Monday, June 20, 2011

Getting ready to day "I do!": Episode 1- How to plan a cost efficient wedding

Hello my beauty minions! I know, I know, you click on my blog expecting beauty goodness and instead you find not one, but two completely non-beauty related posts. For shame you say! However, I say, tis the season for proposals and wedding bells! And since I am one of those bells, I fully intend to impart ALL of my wedding knowledge on you; beauty related and non-beauty related. So, here are my tips for a cost effective, yet classy wedding.

  • Tip # 1: Relax. So what if one table linen is lighter than the rest or someone forgot the right shoes. You're  guests are there to celebrate your union, get free food, eat cake and dance. They could care less about everything being perfect. They are not going to sit there and critique a minor flaw in your decor. The more relaxed you are, the happier both you and your soon to be el hub are, as well as the rest of your wedding party.
  • Tip # 2: Make your own food. The three most expensive portions of a wedding are the venue, the dress and the food. A caterer will up the cost of your wedding $1-5000 depending on your guest count. Most caterer's will charge anywhere from $9-20 per plate, and rarely is the $9 plate worth spending money on. We estimated that for our 120 person wedding, it would have cost us upwards of $3000. However, we enlisted the bridal party, friends and any family in town a few days prior to the big day to take over 4 kitchens and whip up our food. We chose foods that can be made a day in advance and sit, without problem, and cook wonderfully. It will cost us roughly $400 to feed our guests a feast of  pineapple glazed ham, garlic mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, green beans, baked mac & cheese, 7 layer salad and baked beans; which is WAY more than you get from a caterer for WAY less.
  • Tip # 3: Make your own announcements and invitations, or purchase them from an inexpensive place. If you are crafty (or in my case know someone who is crafty) you can make announcements and invites for a fraction of the cost. My announcements ran just under $100 for 170, including postage. However, if you aren't crafty they have several pre-made kits where you just need to print the information on them yourself (or take them to kinko's) at places like Michael's, Hobby Lobby, Target and Walmart. If those don't strike your fancy, David's Bridal and InvitationsbyDawn do invitations for fairly cheap, and they do the printing for you. This is how we are doing our invites and it's running a little closer to $250, not including postage; however you can save some money here by opting for black ink and non-lined envelopes.
  • Tip # 4: Use recycled wedding decorations. If you ever hit an Arc or Goodwill, chances are you will see 15 of the exact same hurricane or vase. Why? Because someone got married and didn't want to keep 8 million vases. You can pick these up for under $3 in most cases, or you can get various sizes and colors for an eclectic decor. We are using old milk-glass vases, filled with roses in my colors, as our centerpieces. They blend, but each vase is unique, which makes it fun. Also, have any friends that recently got married? If so, raid their leftovers, it'll save you hundreds.
  • Tip # 5: Use silk flowers for the bouquets. They are cheaper, resilient and there is no need to worry about wilting on the big day.
  • Tip # 6: If you want to book a restaurant/bar for a reception, pick a smaller one away from the main parts of town. These business owners love new business and will bend over backwards to have yours. You will be bringing in business that they normally do not get, since they are away from the places where people flock. I managed to get 3/4 of a restaurant, my own bartender, and 2 servers for free because I chose to move my reception to a smaller restaurant/bar and the owner was ecstatic to have an extra 100 people, who all want to buy booze.
  • Tip # 7: If they want booze, they can buy it. A dry reception will save you several hundred dollars, and several thousand in comparison to an open bar.
Well, my lovelies. Those are my new-found tried and true money saving tricks for a wedding. They have served myself, as well as my soon-to-be-hub well, allowing us to have a fantastic wedding with all of the bells and whistles for around $5000. Considering the average cost of a wedding now is $15-20,000, I think we did darned good. So, my young padiwans, go forth and prosper (yes, I did mix references on purpose. So, HA!).

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