10 tips for having a frugal wedding
These steps will prevent a runaway bridal budget
By Gary Foreman
The New Frugal You
Dear New Frugal You,
wedding is in just a few months and my dad says the costs are getting out of
hand. It's not a huge wedding -- about 75 guests. I so much want this day to be
special. Is there a way to do that without bankrupting my parents? -- Heidi
girl's dream. A gorgeous wedding where everything is just so. Unfortunately, the
cost of a magnificent wedding can leave a lingering stain on the budget of her
parents (or anyone else paying for it).
you have a wedding that resembles your dream and still keep costs to a
reasonable level? I think so. Let's see if we can't give you some ideas on how
to have a frugal wedding.
1. Fix a total budget before you start shopping. You'll want to divide that
total into the various expenses (dresses, reception, decorations, etc). How
much you have to spend and how you choose to divide it will help guide
discussion will also set spending expectations and eliminate arguments later.
If you don't think that you can do flowers for $200, it's easier to discuss it
now. If you decide to spend more on flowers, then now is the time to decide
where you'll get the extra money.
on one or two items that are really important to both of you. Focus your
spending on those items and scrimp on the rest. Look
for items that you can eliminate completely -- a limousine, for instance. Drive
yourself or ask a friend to be your chauffeur.
willing to break traditions. You are not required to do or buy anything just
because your family has always done it that way or everyone you know does it.
This is your day. Tailor it to your liking.
4. Avoid "bridal" or "wedding" items. Any item for a wedding will be 20 percent to 30
percent more than the same item in a regular shop. So before you shop for anything,
ask yourself if there's a nonwedding equivalent.
possible, rent. Whether it's tables and chairs or china and backdrops for the
photographer, buy only those items you can't get any other way. You
may even choose to rent your bridal gown. Often rental costs are about one
quarter of what it would cost to buy.
friends to contribute their skills in lieu of a gift. You may know someone
who could do the photography and someone else who could do the invitations.
Don't hesitate to ask. They might be happy to avoid the expense of a wedding
gift. If their service is worth much more than the gift they would have gotten,
ask them if they could give you a super discount in place of a gift.
changing your timing. Not every wedding needs to be late afternoon with a
dinner following. You can get married in the morning and have your reception at
lunchtime. You'll save quite a bit and make it easier to avoid questions such as whether to serve alcohol.
to nontraditional sources. You wouldn't think of buying flowers at your
grocery store, but many of them have a florist on staff. Since flowers are a
major expense, you could save a lot. Do the same thing with other items.
a good local seamstress. You'll do much better on dresses if you don't have
them altered where you buy them.
the Internet to shop for the bridal and bridesmaids' gowns. Don't hesitate to
look at used gowns and formal dresses that aren't necessarily for weddings.
Heidi, remember that the success of your marriage isn't determined by how fancy
your wedding is. Living happily ever after with Mr. Right will be greatly
affected by your ability to talk about issues and decide what's important to
you as a couple. That's the exact type of discussion you'll need to have to
bring your wedding in within your budget.
long, and happy life to you both!
See related: My wedding plan costs too much, 6 wedding expenses you should always charge on credit, Q&A with author Meg Keene, author of 'A Practical Wedding'
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Published: May 11, 2013