You are engaged, the excitement is beyond what you ever thought you could feel and then all of those pinterest boards you have been saving for your wedding day come back to hit you. You have been going to friend’s weddings and taking notes on what you would do and would definitely not do at your own wedding. But these emotions can also allow us to go overboard on what is important and what is not to make a memorable and a wedding of your dreams.
Of course there is the reality that the average cost of a wedding in the US is at a number as high as $35,500.00! Crazy right!
So after you have come back from that blissful honeymoon and back to what we call the normal life of husband and wife, the last thing you want to have is staggering bills. Having any kind of questions about whether or not you should have skipped that extravagant dress, or skipped the favors come to mind. I would say some of the best advice is to really think about the following expenses we are going to talk about in this blog and with other couples and how they conquered their own questioning of how their money was allotted.
Now let me make this clear. I am a fan of all of the things I will mention, but that does not mean you need to spend your funds this way. Let’s start…
Some think about programs as a paper that people will either leave behind, or stash in their purse and then throw away when they get home. This is one of the top things people think can be eliminated from their budget. For me, I love a good program, but with that being said, make it interesting, not just a list of your wedding party and parents. As I did with my own daughter it was almost a story book of facts about each of the people involved in the wedding and what the relationship was with the bride and groom. I watched as many of our guests read through as they waited for the entrance of the bride. Not to say it cannot be expensive, but here is a thought – DO IT YOURSELF. You may not need a professional printer, print them yourself, sit around the table and assemble them, they can still be gorgeous!
If you do not want to go the paper route, many couples are opting to go digital on their wedding websites, where creativity is boundless!
Keep in mind if you are the couple having a more traditional or religious ceremony, you may want programs so your guests can follow along.
Do you want to skip the favor? Some couples cannot imagine their wedding without having favors, but does anyone really keep them? Again some favors are throwaway items, but on the other hand if you give a favor that will stand the test of time, it can change the game. I absolutely love anything that people can eat, like truffles, cookies, cake pops and the like. I am also the fan of plants and greenery to take home. Try to stay way from those personalized favors that get thrown in the back of someone’s cupboard. We have been so used to seeing all of these advertising on wedding sites and it has become embedded in our minds that everyone would love a glass with your name on it…not so much!
There are many other ways to make favors affordable and still make a statement with your guests. Some couples I have worked with have combined their place cards with their favors. They have used fresh fruits like apples, lemons, limes and the guest had this beautiful fruit along with knowing where their seat was at the reception.
If you are more of a person of giving, you may want to scrap the favor all together and in lieu give to a charity of your choice or one that may be very close to your heart. I have had brides give to charities like the Humane Society and The American Heart Association. Choose something that has meaning to you – make a beautiful sign and people will appreciate your philanthropy.
While most brides will splurge on their dress, the trend has also been to choose shoes that also make a statement. Here is the statement brides will tell you make a difference in the end – COMFORT!!! Most brides will never wear their wedding shoes again, but if you are a bride that wants that navy blue shoe, then find one that does not break the bank and one you can wear many times over. Treat it like an investment.
I have had brides that have chosen to wear some gorgeous shoes, had them specially made or have bought cheap shoes, but always at the end of the day they all want comfort and to be able to get through the night.
Today everyone wants to Say Yes To The Dress…some brides have told me they wish they would have said NO! Sometimes I am truly surprised at this reaction, but at the end of the day they have come to the realization that they put way too much money into a dress they will only wear once in their lifetime. Please, believe me…I think a bride needs to have the dress of her dreams, but I also believe if you work with some great Bridal Shops they will steer you in the right direction both budgetarily and for that gorgeous look every bride wants.
It is going on nine years that our daughter has been married. I remember her trying on a dress she had in her mind and as soon as she put it on I knew it was the one, but she looked at the price tag (at the time $800.00) and she tossed it aside. She was very cognizant of finances as she was 28 when she was married, so knew what it was like to pay bills and rent. In the end I bought the dress for her. It was the one, the one that made us cry together and she looked absolutely stunning the day of her wedding. But we had help, the women at the Bridal Shop let us try on several other dresses, some less expensive, some more expensive, they did not push us into anything and in the end we were so happy.
Just set a budget and be smart. Do not try on the dress you will never be able to afford as it will stay in your mind and you will question yourself always if you bought the right one.
Things have changed so much when it has come to buying a dress. Brides are now renting…yes I said renting. If you are a bride that may not be very sentimental or just need to save some money to put elsewhere in your day, this may be the way to go. It is all a personal choice, but go to someone very reputable in the industry.
Since the time I got married guest books were just a thing everyone had to have at all kinds of events, but especially at a wedding. Most people do not think of the cost of such things, but a lot of brides have spent tons of money on their guest book – and I am talking about the blank page book they personalize and decorate and put out for your signature. On the other side of the coin, I truly love the trends of getting a guest book that can be a piece of artwork, something to hand in your home or a true keepsake. I have done many weddings where they have had a tree of life with everyone’s thumbprints, a wooden cut out of Keuka Lake that everyone signs, wine corks for people to sign, small wooden hearts to be put into a shadow box, it is just endless. A lot of people tend to skip the guest book now, but I truly believe if you find the right one that speaks who you are, it will be something you will hang on to for years to come. Again, be wise with your money!
For all of the couples out there that think they cannot have the wedding of their dreams because of cost, I want you to know that as a Wedding Planner I have done weddings for 120-150 people that have cost $6,000.00 and weddings for the same amount of people that have been $150,000.00. There are always ways to make things beautiful and memorable without breaking the bank. And the most important thing will be the people who surround you with their love and support on that day, your parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends! Enjoy the roller coaster ride of wedding planner.