Saturday, September 19, 2009

Who is eating the cake and the wedding expenses?

Planning a wedding and don't have the money? Look at the big picture. Do you really want to start your marriage off with a huge debt? What to do:

  • If your wedding expenses rely on you

  • If you have no or limited resouces for financial help (ie: brides parents)

  • If you don't have the money saved for your wedding

  • If you have agreed (as bride and groom, collectively) to utilize the almighty credit card

  • If you have planned on securing a loan for your wedding

Here are some suggestions you need to consider before going into debt for a wedding. Really? Do you want to start your marriage off with a wedding debt?

  • Create a budget. Decide, right now, what amount your are willing to stretch yourself out for. If you have no idea how much, then consider this, the average wedding in the DC Metropolitan area costs around $23,000. If this is too large, lower it. Cut it in half or deduct a third and decide how long you want to stretch yourself out for. Are you willing to pay a monthly amount of $X over the next XXXX years? Figure in extra's such a interest and be realistic about it.

  • If you are like a lot of people and this is your first wedding but you have moved away from the nest, it may be expected by your parents that you cover the wedding expenses yourself. It is tradition that the brides parents pay for the wedding and the grooms parents pay for the rehearsal dinner. But today it is different, in the majority of cases the traditional family unit is no longer the norm and parents may be on their own, having been divorced and may not have the resources themselves. Also, brides and grooms may be already living on their own and have established jobs, homes, and this level of independence may be why some parents feel it is no longer their responsibility. If this is the case with you and things have gone on unspoken, it will be up to you to ask your parent(s) if they are going to help you pay for your wedding. You need to, right now, approach your parents and ask, "Are you willing to gift me any money for my wedding and if so, how much"? Maybe this is your second wedding? It will definately be your responsibility now. If this is something you can not do because it is uncomfortable for you, than this is part of what I can do for you as your Wedding Planner. I start with open dialogue and ease in the $$ situation so you don't have to!

  • Remember, keeping it simple is a key component to your wedding financial success! Be flexible, be willing to bend, be creative, step outside of the box, make decisions that reflect your budget. We all have dreams of a beautiful extravagent wedding, but please keep it in perspective and look at the big picture.

  • Decide what area of your wedding is most important and put the money there and reduce in other areas. Is your Honeymoon more important than those chair covers? Then think about what is most important to you when spending your money. A good way to do this, is pretend it is 15 years down the road and you are looking back at your wedding day.... what area do you think is sticking out in your memory, the wonderful cake, the beautiful decor, the dress? Spend your money there.

  • Have one account set up for your wedding expenses. Whether it be a checking account with debit card or a credit card account, don't take from various accounts for your expenses. Keep all of your receipts and vendor contracts in one place. One of the best organizational tools is a 3 ring binder with a three hole punch handy. Include a calendar of every month leading up with a couple of months past your wedding date, plastic inserts, dividers with labels and a calculator. Only put in the binder your contracts and schedule. You could also include a wish list and make sure you include your timeline up front and stick to it. When I contract with you to plan your wedding, I keep track of all your budget expected and actual costs.

  • A great way to reduce a huge cost is to be very savvy about the wedding date. Consider booking your venue on a Friday night or Sunday afternoon in leau of the traditional Saturday. Venues are looking to book their facilities on alternate days and what are normally considered odd days such as Mothers Day, Fathers Day, or other days as seen as calendar holidays. Also, the time of year determines price. Early in the year (Jan/Feb) are great cost cutting months and should be considered.

  • Rely on yourself. If you want a huge amount of flowers but can't afford a florist, grow your own or look to a discount warehouse such as Costco to provide them. You just have to do the work of putting them together. Decorate your venue (church/reception) yourself. Borrow items, such as dresses, decorations, linens. Consider food stations instead of full blown dinners or buffets. Reduce time, which reduces alchohal consumption. Consider printing your own invitations and do simple post card save-the-dates to know who is coming and who is not up front.

  • ASK ME TO BE YOUR WEDDING PLANNER! Did you know that a wedding planner provides the best cost cutting advantages? I have built relationships with vendors to provide YOU with the best prices for weddings. Right now with the economy being in such poor condition, vendors are will to negotiate their prices to secure your business. I am a pro negotiator! Let me help you save $$ and as an extra tip, my prices are very reasonable too!