Bridal Budget Rescue
7 tips for getting the most bang for your bridal buck
1. Save the (Right) Date By choosing a Friday or Sunday for your wedding, you can cut rental costs on churches and reception venues by as much as 40 percent. Saturday weddings are the most popular, so venues charge premium rates. However, many churches are busy on Sundays, so if you’ve always dreamed of walking down the aisle, Sunday may not be the best day for you.
2. Timing is Everything Choosing a unique time can save you big dollars. Do as the Chinese do: have your wedding in the morning followed by a brunch reception. This saves you a ton on food costs. Same goes for afternoon weddings—have a trendy cocktail reception afterward, or a delicious dessert bar. The less food you have to serve, the less cash you’ll shell out, but make sure you pick a time of day when the food you’re serving is appropriate.
3. Go with the Flow(ers) Check to see which fl owers are in season. You may have dreamed of a bouquet of lilacs in September, but fl orists charge more for out-ofseason fl owers because they’re harder to fi nd and keep fresh. Also, exotic fl owers like blue roses cost more because they have to be specially bred or even painted. If you’re dying for a color that’s expensive, here’s a classy way to spice up your bouquet and save money: use all white fl owers accented with ribbons, crystals, or vintage hatpins in your wedding colors. If you want outof- season fl owers, ask a fl orist if similar fl owers are in-season. Keep in mind bouquets made of a single type of fl ower usually cost a lot less.
4. Get the Package Deal Some reception venues offer packages including fl oral and décor services, catering, music and other reception needs for one price. This can be more cost effi cient than booking all these services à la carte. Be sure to check prices before you commit—some companies may over-charge because you’re locked into using their vendors.
5. Test Drive Most brides hire a limo service, but other options, which might better suit a bride’s style, can cost less. If you don’t have far to go, a romantic horse-and-carriage ride can be relaxing and impress your guests with a fl air for the theatric. If you’re not bringing your entire wedding party with you, you can rent a smaller town car instead of a stretch limo. For large parties, a luxury shuttle bus may be a wise investment as they can accommodate more passengers and generally cost less than renting two limos.
6. Forget the Favors Sure, little tins of mints with personalized labels saying “Mint to Be” along with your names and date seem cute now, but at $2.50 a pop, the more people that RSVP the more cash you’ll be shelling out. Many weddings end up with baskets of costly favors that guests left at the venue. Any non-edible favor guests take home is probably going to get thrown away or relegated to the junk drawer. Many couples are opting out of this tradition, choosing instead to set each place with a custom cookie which is cheaper than most commercialized wedding favors.
7. Keep It Trim If your guest list gets out of hand, so will your budget. Guest count affects spending tallies in almost every category—invitations, food, venue costs, alcohol, flowers and favors. So when your mother-in-law to be insists on inviting her nextdoor- neighbor’s friend’s son, it’s time to draw the line. Most of your friends and extended family understand venue restrictions and budget concerns. Just be sure to observe proper etiquette in such situations.