According to a recent Reuters news article, the cost of the average wedding in the US is currently around $27,000 and that doesn’t even include the cost of the honeymoon. So it’s no wonder that newly engaged couples worry about the cost of getting married. The current economic climate, rather dismal for a growing number of Americans, is the reason why many of these newly engaged couples are looking for ways to lower the costs of their wedding.
Firing your wedding planner is one way to keep your wedding budget in check. Doing such a thing does, indeed, put more work back on the shoulders of the engaged couple and/or their friends but hard times call for tough answers.
How do wedding planners justify their necessity? They keep your budget, schedule and wedding experience as a whole in check. Fact of the matter is, 20 years ago a wedding planner was your only option for finding great caterers, florists, live music, etc. that is reliable, great at what they do and consistent. Today there are online wedding guides (i.e. The Perfect Wedding Guide) that will list all of the individual service providers in your area with customer reviews helping you choose the best and giving you the ability to shop around. Often these wedding planners will offer free online wedding planning tools that will let you plan everything from your schedule & budget to seating invitations and seating arrangements.
If you are a newly engaged couple, don’t lose hope because the hassle of doing your own wedding arrangements can be kept at a minimum and it’s still a part of the experience of getting married that you’ll have positive memories about. Here’s some tips to keep in mind:
- First and foremost, be truthful with yourself and realize that people were getting married long before ‘wedding planning’ ever existed as a (sometimes exorbitantly paid) profession. Mom and/or friends used to do it, they’re still capable of doing it and in many cases they’re happy to do it.
- Did you know that wedding dresses go on sales just like anything else? That’s right. Buy your dress in the ‘off months’ of April through October and save some big bucks. You can find them for sale in the classifieds, Craigslist and actual stores that specialize in such items. In today’s economy, there are a lot of really nice gowns on the market. And as far as that goes, why not sell it when you’re through with it? (you could you know!)
- Don’t be a dummy and buy flowers at anyplace that has ‘wedding’ in the name. Retail flowers have a 300% markup. You can buy flowers at the same wholesale florists that the retail florists do and there’s nothing wrong with buying whatever is ‘in season’ and abundant rather than buying imported ‘whatchamacallit orchids’ from some exotic foreign country just because your wedding ‘planner’ says they’ll make it a memorable occasion. On the contrary, what makes it a memorable occasion is the years that it takes to pay the bill.
- Food is food and lunch is always cheaper than dinner. And buffets are always cheaper than ‘white tie’ affairs where even the toothpicks are listed in the Neiman Marcus catalogue. Fish and Chicken is cheaper than red meat. It’s all good if prepared right right?
- You can bet that there’s somebody in your family or in your neighborhood who is perfectly capable of making a great cake. Matter of fact, ask the average guy (guys love cake, right?) whether they like the average wedding cake and they’ll tell you ‘no’. Let a non-professional make a really nice cake for you and your party. You’ll save money and your guests will like the cake a lot better.
- Buy your booze from someplace like Costco and save up to 60%. Some communities have liquor wholesalers that offer great prices and will even take unopened stock back for a small re-stocking fee.
- For music, DJ’s are OK and their prices vary widely. If you shop around, there’s no telling what kind of a good deal you can get. Lots of people want to break into the DJ business and ‘gig’ very reasonably. If DJ’s aren’t your style and you still prefer live music, you’d be amazed that the talent available at local colleges. Call up the local band director or Music Department office and ask if they can recommend anyone. You can rely that they’ll be more than happy to help some of their most talented and entrepreneurial students out. Just be sure you hear them play first.
Above all, don’t feel embarrassed about trying to save money. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. You’ll remember how you and your spouse-to-be pulled together and made the best of a tough situation and, after all, love conquers all, doesn’t it?
You can fire your wedding planner (or just don’t get one in the first place), keep that wedding budget in check and save a ton of money that can be better spent somewhere else.