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Inspiration Detail | Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

Whether you prefer a grand event or an intimate affair with close friends and family, there are always opportunities to save a little cash during your wedding-planning process. These money-saving strategies just might allow you to splurge on that amazing honeymoon you have always wanted.

Rental prices for your reception venue may vary depending on the month you are looking to wed. Typically, prices are lower in the off-peak months of November through April. So, if you don’t have your heart set on a summer or early fall wedding, saying “I do!” in the cooler months may save you significant dollars on your reception venue. 

Consider selecting a weekday or Sunday as your wedding day. Many couples are opting for a Thursday or Friday evening or even a Sunday celebration, simply to save on wedding costs. Not only do many reception venues have special pricing for weekday or Sunday weddings, but other wedding vendors also may offer discounts to couples who wed on a weekday or Sunday. If you feel a single evening is just not enough, consider making your Friday wedding into a weekend celebration with friends and family. It can be a great way to celebrate the occasion and gather the entire family together for a few days.

Many reception locations provide rentals in their reception rental price. Items may include tables, chairs, linens, basic china and stemware. However, if you’re looking at an outdoor venue or even a non-traditional location, you may be faced with larger rental fees. If you are pinching your pennies, consider celebrating at a location that provides all the essentials. This may save you some money that you can devote to bringing in vintage china or allowing for an upgrade from your standard white linens to something with a texture or pattern. 

Many couples select a buffet option for their reception because they believe they are getting a better value and the most food for their money. But often times they are spending more than they would if they selected a plated dinner. Not only are plated dinners often less expensive per person because of portion control, but your guests’ dining experience is more relaxing without the interruption of standing in a buffet line. 

Drink options are many and varied. For those couples who do not wish to have an open bar at their reception, the perfect solution would be to provide guests a complimentary signature drink during the cocktail hour and dinner. Another option is to host beer, wine and a special signature drink instead of a full open bar. This provides your guests a selection of beverages without the risk of a hefty price tag. Work with your bartender for a customized drink that reflects (1) your personality as a couple, (2) your wedding style and (3) the season.  

It is common practice to host a cocktail hour with appetizers between the ceremony and reception. Many couples shy away from a cocktail hour because they don’t have room in their budgets to spend an extra $5 to $8 per guest. But, if you are looking to save some cash without sacrificing your cocktail hour, ask your reception coordinator to have appetizers butler passed, rather than hosting a buffet table. This controls the number of appetizers needed to appropriately serve your guests, and in turn controls the cost.

If you’ve always dreamed of wearing a designer gown, but can’t afford the price tag, look into local trunk shows at area bridal salons. Often these events are posted online or you can even be notified by social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Trunk shows give you the opportunity to purchase a designer gown at a discounted price. If you have your heart set on a certain designer, visit their website for any listed trunk shows in the area.

Another way to save some money when purchasing a wedding gown is to attend sales events hosted by local salons. In order to make room for new wedding gowns hot off the runway, salons often have blowout sales for gowns that are from the last season or two. Not only will you score a stunning designer gown, but you will also save money that you can put towards new bridal shoes or accessories. 

The tradition of “something borrowed” has taken on a modern twist when it comes to bridal jewelry. Rather than borrowing your grandmother’s string of pearls, borrow expensive and stylish jewels from websites like adorn.com or renttherunway.com. Both of these sites offer weekend rental pieces that will make you sparkle at a fraction of the retail price.

Rather than focusing on the type of flowers in your bouquet and centerpieces, focus on the color and shape of the blooms. Brides often set their hearts on certain flowers, such as peonies which only bloom in the spring. But by focusing on the hues of your favorite flowers, the floral designer is free to use different stems that may fit your budget better while still giving you the look and feel you desire. If you simply cannot imagine your special day without white peonies, use them sparingly by limiting their use to your bridal bouquet. Most wedding guests do not notice your bridesmaids’ bouquets, but their attention will be on you, the bride. Ask your florist to use a few stems in your bouquet and you will have the look you love without blowing your floral budget.

Using plenty of mixed greens is not only on trend, but can also help stretch your floral budget. Be open to using different textures and colors with your floral stems to create a unique and stylish centerpiece. Trust in your florist’s vision when discussing floral elements, but be sure to ask questions if you are unsure of what they are suggesting. After all, they are the floral experts and may have some beautiful budget-friendly ideas that you will simply love.

Paper goods add character and flair to weddings and often carry the theme from ceremony to reception. If your wedding budget is unable to accommodate much in the way of custom paper goods, get crafty with handmade embellishments. Opt for a simple wedding invitation suite and purchase some embellishments, such as baker’s twine, ribbon or a customized stamp. Not only will you have a gorgeous, well-printed invitation from a designer, but you are saving money by creating the finished product yourself.

There are no rules when it comes to ceremony programs. If you are looking to cut costs, opting out of a ceremony program can help trim your budget. If you still want something to outline your ceremony procession, consider designing your own program. Many websites offer free fonts for a customized look. After designing your program, take it to a copy center for printing. 

You can double-duty your save-the-date announcements by reusing them as place cards or even as a guest book at the reception. Some fun ideas include asking guests to jot down their favorite recipe, love advice or scripture passage and then mail back their save-the-date cards. Once returned, the cards can be displayed in a recipe box or on a wishing tree at your reception. This is a fabulous way for your guests to feel more intimately involved in your wedding and as an added bonus, can save you some cash by replacing the traditional guest book.

Simply speaking, the key to saving money while planning a wedding is to think outside the box. Work closely with your wedding professionals and be upfront about your budget. It will cause undue stress and will not serve you or your vendors well to agree to expenses that are beyond your means. Finally, listen to their ideas and be flexible with design and décor. Local vendors hold a wealth of knowledge and expertise. Wedding professionals understand that brides are working within a budget and therefore, they are willing to be accommodating. |NWD|