Ok, Buffalo gal – so you’re on a budget and you are admittedly a first timer at this whole wedding planning thing (or at least haven’t planned too many, we hope!) and you’ve probably already had quite a few head-scratching moments while balancing your tastes with what’s in your change purse. Should I do this? or that? What’s right, what’s wrong? Does this matter or not? I don’t know! Here is a quick list of the most frequently-committed faux pax ‘No Nos’ that happens at weddings that seem to come frequently when the bride or groom are trying to cut expenditures. Hey, it’s ok to cut costs, but it’s NOT ok to LOOK like you’re cutting corners. This is a list of what NOT to do. Are you ready?
- Don’t try to save money by getting fake flowers. Yes, real flowers can cost up to 10 to 20% of a wedding budget, and yes, the silk option will cost only a fraction in comparison, but real-deal flower appeal is an essential part of any classy wedding. Unfortunately, although silk flowers have gotten to be a bit more real looking that crude versions from the past, the truth is, fake flowers will not help you create that elegant authentic wedding of your dreams. In fact, trust me. You won’t be fooling anyone. So now what? Just because you can’t afford thousands of dollars on copious swags of fresh buxom rosettes at your wedding does not mean you have to sacrifice an ounce of elegance! This is a moment where ‘less is more’ can really go a very long way. Who said you had to have a complete bouquet? Either for you or for your bridesmaids? There are many options for a single graceful flower that look spectacular in the hands of a bride or her bridesmaids. The same can be said for the aisle decorations, or center pieces. Choose individual flowers with long stems, and you can add flourish with gorgeous thick ribbon. You can also add a lot of greenery and baby’s breath which is terrifically inexpensive and equally as lovely. The best part, you can choose flowers from your local grocery store the morning of your wedding. What!? Seriously. You do NOT have to hire a wicked expensive florist!
2. Don’t save money by making your guests pay for alcohol. This is just tacky. But it is also understandable that an open bar for several hours is extremely expensive and may not be possible. Instead, plan to save money by keeping it simple and precise. Choose just 2 types of beer, 1 red wine and 1 white wine and perhaps offer a signature cocktail. You can even have an envelope at each seat with 3 drink tokens inside for your guests. (Trust me, unless your guests are complete drunkards, 3 drinks will be plenty and they will love the gesture of drink tokens)! When you send your invitations, you can even ask your guests to check which drinks they prefer, right next to whether they prefer the chicken or fish dinner selection. This can help you purchase the right amount and types of alcohol. Some guests will indicate to you that they only want soda or tea – and that will save you even more.
3. Unless they are already a professional wedding DJ or a photographer, don’t hire a friend to be your DJ or your photographer! Just because your friend’s neighbor has spun a couple times at an annual neighborhood barbeque does not mean he is going to be a fantastic choice for your wedding. And don’t hire your best friend’s sister because she is taking a photography class and seems to have a ‘good eye’ and has offered to shoot your wedding day at a bargain basement price to get ‘experience.’ This just speaks for itself. It is a recipe for potential disaster. Hire a DJ who is a professional MC and a musician and hire a professional photographer from the Buffalo area with experience and with a portfolio and solid reviews. An annoying DJ will make your guests grumpy and will leave early and horrid pictures featuring chopped-off heads and silly poses can never ever be redone. It won’t be worth the dollars saved. Oh, and you’ll have to face these people again because you know them. Buzzer sound! Nope. Next!
4. Don’t spend money on stuff that no one will ever even know the difference. As discussed, your guests will know fake flowers. But embossed invitations? A pure silk dress? A 3 thousand dollar wedding cake? No. There are gorgeous choices for invitations, lovely wedding gowns and extremely talented bakers in (grocery stores!) that will deliver on the the goods in high fashion without destroying your budget. The key is to compare the more pricey options to some of the less pricey options out there and you can walk away with versions of the most expensive designer brands that are just as elegant and rich but at a fraction of the cost.
5. Don’t get suckered into inviting 700 people. This is probably difficult task if you come from a giant Italian family or you are marrying into Western New York royalty, but chances are that you aren’t royalty and chances are also good that you don’t really have hundreds of super close family and friends that absolutely must get invited. The big offender here is family or friends sticking their nose into your planning, although well intentioned, making you feel guilty for not inviting your aunt Margie’s second cousin’s neighbor because she knitted your christening outfit all those blessed years ago. Don’t feel guilty! Lay the law early and make it known that you have a very particular budget to work with and that means a very specific invite list. Unless of course, they wish to contribute and pay for each individual they wish to see attend – then perhaps negotiations can be made! A great tactic to ensure your list stays within the specified confines of your budget is to pick a venue specifically targeted to only hold a certain number of guests. This capped allowable amount will ensure that you will have every right to be able to say – sorry! The venue holds 75 people, and we are topped out and have already invited 75.