your budget. For a more cost-effective mode of entertainment, consider asking a musically inclined friend or family member to perform. If you know a professional singer, guitar player, or violinist, let them know that their musical efforts at your ceremony or reception can serve as their unique wedding gift to you. Not only will their musical contribution save big bucks, it will also infuse the proceedings with a highly personal touch.

10. Discount Décor

To get the most mileage out of your wedding decorations, have them do double-duty at both the ceremony and the reception. Enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member (or wedding coordinator) to transport items like decorative lighting, candles, chair covers, and flowers from the ceremony site to the party venue. When consulting with vendors, choose do-it-yourself wedding decorations whenever possible. For instance, opt to set up your own chair covers the day before the big event to eliminate extra charges.

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