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Thursday, June 18, 2009

1.0 - Planning Your Dream Wedding During Tough Economic Times

The state of the economy is affecting EVERYONE across the board! But that doesn't stop couples from getting married! It's no secret that the latest trend for today's couples is being frugal. As a result, couples are scaling back on hosting lavish events for more simpler ones emphasizing greatly on the details to help create an amazing event. Although my clients have different wedding budgets ranging from average to high-end budgets, they share the same desire...a fabulous wedding that won't burn a hole in their wallets. A lot of people ask me how this can be possible if their budget is tight. This two-part series will discuss how it is possible to do so.

1) Create a budget that's affordable...VERY realistic. I can't stress this enough. A lot of couples make the mistake of not creating a wedding budget first. By not creating a budget, you're spending can get out-of-control. It can be very easy to get carried away with the details. You see things you absolutely have to have in your wedding through television shows like "Platinum Weddings" and high-end bridal magazines like "Grace Ormonde: Wedding Style", but you need to ask yourself "can I see myself spending $2,500 on a custom gold-colored round dance floor?" Know where you need to allocate your money, which brings me to the next step...

Tip: Make sure you account for sales tax, service charges, set-up/delivery fees, and feeding your vendors at the reception into your wedding budget. For more info on "feeding your vendors" please read step #3)

2) Prioritize what you and your
fiancé(e) are willing to splurge on. Discuss with your fiancé(e) where you are willing to allocate most of your money and work your way down to the category you want to spend less on. For example, if you MUST have a designer gown then write that down on your list as priority number one.

3) Keep your guest list simple: Invite only those closest to you and your
fiancé(e). This factor is key to keeping your costs down. Reception food and beverage accounts for roughly 42%-50% of your total wedding budget. By inviting close family and/or friends you'll definitely save a huge bundle. A rule of thumb: if you haven't spoken to Aunt Kimberly or your high school BFF in more than two years then you shouldn't consider inviting them. I always suggest to my clients to create an "A" and "B" list. With each "will not be able to attend" RSVP response you can send out an invitation to someone from your "B" list. However, make sure you send these out well ahead of the RSVP deadline so the "B" list recipient won't feel like a last-minute invited guest. Trust me they'll know.

Not only will you need to feed your guests, but you need to feed your vendors too! One of my brides asked me, "why do I have to feed my vendors if I'm already paying a lot of money for their services?" Don't worry! You don't have to feed ALL vendors...only the ones who will be working on your wedding day for more than 6 hours and those who will be working during your reception. These vendors include your wedding planner and staff, photographer/videographer and their assistants, lighting technicians (if they are needed during the reception), and band members/DJs. This condition is usually stated on their contract. Ask the catering director if they provide vendor meals. Vendor meals (aka boxed lunch) are usually a little cheaper than the actual entree that will be served to your guests. Serving vendor meals are important especially if your reception site is in a remote area. I
f they have to go off-site for their meal the last thing you want is for them to arrive back late.

4) Get married during an off-peak season/day. It's obviously cheaper to marry during off-peak seasons usually between November-March. Some reception sites offer discounts and some don't. And remember just because you decide to marry on Christmas Eve, which is during an "off-peak month", doesn't mean that every vendor will offer their services for cheap. In addition, Saturdays, no matter what season, is the most sought after day to get married. Instead choose any other day like Friday or Sunday. Reception sites usually give a discount for booking your wedding on a less busy day. You can also opt for the less expensive luncheon or cocktail reception instead of a sit-down dinner reception.

5) DIY Projects. This economy has brought on this latest trend. Blogs and wedding planning portals like have tons of ideas and inspirations. is a favorite among many brides, especially for those who want to save money on invitations.

...Next week we will continue on part two of this series. Stay tuned...


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