Wedding Wisdom

Wedding Planning on a Budget

Our digital content editor's fiancé shares fives reasons to hire a wedding planner in a new blog documenting the journey to "I do."
Credit: Thinkstock

Welcome to Wedding Wisdom! Every week, JET experts will help you plan your dream nuptials from engagement to “I do.”  This week, wedding planner and bride-to-be Tami Smallwood, CEO of blush|WEDDING & EVENT PLANNING FIRM, shares tips for cutting costs and keeping all the glam.

Photo courtesy of Cellar Door Photography.

Photo courtesy of Cellar Door Photography.

Since I started my career in the wedding business I’ve picked up a few tips on how to cut costs without compromising personal style and swag. If you’re looking to have the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank, check out these tips to get the most bang for your buck.  

Keep it small.  Lowering your headcount can help save on food and beverage. Also, fewer guests equal fewer tables, which means fewer centerpieces, linens, etc.  Cutting 10 people can easily save you somewhere in the ballpark of $1,000 (depending on your budget). This can be very difficult, especially if you have a big family, but if you can pull it off, you can save a small fortune. Can we say winning?

Paper, please. Be strategic about your use of stationery.  Instead of paying for menu cards and place cards – why not combine them?  My guests will enjoy their personalized menu at their assigned seat.  Each menu will display the guest’s name and his or her specific meal selection for the evening.  We will display table assignments during cocktail hour via seating charts that will cost no more than $10 each.

Floor planning: 101. Your floor plan can play a huge part in your floral bill.  When choosing your centerpieces for the reception, don’t be afraid to create a variation in centerpieces, which also helps cut costs. Dare to be different and mix up the arrangements. Why spend $4,000 ($200 x 20 tables) on 20 identical centerpieces when you can pay about $3,000 for varying styles and heights ($200 x 6, $150 x 7, $100 x 7, you ).  You just saved a grand AND your guests have three different vignettes to enjoy.

Avoid wedding rush hour. Saturday night is the most popular and expensive day to get married. Consider another day of the week, such as a Sunday. A simple move from a Saturday night dinner to a Sunday afternoon brunch could save hundreds of dollars. Also, keep in mind that spring and summer are the peak wedding seasons. Consider off-peak months to save even more money on your wedding.

Serve a signature drink. Instead of stocking a full bar, consider serving a signature drink. This will easily add a pop of personality and keep dollars down when it comes to your alcohol tab.

Hire a planner. Though hiring a planner is an expense, a good planner will save you money and time (and time is money).  Having a creative mind to assist in the development and execution of your wedding within your budget is priceless!

Most of all, remember what’s important—your fiancé, family, and friends. Focus on why you’re getting married and not keeping up with the Joneses. Make sure your wedding reflects your fabulous style and taste, but doesn’t send you to the poorhouse.

Your Turn: Do you have fabulous money-saving tips to share? Sound off in the comments!