Monthly Archives: August 2017

10 Wedding Budget Trimming Tips That Save (Beautifully!)

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heart cookies for wedding guestsWedding planning can seem like a balancing act. On one hand, you want a beautiful wedding day that’s exactly like your envisioned dream wedding. On the other hand, you don’t want to get in over your head financially. That’s why we’ve put together a list of tips that’ll help you balance both goals—without feeling like you’re balancing precariously with no net (and no end in sight!).

  • Set a budget (and stick to it). If you want to keep down costs, don’t skip this important step: discuss your wedding budget with your fiance and organize the funds you available into a wedding budget that you can stick to. If you have any family members or friends that have offered to contribute, talk to them about the amount they want to contribute (and don’t forget to thank them!). Setting a wedding budget gives you numbers to stick to, so you don’t end up with a heaping stack of receipts for less significant wedding expenditures and no funds for the important items on your wedding planning checklist (i.e. venue, food, etc.).
  • Buy off the rack. The cost of a wedding dress can eat up most of your wedding budget, but only if you let it. Instead, browse through the clearance racks and search for a dress that can be altered to fit. Often, the cost of a clearance dress and the alterations can be less than a new dress.
  • Trim your guest list. It’s okay to drop your “the more, the merrier” approach when the wedding budget gets tight. Take distant family relations off your wedding guest list or make your wedding an adult-only affair. Use wording like ‘Please join us at our adults-only wedding reception.’ Or ‘Due to limitations, we can only accommodate adults at our wedding reception.’
  • Hold your wedding on an “off day” or “off month.” Many venues give discounts for days of the week of the week that aren’t traditional wedding days, such as a Friday or Sunday. The same goes for months that aren’t considered popular wedding months, such as January or April. Contact your favorite venue to find out what dates are available, and thin those days down to the right wedding day that fits your budget.
  • Choose a wedding venue that requires little décor. It’s a common wedding planning mistake: choose the cheapest wedding venue that needs tons of décor to make it beautiful. Instead, look for an affordable wedding venue that is a striking backdrop without investing a small fortune in décor.
  • Shop around for the right wedding vendors. Choosing the right vendors (here’s how) is one of the key ways you can trim dollars off your wedding budget. Note the term “right.” The right wedding vendor is not always the cheapest; you don’t want to choose a sub-par wedding vendor that delivers low-quality service (or even worse, no service).
  • Don’t buy too many (or too expensive) wedding favors. Wedding favors can be a really fun wedding detail, but it can also become a huge wedding expense if you are not careful. When dollars get tight, make sure you allocate funds for big impact items like a beautiful venue, and don’t overspend on wedding favors you don’t need.
  • DIY—within reason. Tackling certain tasks yourself can be a huge savings, if you’re diligent about your funds and time. Do your research before you take on a DIY project; often the amount of time and supplies needed can surpass the amount you would have spent to rent the item. If you do take on a DIY project, don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family for help so you don’t get stressed out (here’s more tips so you can handle wedding planning stress) and get all the items checked off your wedding planning checklist.
  • Look into whether it’s cheaper to rent or buy. Before you sign on the dotted line to rent your décor, compare your options. In certain cases, it can be cheaper to purchase décor (new or used-check online) instead of renting (and you may be able to resell it afterward!).
  • Bring in the experts. A little bit of research can save you a lot in the long run; if you don’t have time, hire a wedding planner that can assist you in the process. Some venues have wedding planners on staff that are already familiar with your venue—and the local wedding vendors that can save you money.

Couples: How to De-Stress Your Wedding Planning

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wedding figures for top of cake after wedding budget planningChoosing the right wedding venue. Hiring a photographer. Selecting table décor. Setting the right menu…the list of wedding planning tasks can go on and on (just look at this wedding checklist); it’s easy to see why couples get overwhelmed juggling wedding planning, a career, and a life.

What’s not easy is to figure out a way to get rid of the wedding planning stress when you feel in over your head and just keep saying, “I just want to get married!” That’s why we compiled a list of tips, tricks, hacks, and ideas that’ll help you manage your stress and your wedding planning.

Stay organized

It’s hard to feel like you’re on a runaway wedding planning train when you feel like you’re on top of it. Don’t procrastinate tackling your wedding planning checklist (and use these other organizing tips too), and make sure you have a wedding app or binder to track your progress.

Lean on the pros

If you feel like you can’t connect all the dots of your wedding details, or you have too much on your plate already, don’t hesitate to hire a wedding planner to help with the process (with as little or as much guidance as you want to give). To minimize the amount of calls and emails you have to make, choose a wedding venue with an event planner on staff. An event planner at the wedding venue is already familiar with your wedding venue, and can turn your vision into a reality.

