5 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding

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A wedding is probably the singularily most expensive “party” you will ever throw in your lifetime, and it’s amazing how quickly everything adds up.

Aside from the obvious suggestions, (i.e.: cutting your guest list, having a dry wedding, etc.) here are 5 more things to consider if you are trying to save money on your wedding:

1) Host your wedding in the morning or the afternoon - Chances are when you think of “wedding”, you immediately picture a dinner and dance type of event. But in my opinion, some of the best weddings are followed by a brunch instead.  First of all, you would be saving money on a DJ. You could add a couple of extra hours onto your package with your ceremony musician in order to provide some music while you and your guests eat. Second, you will save a LOT of money on alcohol! Even if you provide Mimosas or have a Champagne toast, the total alcohol consumption will still be significantly lower than a cocktail, dinner and dance wedding.  If you decide on an afternoon wedding, you can provide finger foods and appetizers as opposed to having a meal.

2) Make your decor work “double-duty” - If you have a separate venue for your ceremony and your reception, decorating both could be costly.  Instead, choose decorations that are easy to transport and have them adorn the ceremony site and then be transferred (by a friend, or wedding planner!) to the reception site. Most of your guests will never know that they are the same decorations and it will also help to carry your theme from start to finish!

3) Let them eat something other than cake - Personally, I LOVE a good wedding cake. But, if you need to cut costs, there are plenty of fun and trendy alternatives to the traditional wedding cake. Consider cupcakes, cookies, tarts, donuts, brownies, pie or a even Rice Krispie cake! Your guests will love the novelty and more often than not, you will also save on the cake cutting fee charged by most venues. If you still want the “cake” effect, simply arrange your treats on a tiered cake stand.

4) Limit the alcohol consumption - Let’s face it, alcohol is a big part of weddings and it can be difficult to go completely without. One of the ways you can save money is to limit the hours that the bar is open. For example, you could close the bar during speeches; or, if you are serving wine with dinner, close the bar during the meal.  Another way to save money is to ask the venue to serve the wine to each table as opposed to leaving a bottle of red and white at each table. You could also request that the venue only serve domestic beer and common spirits as these are a lot cheaper than imports.

5) Consider renting a car as opposed to a Limo - Most limo companies offer a package of a certain number of consecutive hours, which could amount to almost a thousand dollars.  If a limo is not a big deal for you, you may want to consider renting a vehicle or two instead. Car rentals are charged daily, which means that if you get your timing right, you may only need to pay for 1 day’s use. However, keep in mind that most car rental companies cannot guarantee you a make/model or color of vehicle. If you let them know it is for a wedding, they will do their best to provide you with a more neutral-toned vehicle, but do not assume that it will be guaranteed.  Or, if you know someone with a vintage car or even an RV (talk about your amenities-on-wheels!), see if they would be willing to let you borrow it for your wedding.

Quality vs. Price – Why Hiring a Budget Wedding Planner Could Backfire

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Everyone loves a bargain! And when are you more likely to look for a bargain than when you are planning on making a big purchase?  Whether it’s a car, an entertainment system or a camera, chances are that you want to do a bit of research to determine what the best model is for the best price.

This practice should be no different when you are looking for a wedding planner.

The average cost of a wedding in Canada is $25,000.  That’s a LOT of money to invest and chances are you will have to trim up on a few wedding expenses to stay within budget.  However, I am here to explain why hiring a budget wedding planner could end up costing a lot more than if you had hired a professional in the first place.

If you’re getting married (congratulations!) and are starting to research all-things-wedding, then no doubt you have already checked out websites like Kijiji looking for décor, vendors and services.  While sites like Kijiji are great for finding bargains, they’re also a free bulletin board for self-described “professionals” to get your business.

Aside from the usual red flags (no company website, a hotmail address, no business materials), you should also be looking at their pricing as an indicator as to whether or not these so-called professional planners are actually qualified to be entrusted with your special day.

For example, I am always told about “wedding planners” who charge $400-$500 (or less…yikes!)  for Wedding Day Coordination.  While this may sound like an absolute steal, let’s do the math:

For us WPIC certified planners, what’s known as a “Day Of Coordination” actually doesn’t just include your wedding day.  We are doing a bunch of work behind the scenes in preparation of your wedding day.  We are contacting all of your vendors to confirm everything they contractually agreed to provide you with; and if we are not familiar with the vendor that you have booked, we may contact a reliable vendor that we know of and ask them to be on stand-by in the event that your chosen vendor fails to show up.  We are also creating your wedding day timeline and itinerary for you and coordinating your rehearsal.  In total (including being there on your wedding day), we are putting in 40 hours or more for your “Day Of” coordination.

If we only charged $400 for this service that means that we are only making $10/hr, which is slightly above Alberta’s minimum wage.  At this point, you should be asking yourself: “How is this business making money?” And that’s a great question!!

The main goal of all businesses is to make money.  So if you are hiring a wedding planner who is willing to work for minimum wage, what level of service will you be getting?  And if their business is not making money, will they even be in business by the time your wedding rolls around? 

The bottom line is: You Get What You Pay For.  Anyone can claim to be a wedding planner and take out an ad on Kijiji or start a page on Facebook.  However, it is education, past experience, professionalism and industry connections that set professional planners apart from the “weekend warriors” who are just out to make a quick buck.

Would you hire a wedding dress maker who has no formal training or experience other than “I watch a lot of Project Runway”?

When it comes to your wedding day, who would you rather have in your corner?

Professional Wedding Planner Coordinator