Engagement season is upon us! Saving money is always a hot topic, so I thought I’d share some unique tips to help maximize your budget during the planning process and on the wedding day.
o Ask your planner about up-and-coming vendors. Your planner may not have worked with them yet, but newer vendors can often provide a little wiggle room on pricing and date availability.
o Use a calligraphy font to digitally address your envelopes, instead of having calligraphy done by hand.
o Get a single envelope addressed with calligraphy (with your address!). Include it in a pretty, styled photo for your wedding album, or slip it into a frame or shadow box.
o Check out hotels that are frequented by business travelers during the week, as their weekend rates will be a lot lower. Also, suburban hotels are going to offer lower rates than “in-city” hotels.
Floral and Décor
o Stick with standard napkins, which can save up to $2 to $4 per person. Custom or non-standard napkins typically only supply a pop of color on the tablescape, so your budget is probably better spent elsewhere.
o Skip an accent floral at each place setting. This is a beautiful touch but not worth spending $5 to $7 per place setting. Your planner can arrange to have one place setting accented so that your photographer can snap a special shot.
o Depending on the timing and locations of your ceremony, cocktail hour and reception, you can repurpose aisle/ceremony décor as accent pieces at the reception. (This will only work if you have a separate cocktail space or if you’re planning an afternoon ceremony and an evening reception.)
o Candles provide a lot of bang for your buck and create a romantic ambiance.
o Create two signature drinks for your guests to enjoy throughout the evening, in addition to your beer and wine selections, instead of offering a full range of liquors. I love this idea as it shares a little more about you two as a couple, which is what the day is all about!
o Forgo wine service at the tables during dinner.
o Close the bars for 30 minutes so guests can gracefully transition into the reception space. This will eliminate additional setup fees and allow you to have the bar open 30 minutes longer into the evening.
o Ask the hairstylist who typically cuts your hair if he or she can style your wedding-day hair.
o Visit a beauty counter a few months prior to your wedding to have your makeup done. Bring a trusted family member or friend, such as your mom or maid of honor. If you like the result, purchase all of the products and do your own wedding-day makeup (with the assistance of your shopping partner). Make sure to practice at least twice prior to the day of.
o Rent the Runway offers fabulous designer dresses for rent. Your ladies can borrow a high-end gown for about $50 to $70 (they’ll send two different sizes), instead of spending $175 to $250 on a traditional dress.
By thinking outside of the box, you can cut costs and still end up with the wedding of your dreams. Prioritize, get creative, and never forget the real reason you’re planning this special day! It’s going to be amazing!
Christine M. Darden