If you’re planning a wedding, you’re probably shocked by how much everything costs. I polled several wedding experts and came up with plenty of ways to cut corners without your guests catching on.
Marta Segal Block, editorial director of GigMasters.com, suggests, “Have a Friday or Sunday evening wedding. Venues are less expensive at these times. Also, people don’t tend to drink as much as they do on a Saturday night!”
Why not customize your own invitations? Expressionery.com offers adorable, affordable personalized invitations that you can make truly unique with on-screen previews and multiple font choices. You’ll find thousands of choices that you won’t find anywhere else. These (pictured) are the Lime Border Invitations, with added decorations from a craft store. The stamp embellishment was made with the PSA Essentials Harrington Stamp from Expressionery.
The leading website for wedding dress resale, PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com, offers two money-saving options: You can sell your gown after you wear it, and recoup up to 50 percent off what you paid. Conversely, you can buy a pre-worn gown. Wedding dresses are usually only worn for five hours or so, so it’s a fantastic way to save up to 50 percent off retail.
When it comes to negotiating with photographers, New Jersey wedding photographer Erol Ata of CIP Studios, suggests, “Ask the studio to provide CDs of high-res images and no prints. This way the bride can make prints and create her own albums at a more reasonable price on her own time.”
Most videographers use one or two cameras per wedding, and they are booked by the hour. The company Wedit mails you five HD handheld video cameras to use for five days. Afterward, you pop the cameras back in the box and mail them with the prepaid shipping label. The Wedit team edits a highlight reel and video with your feedback and delivers the finished product in less than a month, at about half the price of traditional videography.
Angie Zimmerman, a florist in El Dorado Hills, California, who has written the Do It Yourself Flower Guide, says to “use flowers that are in season, and then leave it to the florist to pick flowers that match your color scheme and fit within your budget.”
Another option along those lines is to do your own flowers. Buy the flowers the day before at a local flower market and create your own simple arrangements. My maid of honor and I did this, and it was a wonderful bonding experience for us.
To avoid a big food bill, wedding planner Greg Jenkins of Bravo Productions, provided these tips:
simple cheese and fruit platters instead of expensive appetizers. Also, eliminate the carving stations of prime rib and jumbo shrimp and opt for more inexpensive fare such as chicken, fish and mini
Wedding officiant and former high-end caterer Celia Milton, of New Jersey, says, “One of my favorite ideas is to have a mini wedding cake on each table instead of a huge flower arrangement; it can do double duty as dessert, of course, and each table can have a ‘designated cutter,’ which is a real conversation piece.”
“Don’t have a full bar,” advises Block. “You should never ask your guests to pay for their own drinks, but you don’t need to provide them everything under the sun. Just serving wine and a specialty drink can save you a ton of money.”
Philadelphia wedding planner Stacey Halstead, of Create the Moment, suggests, “Register for your honeymoon! Most travel agents can create a registry through their website, and couples can register for things they want—airfare, scuba diving, helicopter rides, etc.”
My husband and I did this. We married in our late 30s, so we didn’t need china and serving trays. The registry paid for our entire three-week trip to Southeast Asia, and we mailed thank-you postcards along the way to everyone who contributed. From all the photos we took, we created an online album so everyone could see how much we loved our gift.