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10 POWERFUL TIPS to save some $BLING$ for your wedding planning.

Hi everyone,
There are 2 challenges to constantly fight while planning a wedding – overwhelm and budgeting. Both can be a headache and make you regret some of the decisions you made to get your party up and running. Here are some great tips to help you with saving some coin for your wedding that you can start doing now.

Tip #1 Use non traditional items. Vendors know that when it comes to weddings, most brides will spend whatever they are asking. Avoid overpaying by coming up with ideas that don’t involve traditional wedding items. This will allow you to shop at discount stores rather than bridal boutiques. Many times you can get the exact same thing for your event not from a boutique and it can be much less in cost.

Tip #2 Choose smaller vendors for a smaller price tag. If you use a large company you can expect to pay a premium for services such as photography, cinematography, floral arranging and catering. Instead, look for vendors who run smaller businesses on the side or out of their home. They have less overhead so their fees are often substantially less. It may take a little more investigative work to find them but usually asking anyone and everyone for referrals will uncover some hidden gems.

Tip #3 Read all contracts. Make sure to read all contracts you sign with vendors and service providers to ensure you know exactly what you’re getting. Some things you’ll want to look for are whether the gratuity is included, what the overage charges are and whether there are hidden fees you may not be aware of. This will help you avoid unpleasant surprises on your big day.

Tip #4 Don’t get caught up in the fantasy. Of course you would love to be able to afford your fantasy wedding. Whether that’s inviting 200 guests for a lavish feast or escaping to Venice, the reality is that the vast majority of people cannot afford their dream wedding. And even if they can, is it really a good financial decision to spend your entire life savings on one day? One of the first steps to planning a fabulous wedding on a budget is to let go of those dreams and start being realistic about what a cheap wedding will look like. It doesn’t have to be tacky, in fact many of the best weddings are done on a tight budget because they force the bride and groom to be creative and as a result they inject a lot of their personalities into the day.

Tip #5 Keep the guest list small. Bigger is not always better. One of the most difficult tasks you’ll face while planning your wedding is deciding who to invite. You’ll undoubtedly start with a list of hundreds of people – the average number of guests at a wedding is 189 – but a wedding on a budget cannot accommodate inviting your mother’s best friend from high school just because “they used to be so close”. At $30 – $200 per head for a wedding dinner, you have to be realistic. Some couples find it works to determine how many guests you can afford to invite, then divide that number into quarters. 1/4 for the brides parents, 1/4 for the grooms parents, 1/4 for her friends, and 1/4 for his friends. Other couples set rules such as not inviting anyone that the BOTH the bride and groom haven’t met. Another option is to invite single friends and family members without a guest. If there will be lots of singles they won’t need a date anyway – they’re sure to meet someone at the event!

Tip #6 Appoint a friend or family member as your coordinator. There is no doubt that a wedding planner can make your big day run much more smoothly. After all, when problems occur on the big day most people naturally run to the woman in the big white dress! But it’s an expense you can do without. Instead ask a trusted friend or family member to help you by being your honorary coordinator. Give her an itinerary, checklists and phone numbers for all your vendors.

Tip #7 Use free resources as much as possible. One of the best sources of free information is the Internet. There are hundreds of great sites that will give you ideas on creating a fabulous wedding on a tight budget. Look for forums where other brides share what has worked for them to get great tips. Another good source of free information is your local library. You’ll find they have books and magazines on wedding planning, crafts, floral arranging and other helpful topics. And don’t forget to visit the websites of the big bridal magazines. They often have promotions where the send out copies of the newest issue at no cost.

Tip #8 Choose any day other than Saturday. Since the majority of couples plan their wedding for a Saturday, choosing any other day of the week can be a huge cost saver. The most expensive elements such as the venue rental and reception fees can decrease by as much as 50% for weddings held on a Friday or Sunday. A great way to make this work for you is to choose the Sunday of a long weekend. Since everyone has Monday off, Sunday is just like Saturday!

TIP #9 Avoid the wedding season. The most popular wedding months are May through October. Therefore vendors charge more during these months because their products and services are in demand. Plan your wedding for November through April and you’ll save a bundle. The cheapest month of all? January. And an added bonus is that you’ll have an easier time getting your first choice venue or that floral designer you’re dying to use.

TIP #10 Take advantage of store discounts and coupons. Some stores offer credit cards that give customers an initial 10% discount. If your credit is in good standing, take advantage of these offers to get a discount on large ticket items such as your wedding gown. But be sure to pay them off completely by the end of the first month or you’ll have to pay ridiculously high interest rates.

Bonus: Negotiate on prices. FOR EVERYTHING! If you’ll be making a large purchase from a particular vendor, don’t be afraid to negotiate. For example if you’ll be spending $1,000 with your florist ask that they include your cake topper at no charge. Another great way to negotiate is to shop around and find out what other vendors are charging. Then approach your first choice and tell them that you’d really love to use their services but are working on a budget and can make your dollar stretch further at their competitor. You may be surprised how many are willing to work with you to win your business.

Looking back we really found these tips to be useful and made the most out of our wedding and I’m sure you will too if you stick with them. The things that we found important we could spend more on, like our photographer and video, to get better quality because we generally saved $$ all around. It gave us options on the things we wanted high quality on.

I know how important it is to use the resources available to save on other things like money. We were able to get our invitations designed practically for nothing. Feels like a stretch? We found a very reasonable way by printing our own invitations and mailing them ourselves. After doing that we decided to make multiple designs for others who may have wanted to do the same thing!

Good luck saving some $BLING$ for your event.

Bye!
Alicia Ferrara

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