Mr. Christopher hitting the web waves with some great wedding advice to help with your wedding planning. I’ve perused the web for you and dug up all of the lists that I could find on budget weddings. Nowadays the wallet is tight and as a father of not one, not two, but THREE girls, I can tell you, I’ll be trying to find ways to cut corners in every way possible. So I scraped together the 10 best tips out of all gazillion that were out there. Here are the most common money saving ideas.
1. Home Grown – Almost all of the lists made reference to picking a local florist. Not only picking a local florist, but to be wary of what types of flowers you’re picking. Getting a dark orchid at under a dollar piece instead of that Egyptian Tiger Lilly kissed by the pharaoh’s daughter at $10 a stem is a big way to save money on something that unfortunately is going to die within a week.
Cool tip: Pick up a bag of white play sand for about $10 at your hardware store and bury any arrangements that you want to keep in the sand for a few days which will naturally dry the bouquets. They maintain their color, never die, and you can then use them in art projects, frame them, put in a baggie for memories, or whatever you’d like to do with them.
2. Play That Funky Music – Another popular tip referred to bands and DJ’s. Most of the lists suggested that you ditch the DJ or band and just make some mix CD’s to play. The truth about this is that you can really kill the vibe of the reception if your mix CD is cranking Michael Bolton when your guests are ready to rock. So ditching the DJ is fine, but if you can have that tech savvy music lover in your family (and there’s always one) manning the CD player, you can alleviate some of that awkwardness that comes from bad music placement.
Cool Tip: You can buy a CD mixer for dirt cheap on Ebay (under $50 and super easy to use) that will connect two CD players so that your family member running the CD’s can fade from one song on one CD player to the other so that there’s no awkwardness while they take one CD out of the player to replace it with another. Dead air sucks.
3. Let Them Eat Cake (or not) – Bakeries that specialize in wedding cakes will drain your wallet dry depending on how big you’d like your cake to be. Independent bakeries might even be able to make nice two tiered cake for a fraction of the cost. Many brides refuse to cut this corner, but shop around and especially small local bakeries.
Cool Tip: Great cake ideas like tiered cupcakes or Twinkies is also extremely memorable and very popular. Tres chic. Whatever that means.
4. Do Me a Favor – Wedding favors don’t have to be expensive. There are great places online that offer inexpensive wedding favors like GetMarried.com. Some people also make their own if your artistically inclined and if you have the time.
5. Invitations – While a lot of brides are even willing to print out their own wedding invitations, you might want to look at some of the online companies out there that offer printing services. A lot of them do not have the overhead that some of larger brick and mortar companies and they can print massive amounts of invitations for dirt cheap. Once you figure in the cost of paper, ink, and envelopes, you might as well have someone else do the work.
6. Friday Night Lights – This was listed on a few lists. Most weddings are on Saturdays and that’s why churches and venues charge extremely higher rates. They know that it may be easier to get your friends in relatives in town on a weekend then say, a Friday. But you’d be shocked at just how drastic the price difference is if you were to book your wedding on a weekday instead. If your attendees know about it with good advance notice, you’ll not only save tons of cash, but also greatly open up your options for venues. The time of day also has a big impact on what you’ll spend. Plan it around dinner and you’re feeding your guests dinner. If that’s the plan, then…
7. Mini Menu – If dinner is on your plan of events for your guests, keep the menu limited. This applies to rehearsal dinners as well. Keeping the selection simple will normally keep your catering costs down. Some lists even suggested a friendly backyard barbecue for the rehearsal dinner which is an excellent idea. Being able to just relax and let the guys do the cooking is inexpensive and relaxing because you’re home. Just make sure you get some relatives to commit to helping you clean up afterward.
8. Drinky Drinky – Open bars guarantee that people will come. It will also guarantee that you will get slammed with a hefty bill at the end of the night. Alcohol makes the costs skyrocket, so doing without will make a huge difference. You can get inventive with non-alcoholic specialty drinks like the “sprite/sherbet punch in a bowl” phenomenon. You can also make sure that your guests aren’t driving their children home while under the influence. If you simply must have alcohol at your wedding, keep it beer and wine. Decorate large bins filled with ice offering a selection of brew, red wine, white wine, etc. Hard liquor is a definite no unless they bring their own.
9. Dress for Success
For the Bride: Wedding dresses are so ridiculously expensive and especially ones that are custom made. Many brides find great deals on the clearance rack and some are even finding their dress for the big day at department stores. With stores like Target getting into the wedding dress business, finding that beautiful wedding gown may be only a hundred bucks away and nobody will be the wiser. If everyone thinks you look gorgeous and like a million bucks, what in the world does it matter? Especially when it will end up in a box in the attic and stored for years after only being worn once.
For the Groom – Let’s face it. 95% of grooms go to a tux rental store to get there tuxes for the big day. Make sure you prowl the online coupon sites for huge deep discounts on tux deals. They are all clamoring for your business and will undercut their competition by leaps and bounds to get your dollar.
10. Involve the Family – You probably have multiple family members that can help in some form or fashion and save you hundreds if not thousands. Got a uncle who drives a taxi? Have him do the chauffeur duties. Paying him $100 for the night will save you tons of cash. Got a teen who’s an MP3 player junkie? You got your DJ! Just like you, your family members are cutting corners too. Instead of requesting wedding gifts, ask for their help in whatever their specialty may be. You may be surprised if you send out an email to ask them how they can help and find hidden talents that you never knew existed.
As always, some brides just refuse to cut corners and have dreamed of their wedding day since they were children and they have a vision as to how to plan their wedding. Hopefully these tips will save you big bucks and also help with your wedding planning. If you’d like more great wedding advice, be sure to tune into WeTV on Saturdays to watch Get Married or visit their website online at http://www.getmarried.com for everything from wedding planning tips, wedding invitations, wedding favors and gifts, real wedding videos from couples just like you for inspiration and so much more!