Every bride wants her wedding day to be the most beautiful day of her life—but there’s no need to land in the poor house in order to make this long-awaited dream come true! “My rule of thumb: There’s no need to spend a ton of money to have an elegant wedding,” states David Tutera, leading wedding and celebrity entertainment expert and star of WE’s My Fair Wedding. “You don’t have to buy a lot of things or have an abundance of trinkets to have a lavish, well-done wedding. Anyone on any budget can have a beautiful ceremony and reception. There is beauty in extravagance but there is also beauty in simplicity!”
David’s book, The Big White Book of Weddings: A How-to Guide for the Savvy, Stylish Bride, is dedicated to this very concept. Here are 10 of his money-saving tricks that will cut back on costs…but not class!
1. Create your budget before spending a dime Before booking or buying one thing for your big day, David strongly advises to figure out how much money is in your wedding fund. “Ensuring you have enough money to purchase what you want—and keeping you out of a disaster zone of debt to come home to from your honeymoon—is our priority here.” And while every bride’s budget is different, David offers these percentages as a guide on how your money should be spent: food and beverage 30%; flowers and decorations 15%; extra cushion 10%; entertainment 10%; venue rental 8%; lighting and sound 5%; tipping 5%; photos and video 4%; cake 3%; printed materials 2%; transportation 2%; hair and makeup 2%; dress 2% and accessories 2%.
2. Aim low on the guest list Guarantee your venue the lowest guest count possible. “You can always go up from there and you won’t ever be contractually obligated to pay for more people than you can guarantee,” says David.
3. Explore the drink options Beverages could run you a fortune, but the first thing to ask your venue is about special drink packages. David also suggests asking about the difference in price and quality between premium bar and a top-shelf bar, as well as asking if you can bring your own alcohol and pay a corkage fee.
4. Inquire about food choices Keep in mind that scaling down from a four-course dinner to a three-course dinner can save you money. Also, certain entrees and hors d’oeuvres may be priced lower than others, along with foregoing food stations and opting for passed hors d’oeuvres.
5. Think “variety” when it comes to flowers “To cut costs from having to pay for large arrangements for each table, ask for a mix of high and low arrangements or a variation of three correlating arrangement designs—varying in cost—mixed throughout the tables,” says David. “This will get you out of paying for all large arrangements and will also add aesthetic variety to the look of your reception on many visual levels.”
6. Find a “two-for-one” company when it comes to photography Some brides hire both a photographer and videographer, but if your budget does not allow to hire two professionals, search for a company that can offer you a package deal for both services. “Another way to save is to have your photographer put your wedding day photos into a video montage with music,” suggests David.
7. Go with one source for music “Have the same vendor provide you with music for each part of your wedding,” says David. “If you want a harpist for your ceremony, a trio for your cocktail hour and a band for your reception, keep it in the family. It will be more organized and you could potentially save money this way.”
8. Ask about bridal gown bargains When it comes to buying your dress, David suggests asking bridal departments and salons about upcoming sales and designer trunk shows. And he says that smaller boutiques may be willing to bargain. “If you buy all of your accessories in one place, they just may come down in price.”
9. Buy a fake cake Believe it or not, you can rent a fake wedding cake—and no one will ever know! “Realistically decorated and beautifully adorned to match your wedding, these faux wedding cakes are made for display only, yet contain a small section to cut into for show,” explains David. “Hidden in the back, servers will pre-cut sheet cakes and serve for a dessert illusion that will save you hundreds of dollars.”
10. Choose a “full” venue Keep in mind that when you find a venue that is just one, big empty space, your budget will need to expand since you will have to bring in everything, from chairs to chinaware. “So look for a venue that has these items in stock, and you will save yourself a bundle in both money and effort,” David suggests.
Have a DIY idea you’d like to share? How’d you cut costs at your wedding? Post a comment below and let us know.