By STEPHANIE CARN
With a little over three months to my wedding day, I am up to my neck making plans. Lucky for me, I have three older sisters who’ve been through it, supportive parents, a wonderful fiance and very helpful almost-in-laws. But even with an amazing support network, all the little tasks start piling up.
Caterers, florists, cake decorators, rental companies, DJ’s, photographers, centerpieces, invitations… Just surviving wedding planning is an accomplishment in itself. But planning AND saving money? It seems like an impossible task. But you can do it.
Armed with sage advice from professionals, internet resources and those who’ve been through it, here are five different tips for saving money on your wedding.
Write out a budget and stick to it! This is something that needs to be done as soon as you have that ring on your finger. Figure out who’s family is paying for what, and the basics of your wedding; where you’ll be married, and where and what type of reception you’ll have.
“Once you know how much money is available, you can then set the tone for your wedding. There’s no sense planning an elaborate formal wedding for 200 before you know how it will be funded.” Susan Tatsui-D’Arcy writes in “The Working Woman’s Wedding Planner.”
Look around before deciding on a photographer. With so many studios and packages available, it’s important to look around if you want to find the best deal.
On the Internet, at www.weddingpages.com, advice is offered about saving money on photography.
“Check for an art school or university in your area that has advanced photography classes. You might find an experienced student who will take pictures for a flat fee and give you the negatives.”
Consider all your options. From catalogs, to local businesses, to printing the invitations on your own home computer, there are many different avenues available.
Almost every wedding magazine has 800 numbers for invitation catalogs that you can buy from direct. Compare prices with local printers so you can get the best deal. Also consider printing your own invitations with the affordable software and invitation paper that’s available now.
Some bridal stores give discounts if you buy your gown and the bridesmaids’ gowns at their store. Other options include having your dress made, borrowing a friend’s gown or renting one.
Marni McCauley, 28, a 1995 BYU graduate in early childhood education from Snowflake, Ariz. wished she had rented her gown instead of buying it.
“I thought I would keep my gown forever, but once I had my baby I realized it’s too much to lug around,” she said.
McCauley is advertising her dress on the ad board in the Wilkinson Student Center.
Marie Fullmer, 24, a 1995 BYU graduate in nursing from Salt Lake City, had her gown made.
“My mom made mine, so it was really inexpensive. If she hadn’t made it though, I probably would have rented it,” Fullmer said.
5. The Reception
For LDS couples, the reception is usually where the bulk of wedding costs come from. A typical reception involves flowers, food, decorations and music. But with careful planning it won’t cost you (or your parents) an arm and a leg.
As far as location, if you’re against having your reception in a cultural hall, consider having it in a friend’s home or backyard.
Flowers It may be more economical to buy satin or silk flowers instead of fresh ones during some times of the year. Along with being inexpensive, you won’t have to pay to get them preserved.
Shauna McCourt, a designer for Robert’s Crafts also recommends keeping your wedding date away from holidays.
“The price of flowers is more expensive around holidays like Mother’s Day. Start early getting prices,” McCourt said.
Catering The website at www.weddingchannel.com recommends serving hors d’oeuvres to save money on catering “avoiding those that are labor intensive or use expensive ingredients.”
If there is a nearby college or university with a catering service, you may want to investigate their prices. Also, look into wholesale clubs and grocery stores that sell ready-made food platters.
You also have option of catering the wedding yourself, but you may want to weigh the hassle and stress involved with the cost of having the event catered.
Decorations A fun and inexpensive alternative to flowers, balloons may be just the touch you want to make your reception look festive. It may be even cheaper to rent a helium tank and blow up the balloons yourself.
You may also want to consider making your own centerpieces for tables. Get ideas from craft stores or even homemaking.
Music Look for talented people in your ward or area to play instruments for a smaller fee. If you want the feel of a band, for less money, consider hiring a DJ.
Saving money is possible, even though it may take a little more research. Rely on family, friends and word of mouth, and look at all the possibilities before making any final decisions. And most importantly, remember to have fun.