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10 ways to save a little without giving up a lot!

Every little girl dreams of her wedding day. She envisions herself in the beautiful white dress and long lacy veil. She sees her soon-to-be husband waiting for her at the end of the aisle. She pictures what the tables will look like with gorgeous colorful floral centerpieces and that 5 tier cake with a floral topper to match. But most little girls don't have a clue what that bill will look like after everything is selected. Let's face it, most big girls don't have a clue either and are quite shocked when their dreams aren't becomming a reality. So here's a few tips for keeping your costs down (here and there) without having to give up on your dreams.

10. Many venues include tables, chairs, dishware and linens in their room rental packages. This could end up saving you hundreds - even nearing the thousands - so look for the venues that include these items vs. the ones that offer the room only.

9. When selecting your wedding date, avoid holidays as they can end up costing you quite a bit more. Many vendors, especially Florists, DJ's and Bands, charge premium prices on holidays because it's an in-demand date. Think about it, there's only 1 NYE every year, 1 Independance day, 1 Valentines Day. But there's 52 weekends every year. Florists have many dates throughout the year where supply becomes an issue (think mother's day, easter, valentines day) and the cost of flowers shoots up for the weeks just before and after... so avoid those dates as well.

8. Many venues offer discounted rates on Fridays and Sundays, so if you're flexible with your day of the week, a Friday or Sunday wedding can save you hundreds and allow you to spend your money elsewhere!

7. When selecting flowers with your florist, you can typically save money by choosing flowers in bulk and those in season. Peonies for example, are hugely popular bouquet flowers that many brides request. However, they're really only available for a short period of time in April/May. So if you're trying to get Peonies in October, expect to pay a pretty penny when supply is low/non-existent.

6. When you're looking for a job, people say it's who you know that can land you the ideal position. Well, think about this when you're planning your wedding. Do you have a friend who's an accomplished violinist or flutist that would be willing to play your ceremony music? Or maybe an uncle who's an ordained minister. Many times friends and family members will donate their services as a wedding gift. However, make sure they are comfortable with what they'll be doing and professional. You don't want to ask that unreliable second cousin of yours to make the wedding cake and then watch in horror as the top tier slides off the table and onto the ground in front of you.

5. You can add a lot of depth and texture to your reception tables without spending a lot of money. A colored or textured linen can be expensive to rent - sometimes $25-$50/table. But a colored napkin will typically run you just $1/each. A table runner is typically around $7-$10/table. A charger plate will add some depth and usually available to rent for around $1/each. Some venues include charger plates in their package offerings, so just ask. And lastly, when planning table centerpieces, instead of one giant centerpiece, try asking your florist for a quote for (3) smaller pieces per table. You may be surprised at the cost difference.

4. Shop sample sales or trunk sales for bridal gowns. You can always have the dress tailored to fit how you want and can typically save thousands by buying off the rack. The dress is important and you want to feel your most beautiful self on your wedding day, but keep in mind that you will only be wearing it once. Also, if you're shopping for flower girl dresses or ring bearer outfits, you may be able to find something perfect at a perfect sale price following a big holiday like Easter or Christmas!

3. Unless you're hosting your own bar, most venues and caterers will charge more for packages that include liquor and the higher the level of liquor, the more expensive the package. Consider offering beer and wine only and perhaps a signature drink for those guests who want the liquor option. Signature drinks are typically less expensive than a full liquor bar, but make sure you do the math on how it's being charged. If you are charged on consumption for each signature drink consumed at the wedding, you may end up spending more than if you just included a house level liquor bar.

2. Each tier of your wedding cake adds more $$$. So why not do a smaller cake and supplement with cupcakes (who can say no to a cupcake?) and other trays and containers of desserts like cookies, brownies, chocolate dipped strawberries, truffles, mini cannolis and eclairs - whatever sugar confections your little heart desires!

1. Paper products can add up... Save the Dates, Invitation Packages, Escort & Place cards, Menu Cards, Programs, Buffet signs and other signage. So eliminate what you don't need (do you really need a sign that says "Guest Book" in front of the Guest book? People know); try to get your paper products to serve double duty when possible (favors as place cards); eliminate multiples in place of 1 (instead of individual escort cards, make escort cards for each couple or each family... or even better, avoid escort cards all together and print 1 big seating chart).

If you do it right, you'll still have the wedding of your dreams and be able to have the marriage you never dreamt possible! And remember that this wedding is a celebration of your love and committment to one another, so try to take his opinions and requests to heart as well as your own long thought out dreams and ideas! And happy planning!



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