In times of economic recession, couples, more than ever, look for ways in which to save money on their weddings. It’s important to know where to cut and where not to cut, as this bride learns.
A Hudson Valley bride asks: “It seems that everything about planning our wedding is more expensive than what we’ve budgeted for! I’d like to stay in our budget, but I also want our wedding to be lovely. Where can I think about cutting (and where should I not)?”
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The Wedding Guru says: Tightening your belt is a good thing, but don’t confuse being frugal with being cheap. That said, here are some things I would invest money in:
Many people say that it’s the music that makes the event, so don’t cut back on sound equipment. Regardless of what music you select (i.e. live, deejay, or electronic), your guests won’t hear the music if the sound quality is poor. Professionals will evaluate the sound system before they arrive on your big day, but if you decide to supply your own music, it’s always a good idea to make sure you test the sound. Make a list of what should be brought to the venue on your wedding day.
(One of the disadvantages of supplying your own music is that you’ll also need to appoint someone to make announcements regarding when dinner is served, when the cake is being cut, and other highlights of your day. Hired entertainment can handle that job, but doing it yourself is a no-no.)
Your guests will expect to be well-fed; a crowd can become really unpleasant when hungry. For an event that spans more than three hours, your guests should be served dinner. This is not a place to cut! If you have choice but to serve a limited meal, then include that information on your invitation, allowing your guests to grab a bite before they arrive. (“Light snacks, Champagne, and dancing to follow” helps to let your guests know what to expect — or, rather, what not to expect). One way to cut the budget regarding food is to plan your wedding around breakfast or brunch, which tend to be less expensive than a dinner menu.
Last but not least — and I don’t mean to offend today’s tech-savvy generation — I advise that you do not email your wedding invitations. Yes, email invites are less expensive, but they’re also very inelegant and, perhaps even more importantly, they can create a real pain in the neck for you. Not all your guests have (or read) email on a regular basis. It’s difficult in an email to indicate any exceptions, such as children or significant others being included or excluded. If you must cut your invitation budget, consider computer-generated ones and mail them.