Save Money on Your Wedding (Part 2)
Weddings are one of the biggest expenditures for couples. But you can have a lavish party-without the price tag. Read on to find sneaky ways to scale back.
- Use the same venue for the ceremony and reception. You cut the cost and won’t have to pay for a limo to ferry you between locations, too.
- If possible, hold your reception to your church’s attached or affiliated hall. It will be much less costly than upscale hotels or catering halls.
- Consider Non-Traditional Venues. A bed & breakfast, a public park, or an art gallery for your reception are just some places that don’t typically host weddings so they do not have the same exorbitant prices as those that are well-known for being wedding venues.
- Select a reception site that allows you to bring in your own alcohol. If you’re serving alcohol at your wedding, choose a place that allows you to bring in your own liquor, wine, and beer. This is where most venues really jack up the prices to make money off of receptions. Even if you’re required to pay a corkage fee (a charge to simply open each bottle—usually $2 to $5 a pop), you can save hundreds of dollars by bringing your own spirits for the party.
- Shorten the Reception. Some venues will charge you by the hour. To shave off some cost, consider shortening the reception by one hour. Many guests won’t even notice since they leave receptions early.
Invitations and Stationery
- Minimize paper. Have your reception time and place printed at the bottom of your invitation instead of on a separate reception card. You’ll save the cost of the paper and the additional postage.
- Look for package deals. Order thank-you notes when you buy your wedding invitations, as some stationers give discounts for bulk orders.
- Investigate other printing options. Hefty calligraphy costs can set you back by $2 to $3 per envelope. Save that money by enlisting the help of a pal with pretty penmanship, or using your computer and a good-quality printer, to address your envelopes.
- Go paperless. You can use Evite, which is the first to market with online invitations, but you can also try Paperless Post, Glo, or Pingg. These services have followed suit with gorgeous templates and customization options to create the online save-the-date or wedding invitation of your dreams. Most options allow you to send an invitation and field RSVPs without a single stamp. Even if you send paper invitations, cut down on costs by asking guests to RSVP by email or on a password-protected website.
- Anticipate errors. Proofread — a hundred times. Having your wedding invitations reprinted will throw a wrench in your budget planning.
Budget Dresses and Suits
- Buy used. It may not sound romantic, but you can get a used gown for 30 to 90 per cent off. And, unlike other clothing, it was probably only worn once.
- Wear your mother’s dress. It can count as your "something borrowed," and all you'll have to pay for will be the costs of cleaning and any alterations that are required.
- Have your dress made. Check into local dress shops and seamstresses who make wedding gowns. They can emulate a gown you admire, or you can combine features from several you like and the price, though not rock bottom, will be lower than that of a designer gown.
- Choose a suit over a tux. They can look just as handsome and put together in a finely tailored suit, as they can in a tuxedo.
- Rent suits from the same shop. Many businesses will throw in the groom's formalwear for free.
Food and Beverage
- Provide your own appetizers. This may sound time consuming, but it’s actually quite easy, particularly if you choose appetizers that can be made ahead of time and frozen, then just warmed up right before cocktail hour. Most caterers charge an overinflated price for appetizers, and you can save up to 50% of the cost this way.
- Get estimates on the price of both plated and buffet meals. Don't assume a buffet dinner will be less expensive than a sit-down dinner, since buffets generally require more food overall.
- Serve one signature drink. If you really want to serve liquor at your wedding, consider serving one signature drink, perhaps you and your future spouses’ favourite. It would be fun for the guests to try it out, and it would save you money since it would require limited alcohol.
- Widen your food options. Skip the traditional, pricey steak and seafood entrées in favor of ethnic fare such as Mexican or Indian dishes. Not only is cultural cuisine trendy, it’s also pocketbook-friendly. Or, make sure you do not serve anything out of season. This can be very costly because the food needs to be transported long distances, which inflates prices.
- Save money on the cake. Serve beautifully decorated cupcakes—or even a variety of doughnuts—instead of an ornate cake that requires many hours to create. You can stack these sweet treats on a large, cake-shaped, tiered tray.
- Choose a florist who is happy to work to your budget. You may have to compromise on the specific flowers or type of arrangements you want in order to keep costs realistic, but a good florist will be able to suggest budget-friendly options that will look just as stunning.
- Choose locally grown, seasonal flowers. These are less expensive, and you can save hundreds of dollars by opting for this rather than getting imported flowers. Do online research to learn what flowers are in season in your area.
- Choose a nature venue. Botanical parks, town squares and gardens are lovely options, and they can reduce what you would otherwise spend on flowers.
- Use more greenery than flowers. Cut down the number of flowers you need in bouquets and centrepieces by using plenty of inexpensive greenery, like ivy and baby’s breath.
- Consider mixing your decoration options. Get the most from your floral fund by using each arrangement in more than one way. Use low centrepieces. Include non-florals, like lanterns and containers of water with floating candles. You can also scatter rose petals on the table for a romantic look. Opt to have each gal carry a single exquisite flower, like an orchid or a calla lily.