Guest Author - Beth Helmstetter
As a wedding planner, the most common question I’m asked by clients is “how can we save without making our event look cheap?” Here are a few tried and true methods I use when cutting back expenses.
GO DIRECTLY TO THE SOURCE: Often vendors such as florists, caterers or even event designers, will try to sell you items like linens, chivari chairs, china, etc. If you get in this situation, always ask the vendor if they own the items or if they are outsourcing. If outsourcing, say forget it. Do the research yourself and buy or rent the items direct from the supplier. For example, if you dream of a candlelit reception, find a great online candle wholesaler, or even stop by Michaels or Pier 1 and pick them up yourself. This will save you a 10% to 30% markup that is common in the industry.
TRIM THE BAR: It’s true that a beer and wine bar will cost less in the long run. If this is not enough variety for you, throw in a trendy signature drink like a Bellini or Mojito. Also, if possible, bring in your own wine and pay a corkage fee. This can save you $30 or more per bottle.
ONLY HALF A GLASS, PLEASE: The champagne toast is an area where a lot of waste occurs. Instead of offering a full glass of champagne during toasts, serve guests a half glass only. Garnish the glass with a colorful orchid or other small flower for a detail that won’t go unnoticed.
KEEP THE WEDDING PARTY SMALL: As insensitive as it may sound, if you want to save, plan on a small bridal party. With bridesmaid’s bouquets costing $75 to $150 each and boutonnieres at $15 to $20 each, this is an easy area to save you several hundred dollars. And this doesn’t even include the extra funds you will save on gifts for each attendant at the rehearsal dinner.
CUT THE GUEST LIST: Keeping the guest list down to only your friends and family is a great way to save some cash. This will not only make your party more intimate and personal for everyone attending, but it can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
SKIP THE LIVE MUSIC: Live entertainment is expensive. There’s no way around it. To save a few hundred dollars, go with a DJ for your event. While a DJ is very commonplace at weddings, most DJs will customize your song list for the night, making the celebration all your own. If you want something a little more modern than the YMCA and Chicken Dance, there are many club DJs who are now performing weddings. Club DJs are a little more expensive, but are still much less than hiring five to seven musicians for the night.