Bridal Affairs

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Monday, February 25, 2013


Today's post comes from a ridiculous article I read this morning in the Huffington Post.     On the heels of the disrespectful and false 20/20 report a few weeks back, this article does a disservice to the wedding industry and gives false and dangerous information to the bride.   It also purports that brides should "LIE"  and call their wedding a "party" and not a wedding.    Planning a wedding is complex and stressful.  But, it is not guerrilla warfare and it can be accomplished without lies, disasters or going to the poorhouse.   So, I have gathered some facts that you can use to plan your wedding and still have a "wedding" and not a "party".

You can also find planning books and spread sheets in places like The Knot, Google and Weddingwire.
 From wedding websites to planning advice and other helpful templates, you can plan a perfect day.

 Wedding Planning Do's:
 * Who is paying for your wedding?  Many couples are taking on the responsibility of paying for their weddings.   Parents may or may not contribute, though some parents still take the traditional roll of financing the big day.   Have a discussion about your wedding vision and wishes.   Then, set a time to discuss that vision with your parents and find out what and how much they want to input.   If your parents are footing the entire bill, then consideration should be given to their parameters.   If they are contributing a specific dollar amount, then more of the control may be in your hands.  Either way, compromise and communication are very important to the success of the planning process and to the end result- your wedding.!

* Make a wish list and have your fiance make one too.   Then, decide what is absolute and what you can compromise on or give up.   This will help you to create a budget that works for you and it will avoid arguments down the road.   

* Realize there are unexpected expenses.   Things will come up, you will want to embellish some things and add extras or need more of something.   When you create your budget, allow for unexpected things.  More on hidden expenses later.

* Set up a wedding account.   On line banks are a good place to do this, as they pay high interest and often don't charge for transferring money into your checking account.   

* Use websites like Etsy or Wedzu to find accessories for less.    Beware of "deals" that are too good to be true and DO NOT buy a "discount designer" gown on line.   More on this later.   Don't hire wedding professionals from places like Craigslist or classifieds.   You may not get what you bargain for.   

* When hiring your vendors, ask about setup and delivery charges, taxes and other service charges.   These costs can add to your overall budget.  

* Planning your wedding off season or on a Friday or a Sunday can save you money.   Many venues, caterers and other wedding professionals will charge less at a time when they are not as in demand.    

Wedding Planning Don't's:
 * Don't haggle!   respect the fact that wedding professionals are making a living.   They charge a fee for a reason.   You may be able to get a better deal if you opt for tailoring a package to your needs.   Understand that you would not haggle with a doctor for surgery or a lawyer for legal advice.   Wedding professionals are no different.   There are qualified professionals for all budgets.   

* Read your contracts!    Before signing and paying a deposit, read the contract and ask questions.   Make sure you understand what is provided and make sure your vendors know what you expect.   This will avoid a misunderstanding later.    

* Get wedding insurance!   This is not an expensive investment, but it could save you a great deal of money if something goes wrong, if Mother Nature creates a disaster and most venues require it.     

* Understand what you can afford!   While you are planning, you will see all manner of amazing things you will want to have.   You will also see images of things that look great, but are impractical or prohibitive in cost.   Stick to your budget and stay on track.   In the end, you will be just as happy and your day will be just as perfect.


Flowers:   While it is widely known that seasonal flowers are less expensive, there are varieties that are available all year round, so the prices don't flucuate.   And, there are many "look a likes" that can substitute for a more expensive bloom.   Ask your florist what is in season, but do your research and know what you can ask for at any time.   And, be open.  Sunflowers can be cost effective all year.  But, peonies have a window of availability and are more expensive at other times.   

Venues vs The Backyard Wedding:   You may thing you can have a less expensive wedding in the backyard.   Well, consider all the extras that are NOT included in your backyard- tables and chairs, a tent and dance floor,  port- a- potties, satellite kitchens for the caterer.   By the time you add in all the things that aren't already there, you could end up spending more than you bargain for.   

