September 27, 2011

Keeping your wedding on a budget: Ways to keep costs from skyrocketing

There is no doubt that these days have many people feeling the crunch of the economy. A wedding is a huge undertaking and can be quite overwhelming. I have many years of experience as a wedding director, being a food and beverage manager at an elite country club in Florida. I would like to share some money saving tips to help out the budget concerned couple.

Negotiation

When looking for a venue to hold your special day make sure you go prepared. Have a few different spots in the area in mind and make appointments with each one before you go to any of them. This tactic gives you the upper hand. Each place is going to fight for your business and letting the person you are speaking with that you have a few more appointments makes them want to try to keep you negotiating with them as long as possible. Go to your least favorable (probably the cheapest) place first to get an idea of what the cost of “your” wedding would be. The next step is to go to your favorite spot and use the information you obtained to battle the person into lowering the cost of your dream wedding. Even the most elite establishments are hurting these days and want your business. You can ask them to drop or even eliminate many fees that go along with the big day. One example is the room rental fee. Demand that it be lowered or even wavered all together. Some money is better than no money to these places. This fee is just a profit making charge and is not necessary to hold your event. Make sure you have an outline of what you want before you speak to anyone. Trained professionals can talk you into things you don’t want or need.

Time of Day

Holding your event earlier in the day eliminates the need to feed your guests a dinner. You can get by with appetizers or finger foods without leaving your guests unsatisfied. Remember this is your day and not for the family and friends attending.

Cash Bar

Obviously you want people to have a great time at your wedding, but they don’t need to have a “Great Time” at your expense. Do not feel that you need to provide libations to your guests. If they want to drink than they can spend what they want. You can also put down a limit towards an “open” bar and when the bartender reaches that limit it goes to a cash bar. This is a sign of generosity on your part and lets your guests have some drinks without making your wedding bankrupt the two of you.

Venues

There may be many locations that can accommodate your wedding. Be sure to look at many different places. Your local VFW, Moose Lodge, or golf course can be a much cheaper alternative for your event. Be sure to check out what facilities they have, such as kitchens, tables and chairs, serving ware, etc.. Many of these establishments will let you cater from an outside source giving you the ability to find a less expensive alternative for the food you plan to serve. If you do plan to cater from an out source be sure to look at local culinary schools for your meal preparation. They normally only charge the cost of the food and rarely disappoint. These students are trying to impress.

Entertainment

Never let a wedding planner or establishment hire your band or disc jockey. They can give you recommendations, but hire them on your own. Look at local colleges and Universities for students willing to entertain your event. They are always a cheaper alternative. Be sure to get an audition first. Ask them for an invitation to a bar or club that they may be performing at and go check them out.

The Cake

Making the cake from within the family can save you quite a bit of money. Make sure the person you select for this task knows what they are doing and wants to take on this job. Beware, that if you hold your reception at an establishment that is serving you appetizers or dinner, many states have health regulations that will not allow a “homemade” cake being served as it puts a liability on that establishment. An alternative is a local supermarket.

The Professional Hires

Try to find friends and family that can to the normal necessities of a wedding. A photographer or videographer can cost a lot of money and if you know someone that is qualified for these jobs, asks them if they could do it. Consider it a wedding gift if need be. See if a relative has a upscale car that you can use instead of hiring a limo or town car. Setting up the event can also be done by friends and family. Use all of your resources.

Rentals

Always hire a rental company directly. Most establishments will profit off of you by letting them hire a rental company. Most rental companies will also drop of the equipment, letting you set it up youself. This eliminates the fee of having the company set up your wedding. Also consider using plastic and paper for your table cloths and napkins.

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