Wedding Planning Priorities: Part 2

In our last post we talked about making a list of wedding planning priorities, and using this list to create a wedding budget. But now let’s get real about what is really important on that list of priorities. Let’s say you’ve always dreamed of getting married in New York City. But if you can save yourself $10,000 by getting married in your hometown, is the NYC wedding so important after all? If it is, go for it! But when you think of all the other things you can do with $10,000, getting married in the big city might not seem so glamorous after all!

Wedding Dress Blog points out that “given that the average wedding these days will set you back about $20,000, you may be looking for ways to keep your special day from costing more than the down payment on your first condo. A little creative thinking can cut your wedding tab 25% to 50%. Think nontraditional. Think memorable. Think laser tag, as my colleague Robert Brokamp and his bride did for their nuptials…”

Wedding Dress Blog presents us with a few ways to save on your big day:

Timing is everything: Lovebirds pay a premium to tie the knot on a Saturday or in June. Pair the two and you’re facing a few extra Gs on the bill. Off months such as March and April are more affordable, as are morning weddings where expenses such as food, transportation, and hall rentals can be a lot cheaper.

Location, location, location: Modern Bride estimates that a wedding reception costing $4,000 in San Diego would cost $9,000 in Chicago and $15,000 in New York City. See? Even not-so-small towns have their charm. Wouldn’t your mom be thrilled if you got married in your childhood stomping grounds? Your guests will certainly appreciate cheaper lodging costs. Even if you live in a high-priced city, nontraditional places such as public parks and art galleries can cost less than rental halls and hotel ballrooms.

Bite your tongue: Anything that has the word “wedding” attached to it can instantly fetch a 25% premium (or more) over the generic version. When shopping for your cake, flowers, tablecloth, “ring pillow,” or dress, beeline away from any options preceded by the “w” word.

Put your pals to work: In lieu of another Crate & Barrel tchotchke, ask your talented friends for a gift that you could really use: their help. Perhaps you know someone who can perform music at the service (or change the CDs you and your sweetheart make yourself), take photographs, tend bar, or play videographer — all functions that will cost you $500-$900 to have someone else do. Chances are your best friend’s brother won’t charge a corking fee.

Trim the guest list: At $80 per person for food, wine, cake, napkins, and every one of your variable costs, this is the fastest way to save. Remember, this isn’t just some kegger that’s open to all of your office mates. It’s your wedding.

Just say “no”: Anti-etiquette bride and author of Fire Your Wedding Planner Stephi Stewart says that assertive brides and grooms need to learn to just say “no.” Party favors? Feh. Engraved napkins? Puh-leeze.

Dream of the future: Before you shampoo the rice and rose petals out of your hair, start planning your financial future — together. Saving for a house, college for future critters, paying cash for a vacation — these should all be things in the back of your mind before you write a check for your wedding gown.

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