Buffet vs Sit Down: Buffets are not as cost effective as you may think.  First, you need to rent more tables and more linens to accommodate the food.   And, the caterer must make more food than you actually need in order to keep the buffet looking fresh.   Finally, guests will eat more and longer than a sit down meal.    So, you have to provide for this fact.   A sit down meal will provide on meal for each guest and nothing more.  In the long run, you may spend less serving your guests.   You may also want to consider a brunch or cocktail reception as a way to cut food costs.   An early wedding brunch will cost less and other vendors may charge less with a morning wedding.   

Wedding Cake vs Cupcakes:    Many brides are opting for cupcakes instead of a traditional wedding cake.   But, at a cost of at least $4-$6 per cupcake and adding the cost of set up and rental of the tower, you may not be saving money.   If you have a planner, you may get them to set up the tower- but ask first.   You can also opt for a smaller cake and then have sheet cakes to be cut in the kitchen to accommodate your guests.   

On Line Shopping:  While this sounds like a great way to save time and money, it may not be.   You can find great accessories and details on line, but when it comes to your dresses or other big ticket items- BEWARE!!!!   Buying your gown on line can wind up costing much more.   You may not get a dress at all or you may get an inferior copy of your dream dress.   There is also shipping and finding someone to alter a dress is expensive.   So, think very carefully about buying your wedding on line.   Remember- YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!!   And, try sample sales, consignment shops and other means of cutting costs.

Hidden Costs:  These are things that you may not think of while planning your wedding and signing contracts...
1. The band may charge for extra equipment or other added services if the load in and size of your venue warrants it.   ASK when you meet with them.

2.  Postage is needed for all of your invitations and your RSVP's.   The invitation company does not include this in the price of your invitations.   So, please remember to add this cost in to your budget.

3. The alterations are almost never included in the price of your gown.   So, when you set your budget for your dress, remember to include your alterations and your accessories.

4. If you are having a great time and don't want the party to end, that is fine in most venues.   But, it will cost you.   There is a charge to extend your wedding and if you want the photographer or band to stay, make sure you know what they will charge.

5. Vendor meals need to be figured into your catering cost.   Every vendor at your wedding needs to be fed.   This includes bands, DJ's, planners, other entertainers, etc.  

6. If you have welcome bags for out of town guests, there is a charge to have them delivered to the rooms.   To save money, have them kept at the front desk and handed out at guests check in.   

7. If you are renting tables and chairs, linens, etc ask about the delivery charge.   And, to save money, find out what the venue already has.  You may not need to rent some things.

8. Everything you purchase for your wedding will have some tax included.   Save money by buying your dress in a state that has no sales tax for out of state sales and then have the dress shipped to you.  You can still bring it back to the store for alterations.  Gratuities are another thing that that may or may not be included in a price.   Make sure you are clear about pricing and what it includes.   And, if you plan to tip over and above what is included, remember add that into your budget and have the cash on the day of your wedding.

9. If you are bringing wine into a venue, ask if there is a corkage fee for the caterer to open and serve the wine.   And, if the cake is coming from a baker not on the list of vendors or not from the caterer, there may be a cutting fee.  Saving by using the vendors on a venue list is always a money saver.  

10.  Your photographer charges for the time he spends with you.   If you want albums, extra photos or any other product- that is over and above what you pay for in your contract.   Find a photographer with a package that suits your budget and then, ask about extras.   

There are many ways to save money and to stay on budget when planning a wedding.   You don't have to ask your relatives to take your pictures or cook the meal.   And, you don't have to resort to unethical and false recommendations to have a wedding on a reasonable budget.  If you have more questions or need more information, please contact me.  I am happy to assist.   


Consider hiring a planner.   A good planner can keep you on budget, recommend vendors in your price range and ensure your wedding day is perfect.   A PLANNER IS NOT A LUXURY!  And, if you are a DIY bride on a budget, it could be the thing that saves the day.   

HAPPY PLANNING!  Let me know how I can help!

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