You got engaged (Wooo Hooo!!!) and are ready to jumpstart the wedding planning. You and your fiance have set a budget aside but looking into a few vendors have realized the wedding of your dreams might be a bit more you are willing to spend. There are ways to tighten the belt in order to have an elegant wedding. My advise to you is pick one or two items that are important to you and focus your money on these. Otherwise, here are a few ways to save all around and still have an elegant wedding.
Cut the guest list ~ This is the easiest way to bring down your overall costs but also the hardest one. A good way to cut the guest list is asking yourself A. Have I talked / corresponded with this person during the last year? B. Would I invite this person to dinner at my home? If the answer is no, it’s time to cross them off the list.
Invitations & Programs ~ There is nothing like receiving a beautiful letterpress invitation for a wedding. But if stationery is not the place were you want to focus your budget then you can live with off set printed invitations. A great place for this is WeddingPaperDivas they have a great selection and very reasonable prices. Forgo the programs, usually by the time the ceremony rolls around the information in them is incorrect. If you do decide to go ahead with them, go for a pretty paper color on a heavy card stock and pint enough programs for half of your guests.
Photography ~ A good way to cut your photography costs are asking the photographer if it’s possible to have him/her shoot the wedding and provide you with the high resolution files OR ask if they can wait a few months after the wedding to look into purchasing an album which is one of the items that can drive the price. Waiting a few months after the wedding gives you a chance to save money and get a great album. I do caution all brides on cutting your photography costs. Please do not skimp on your photographer, hire the best photographer that you can afford. As my good friend Rick Aguilar always reminds my clients “After the wedding is over, the flowers have wilted and the food eaten all you will have is pictures” And he is right!
Beverage ~ Offer a limited bar of beer and wine and offer your guests a signature drink upon their arrival to the cocktail hour. It’s a great way to greet your guests and trust me, nobody will complain why the Stoli wasn’t flowing like a river.
Food at the Reception ~ If you want to save money on the catering serve a choice of entree in lieu of a duo plate. And don’t be afraid to serve a chicken entree at the wedding. Ask for a bone in chicken breast which will stay juicy and will have more flavor than one without. If done properly by the caterer this can be an excellent choice. Forgo expensive rentals and glasses nobody will remember if the place settings were made out of gold. Ask your caterer to show you the standard options. Most of the time they are in great conditions and will work just as well.
Florals ~ I’m a big believer in reusing flowers! Go ahead and go for the beautiful personal flowers. You can ask your florist to put a few empty vases at a few of the tables and re use the bouquets as centerpieces. Go for the altar arrangements and re use them for the escort card table or at a food display. Use candles if the venue allows them. They go a long way if done correctly as a centerpiece with a few loose blooms.
Wedding Cake ~ Forgo the fondant and overly done hand piping. They look gorgeous but tend to drive the price as it’s labor intensive. Go with a buttercream cake with a very simple design of swiss dots and decorate it with a few fresh blooms. If you are serving the cake as a dessert course opt for a small tiered cake (instead of a five or six tier stunner) and ask the baker to provide sheet cakes that can be cut and plated in the kitchen. Nobody will know the difference.
Other ways to save ~ Consider having the wedding in the off season. In Chicago, that usually is between January to April. Yes the weather is not so great, but who cares with the money you will save you will be able to stay a few extra days at your honeymoon.
Have the ceremony and reception at the same location and save on transportation costs. In addition, you can easily reuse your centerpieces as aisle decorations.
Get married earlier in the day and opt for an elegant afternoon tea or brunch with lots of mimosas and bellinis.
I’m all for a gorgeous wedding but remember not to get caught up in the moment. Don’t forget what the wedding is all about. Let me remind you, it’s about you and your fiance uniting in marriage…the food, the florals, the show stopping gown they are all icing on the cake.