2015 was a great wedding year! We had 26 brides tie the knot at our B&B this past year! We compiled a list of their advice and added a few tips of our own for those of you getting engaged this season.
Stick to Your Budget
In 2014, 45% of couples went over budget, while 23% of couples didn’t have any budget at all! According to TheKnot.com, the average cost of a wedding in 2014 was $31,213. (To put this into perspective, the average down payment on a house in 2014 was $32,141.) The most expensive aspects of the wedding are going to be predominantly guest related, including venue selection, music, size of cake, catering, alcohol, favors, invitations, and other entertainment. Many of our brides choose to have smaller weddings because they feel too much pressure from friends and family and end up spending much more than they planned. Ultimately, the wedding is all about YOU and your fiance and this event will have a lasting financial impact on your future. Stay strong and stick to a budget that will give you two a strong start in life!
Decide on Your Venue Before You Buy the Dress
The venue sets the stage and the formality for the whole event. Buying the dress before you know the setting can lead to a mismatched dress code for you and your guests. You may not want to walk down the aisle in a ballroom wearing a cocktail length wedding dress. Considerations also need to be made for comfort level. Having a dress with a long train will be difficult to maneuver at an outside wedding and could damage the dress. Once you have a venue and date booked, you will have an idea of how formal and the type of dress that will best suit the setting.
Take a Break From Pinterest
One of our brides decided to downsize her wedding from 200 to 50. When I asked why she responded, “I went Pinterest crazy! Everything got more and more expensive and I had to walk away.” Pinterest is great for brainstorming and style ideas, but many of the projects and photos are much more expensive and time demanding than they let on. Use Pinterest as a starting point and for inspiration, but then make your wedding your own! Be careful about taking photos to florists and cake designers and be flexible with their suggestions. You can cut the cost of many of your add-ons by using less expensive materials and designs.
Have All the Details Before Sending Invitations
The date, time, and location are not the only things that may need to go in your invitations. Details about venue parking arrangements or specific directions and location may need to be added. For a grassy garden or beach wedding, be sure to add a note about shoes or other attire that may be needed. Details like this will reduce confusion on the day and make for more comfortable guests, and adding them in the invitations means less phone calls and stress for you!
Hire a Caterer or Opt for a Restaurant
For small weddings, it may be tempting to make the food yourself in an attempt to save money. Before deciding to do this, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Someone will need to be in charge of food on the day. Even if you prepare food the day before, it will need to be cooked and served by one or two of your guests or wedding party. This includes serving and kitchen clean up. These individuals will be left out of the party.
- Check with the venue to make sure bringing in homemade food is okay. Most locations require using a state-licensed caterer, so as to avoid food-related illnesses. A caterer’s fee includes food, linens, dishes, service, and cleanup and is well worth the expense.
If food service is just not in the budget, consider going out to eat at a fine restaurant in the area. This can either be setup for individuals to pay for their meals or for one person to pay the entire check. Check for restaurants with private party rooms. You will need to reserve this in advance.
Don’t Over/Under Schedule Your Photographer
The photographer does not always need to be there for the whole event. They are there to capture the big moments of the wedding as well as get pictures of the family and wedding party. It is important to have a schedule for the day and to stick to it, this way you can schedule the time for your photographer, knowing they will be present to catch all the big events of the day. Typically, a photographer focuses on “getting ready” pictures, ceremony, and family/wedding party. Once the reception has started, they are there mostly for cake cutting, first dance, and toasts. After this is completed, you may not want to pay the photographer to stand around while you and your guests are chatting during the reception. Unless there is a special planned send off for the bride and groom towards the end, letting the photographer go early is a good way to save some money. In contrast, be sure to schedule enough time for your photographer and stay on schedule so they aren’t leaving before you cut the cake.
Plan for Toasts
At smaller or more informal weddings, traditions can be left behind. The toasting tradition should not be one of them. This is a very special tradition that adds so much love and meaning to the party and it should not be neglected. Even when there is not a maid of honor or best man, the bride and groom should choose a few people to give a toast. Be sure to let these people know in advance and give them as much direction as you see fit.
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