Save Money Planning Your Wedding

27 07 2010

Before “Here Comes the Bride…,” you have to plan your wedding!  The first step should be to sit down with your spouse-to-be and discuss (1) your money situation and (2) the guest list.  Your answers will reveal the scale/size of the wedding afforded to you.  From there decide which corners to cut in order to save money by using smart shopping techniques and a little do-it-yourself work!  There’s nothing more special than working hard at planning your wedding!

Rolist Financial Group would like to share our wedding planning tips with you!  Here are just a few ways we saved money planning our $5,400 wedding:

  1. Print Invitations at Home.  What a savings vehicle!  We purchased two boxes of blank invitations at the craft store for $23 (total) and printed them on our home printer.  Not only was it cheap but it was also fun!  Seeing all 120 hand-printed invitations made us proud!  The quality of the invitation was quite impressive.  Another affordable option is visiting Vistaprint for those of you without a home printer.
  2. Have Guests RSVP via Telephone and/or Email.  Do the math, you mail 100 invitations along with the postage-paid RSVP cards = $88.  Eliminate that extra $44 that it would cost for your guests to RSVP via the mail.  Have them respond via the telephone or email!  Remember, every little bit helps.
  3. Improvise.  Since our guests responded via email and telephone, we used the blank RSVP cards that came with our boxed invitation kit as our Thank You cards.  Seeing as the cards were blank, we used this opportunity to hand-write our heart-felt thank you’s.  Plus, we didn’t have to purchase separate Thank You cards.
  4. All-In-One Caterer.  Choose a caterer that will provide full food service, including cleaning services.  This was important to us when choosing our caterer.  Our caterer not only provided food, serving, cleanup and coffee, she made our four-tiered cake for just under $100.  It was cheaper than any bakery we visited.
  5. Choose an Affordable Venue Site.  This area accounts for half of your budget.  For those that are on a tight budget, look into your local VFW, American Legion or Firehouse.
  6. Shop Sales.  This is pretty much self-explanatory.  It pays to hold off purchasing items until you find a great deal.  Take our ceramic wedding cake topper for example.  We found it on clearance at the craft store for a whopping $8.  The neighborhood bakeries sold cake toppers for around $20 and they weren’t up our alley.
  7. Separate Wants From Needs.  We are sure the ice sculpture sounds magnificent, but you really should separate your wants from your needs.  If you are planning an outdoor wedding, a need might be renting a “just-in-case-it-rains” tent.  If, by the end of your planning, you have extra cash at hand, we don’t see anything wrong with getting that ice sculpture!  Or, you could just keep that money in your savings  account for it to grow.
  8. Referrals.  You want to make certain you are getting your money’s worth for a specific service, so ask friends whom they would recommend for catering services, DJ, venue location, etc. 
  9. Make Your Own Floral Arrangements.  We hadn’t entertained the thought of paying a florist to put floral arrangements together since there was a farmer’s market in town that sold flowers!  With that said, we paid $20 for our lavender-colored flowers – enough for my bouquet and twenty vases!  Our vases were purchased from AC Moore, along with a few rolls of ribbon (total cost $19).
  10. Get the Warranty on Your Wedding Bands.  Our rings are very modest (each were under $120).  Rob’s is made of titanium (not only is it light-weight, it will never bend or tarnish) and my ring was purchased from the Zales Outlet Center.  We decided to pay the $30 warranty on my ring since it holds small diamonds.  Every six months I am entitled to a free cleaning and diamond inspection!  Have I mentioned the normal price of a cleaning is $30?
  11. Stay Organized.  Keeping record of things will allow the planning to run smoothly.  Hold a running list of things paid for and to be paid (we used a handy website called The Knot.  The worst thing that can happen is paying someone twice and not realizing it!  Or purchasing items you already have on hand.
  12. Wedding Favors.  We found great deals on wedding favors on Ebay.  At under $1 per favor, we chose heart-shaped cookie cutters that were individually wrapped in tiny silk bags, along with a tag that read “Cut out for Eachother“.  Our advice is to purchase the favors after you receive all RSVPs.  We purchased the favors beforehand, based on the number of invitees, and not on the actual attendees.  In the end, we were stuck with 33 extra favors.
  13. Bridal Gown.  Future brides please keep alterations, veil, shoes and accessories in mind when purchasing your gown.  These little things add up quickly!  My alterations cost half the price of my David’s Bridal $299 gown.  Just recently have I noticed that Payless sells bridal shoes.  If you shop during their BOGO (buy one, get one half off) event you will find a great deal on shoes and the second pair could be sneakers for your honeymoon!

In the end, a reception is nice but isn’t the actual marriage part the most important?  When you think this way it could limit a lot of wasted spending.

Fix-It Tip:  Do not pay for wedding items with your credit card.  Your first month of newlywed bliss will be interrupted with that pesky credit card bill.

Red White Blue Tip:  Always ask for a military discount on goods and services.

Red White Blue Tip:  Visit your installation’s MWR office.  They may have some of your party planning needs (chair/table rentals, etc.).

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