Head to the spa

Don’t be afraid to step away from wedding planning to take care of yourself. Head to the spa so you can feel rejuvenated and ready to take on your next wedding planning task.

Seek out expertise

The right wedding vendors make your wedding planning easier, not more complicated. Use these tips to seek out and choose the right companies and individuals that can make the process easier—and you feel comfortable communicating with (you’ll have to talk with them a lot).

Disconnect

When the weight of wedding planning is really starting to get to you, try disconnecting for a few hours or days. Leave all your devices behind, and give your chance to really enjoy an offline experience.

Go for a run (or bike ride or walk or hike or…)

Exercising causes your body to release chemicals in your brain called endorphins, which can give you a positive feeling—something you desperately need when you’re overwhelmed. Go for a run, head to a yoga class, take a walk, go for a hike, go swimming, or enjoy whatever your favorite exercise is to increase your positive outlook.

Ask for help

Don’t hesitate to ask your partner or trusted friends and family to help with wedding planning tasks. Make sure you give them a deadline, and follow up with them often; procrastination just leads to more stress.

Go on a date (with your fiance!)

When it feels like it’s all too much, and you’re both running around trying to get all your I’s dotted and t’s crossed, take some time to reconnect. Schedule regular dates throughout your wedding planning process—dates where you don’t talk about wedding planning. Just enjoy each other, and remember why you’re going through all this wedding planning in the first place.

Choose the Best Wedding Vendors for Your Big Day

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wedding day at a reception hall with bride and groom dancing after wedding planningCaterers, photographers, videographers, décor. The list of wedding vendors needed to pull off your big day may be long, but that doesn’t mean that the vetting process should be complicated.

Before you go on the hunt for the right wedding vendors, make sure you are not violating any of the fine print in your contract with your venue; some venues only allow certain vendors and can provide you with a list of approved businesses they work with. Other venues have an open vendor policy, allowing you to select any vendor as long as they have the required licenses. Let the fun process of wedding vendor selection begin with these helpful tips.

Research your vendor options.

Shows, internet searches, asking friends…there are a million different ways to find the wedding vendors you need. Once you have compiled a list of potential vendors, let your fingers do the research. Make sure you look beyond the beautiful websites and snappy social media pages. Look for red flags, such as:

  • Poor business reviews
  • A residential address (may not be an issue, but can be a sign that the business is more of a hobby and may not be able to deliver all the services needed when needed)
  • Lack of experience

Instead, research each vendor and look for proof that they are an experienced business that can deliver. Look for favorable reviews, photos, videos, and satisfactory business ratings and customers (it doesn’t help if they are excellent at what they do if they can’t manage their appointments and finances).

Ask your venue staff for recommendations.

Wedding venue staff are in a unique position; they get to see the results (and interactions) of décor vendors, videographers, caterers at every event hosted at their venue. If you’re at a loss for a certain type of vendor or can’t find the right vendor, contact the venue staff for a list of vendors they’ve seen in action.

Set up a meeting.

A face-to-face meeting is one of the most important parts of selecting the right vendors for your wedding. If any of your wedding vendors are reluctant to do so, or don’t have a location to meet in, be prepared to walk away.

Make sure you have a wedding budget set (and all the important conversations done) before you meet with any vendors. Prioritize what vendors are most important to you so you can decide where to allocate the majority of your wedding budget.

Feel comfortable with your choice (and the method of communication).

When in the meeting, look for three important factors: compatibility, communication, experience. If you don’t feel comfortable with a vendor, or don’t communicate on the same wave length, follow your instinct and avoid signing on the bottom line. In the same way, ask for references and proof of experience from every vendor you meet with.

You don’t want your wedding to be the first experiment for your wedding vendor, but in the same way you don’t want to be one of so many that you don’t feel like they are focused on your special day. Your vendor should give their full attention to you during the meeting, and ask questions that let you know they are listening.

Ask your vendors how they plan and how you should communicate with them in the future. This is important so you don’t feel ignored and get the responsiveness you need. Make sure they have a line of communication you’re comfortable with; you don’t want to choose a vendor who’s only comfortable with electronics and ignores your phone calls (or vice versa).

Read the fine print.

Don’t sign a contract until you read through it thoroughly—or have someone you trust go through it with a fine tooth comb. You don’t want to miss any hidden fees, costs, or limitations (such as a certain number of hours, photos, etc.) that could make you regret your vendor choice.