As a bride-to-be planning an October 2010 wedding, Beth so kindly asked me to do a guest post on planning a (fabulous!) wedding as budget-conscience as possible. I have always been a bargain shopper and love finding ways to save. I don’t believe in compromising what you want for your big day, but with a little research and effort, you can find LOTS of ways to cut costs and still have the wedding of your dreams.
1. DON'T hire a wedding planner. This may sound crazy to some of you, but with the help of a relative/best friend/maid of honor, some wonderful wedding blogs, lots of magazines, and a detailed Excel chart to help you keep track of everything, you can plan a wedding on your own. Trust me, we are planning on having roughly 300-350 people attend our wedding, and I have planned every detail on my own. It’s definitely possible.
2. RESEARCH venues very thoroughly. One reception hall wanted 24K (yes, you read that right), but we ended up finding a more beautiful space for a very small fraction of that. It just took a little bit of time and patience.
3. Do some DIGGING for your entertainment. Most bands and DJs (at least in my area) are managed by an entertainment company. By finding a band or DJ independent of a management company, you can expect to pay about half the price (I did!).
4. FORGO the sit-down dinner. With as many guests as we are having, we decided to have a buffet-style meal. Not only are we doing it buffet-style, we decided to have dishes that demonstrate who we are as a couple. For instance, I’m having a shrimp and grits station since I’m Southern, and my beau is having a Philly sandwich station (his all-time favorite!). Not only will it save some major money, but it will be more “us.”
5. INCORPORATE lots of DIY projects. I definitely don’t consider myself crafty, but I’m doing lots of DIY projects for my wedding. Guests will love the personal touches, and in most cases, the projects will save lots of cash.
For anything you need printed (notecards, save-the-dates, thank you cards, etc.) I highly recommend Vistaprint. Check out their daily specials online and catch the product you need when it’s 50% off or more. Blurb is also a great site where you can design your guestbook.
6. BUY online. Find your dream dress and know what size you need in a brick-and-mortar store. Then, see if RKbridal(dot)com offers your dress/designer in their “No Frills” online ordering program. If you order online, the price is significantly less because they don’t have to provide in-store customer service or free alterations (several women I know have used this for their wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses and have been extremely happy). RK Bridal also beats any competitor’s price by 5%. I was planning on using this site, but they don’t carry the designer I ended up choosing.
7. SHOP sale racks. I found my blue Jimmy Choo wedding shoes on Jimmychoo(dot)com for over 50% off. I also found my bridesmaids’ shoes at DSW in the clearance section. For showers or engagement parties, Neiman Marcus has a last-call clearance section online. And of course, there is always The Outnet, where you can find designer clothes and shoes at a fraction of the retail price.
And... the splurges.
1. HIRE a day-of coordinator. The $200 or so you will spend on this will save so much headache and stress on your wedding day. Let someone else take care of the details.
2. PHOTOGRAPHER. My beau and I agreed that photography is EXTREMELY important to us. After the big day has come and gone, all we will have left are the memories and photographs. We chose Josh Malahy. Check him out if you need a photographer!If you have any questions, you can e-mail me at classysouthernbride(at)gmail(dot)com. Or if you want more budget-friendly wedding ideas, check out my blog jrandchristin(dot)blogspot(dot)com!