Weddings are an expensive investment, one that can add up quicker than many realise. We've worked with many clients in helping them organise their special day and even helped them save considerable amounts of money with their venue and suppliers and since every penny counts, here are a few tips you can do without a wedding planner.
Weddings can certainly be a costly event, but there are ways to ensure they don't set you up for a life of debt! Image courtesy of The Stock Exchange
Use free resources for ideas Bridal magazines can be crazy expensive, so why not find a friend or colleague who is also planning or just got married and swap or better yet check out your local library.
Also there are hundreds of resources for free online now to inspire you.
Visit free wedding fairs and expos. There are a lot of expos that require payment for entry but there are also many free ones and as the prospective customer why should you be expected to pay an admission fee to view their stands?
Ask lots of questions and obtain quotes without making any firm commitments at the time, giving you a chance later to review all of the offerings and make your choices without any sales pressure - you'll be amazed at the price variations for supplying identical services.
Some of the larger wedding fairs will be charging high fees to the wedding suppliers who attend. This will have two consequences for YOU, firstly, it will exclude many of the smaller, but equally good quality, local wedding suppliers who cannot justify the wedding fair expenditure and secondly, you have to ask who is ultimately paying for these high exhibition fees? YOU ARE!
Also if you use a wedding planner, they can easily compare rates with catering companies, entertainers, theme companies, etc and get you better deals as they buy more frequently from these companies and have far more negotiating power.
Use Online Auctions like e-Bay Many of the items that you need for your wedding are available on e-Bay at a fraction of the price charged by many wedding vendors. Cake toppers, favors, balloons, new and used-once decoration items that can save you a lot of money. Do your shopping well ahead of the wedding date to allow plenty of postal time. Check for the established and trusted sellers by checking the number of items they have sold previously and their feedback rating.
Canapes are becoming more popular for weddings and are more cost effective than a traditional seated three course meal. Image courtesy of The Stock Exchange.
Catering Your Wedding Reception Ask your caterer for advice and be completely honest with them about your catering budget. A good caterer will have the ability to adapt your menu to suit your budget without compromising on the experience. Discuss with the caterer the options that are available to you, maybe considering a brunch or a canape menu vs a formal seated dinner could be an option and can save you plenty of money.
You should also carefully consider the bar arrangements as this can have a considerable cost. If you intend to provide a free bar, then ask about restricting this to only wine and beer, which will be cheaper.
Double Check Your Guest List Each name on your guest list is an increase in the cost of your wedding. It's not just the catering cost that will increase, but also the table decoration, favors, rentals you may need and even the size of the room you need to hire. Don't be pressured to invite all of your work colleagues or people who you aren't really close to but are inviting to please other people. Also consider a child-free reception as each child over the ages of about 5 will cost you almost as much as an adult in terms of catering numbers.
Remove anyone from your guest list that you haven't had contact with in the year and don't bow to pressure to invite distant relatives. When you invite friends and relatives who are single, resist the temptation to include "and guest" on their invitation, they are attending your wedding, not out on a date paid for by you.
Think About Your Date and Time Saturday is the most popular day to hold a wedding, so suppliers and venues are likely to be booked well in advance (sometimes a year ahead) and they have little incentive to reduce their prices.
However, if you choose to have your wedding midweek, or on a Sunday, there is less demand for these days. Wedding suppliers will have fewer bookings for these days and will be more inclined to quote you better prices in the hope of additional work. If your wedding is timed for early in the day you may be able to secure a better rate from wedding car suppliers, as their vehicles can be used later for a second wedding or evening transportation jobs.
You might be surprised to find a huge difference in the cost of hiring a wedding car on your day- shopping around can make a big difference. Image courtesy of The Stock Exchange.
Shop Around For Wedding Cars The wedding cars can be a surprisingly large cost on your wedding day for such a short period of service. If you are fortunate enough to know someone who owns a luxury or unique car that you would like to use, you may be able to persuade them to provide it for your wedding as their wedding present to you.
If you are hiring a wedding car, it certainly pays to shop around various suppliers and various vehicle types. Don't assume that all wedding car suppliers have the same rates, they don't - and don't assume that a cheaper quote means an inferior car.
Go along and view the wedding cars, ask questions and don't be afraid to negotiate, some companies have lower operating costs than others and some will have fewer bookings for your wedding date than others, so discounts may be available.
There is the possibility that wedding car suppliers will try to get you to hire two cars, for the groom and for the bride. Ask if there is sufficient time for one wedding car to make more than one journey, there generally is as the groom needs to be at the wedding venue much earlier than the bride.
Flowers and Floral Arrangements It always helps to obtain quotes from several local florists and view their previous work before making your final decision.
If you have a church wedding service planned, then bear in mind that you will not be using the church and the wedding reception venue at the same time. You can save some money by simply asking friends to take the flowers from the church after the service and displaying them at your reception so you get more use from them.
The Wedding cake The age-old tradition of having rich fruit wedding cakes is passing, so you may want to consider having only the top tier of your cake made of rich fruit cake, with the other tiers made from sponge cake. If you do not intend to keep the top tier after the wedding, then you could have the whole cake made in sponge, or dispense with a top tier completely.
Cupcakes can be a great way to save on the cost of your wedding cake, especially for more casual or beach/garden party style weddings. Image courtesy of The Stock Exchange.
Alternatively, cupcakes and macaroons and even cheese cakes (made of stacked wheels of cheese) are appearing more frequently at weddings.)
Hire A Professional Wedding Planner Booking a wedding planner initially may seem like an additional cost, but in truth hiring a wedding planner will save you a fortune!
Wedding planner have FAR more negotiating power as venues and suppliers want them to keep using their services. You are a 'one-off' buyer to your supplier but a wedding planner will potentially come back to them several times over. This gives them a negotiating power you don't have.
Also, who wants to spend their wedding day on the phone with all your suppliers organising setup, giving directions, answering last minute questions? Your job is to focus on you and your big day, not worry about where the caterer will leave the rubbish for pickup or where the power points are for the DJ. Or worse yet, sorting through supplier contracts!
At the end of the day, planers will almost always earn their cost back and they are absolutely always worth their cost in stress relief alone.
We make absolutely sure that our bridal parties are guests at the wedding, not logistics managers!
For more information on getting the best rates and suppliers for your upcoming wedding in Australia (or booking a destination wedding anywhere in the world) contact The Ideas Library at www.TheIdeasLibrary.com.au