Tips & tricks from the Master of Ceremonies
You have many choices when it comes to wedding dresses. First of all, you can rent one. This gives you the opportunity to wear a dress that might be out of your budget if you had to buy it. Sample sales are another good place to score huge discounts. You may also look into wearing a family member’s dress. Lastly, you can have one made where you pick out the fabrics you can afford.
Limit the Guest List
You might have to do away with gate crashers at your wedding, and you can make it an “RSVP Only” function. This will save you on the entire cost of the wedding including the invites, as well as the food. Think of the guests you have to have at your wedding. The most important part is you and your spouse. You do not need a thousand guests to have a memorable and meaningful day. Most of the time, an intimate event is a lot more fun and comes with less stress.
If you plan your wedding during a peak season, you might have to shell out a lot more money than you would like. To cut costs, try setting your wedding for a less busy time of year. First of all, wedding venues will be happier to have you, and you might get better treatment. Secondly, you might be able to afford something that you wouldn’t have in peak season. A wedding can be beautiful regardless of the time of year.
Instead of going for a traditional church wedding, you might opt to exchange your vows at a local garden, farm or even a backyard. None of these types of venues are unheard of. Moreover, they are fun and save you money.
Food may or may not play a significant role in your wedding. However, you do have multiple options. A buffet is more cost-effective than a full course meal for each guest. Furthermore, you could skip having a full bar and simply serve signature cocktails as well as several non-alcoholic beverages. Lastly, if you are able, you might have your family and closest friends opt for a pot luck.
Guests Come First
Get a grip on the approximate number of guests you'll invite before settling on a venue. This will ensure there's ample space for your crew. As a rule of thumb, allow for 25 to 30 square feet per guest. That may seem like a lot, but it's not if you count the space you'll need for the tables, bustling waiters, the band, and the dance floor.
Investigate Wedding Blackout Dates
Know ahead of time if your wedding date falls on the same day as a trade conference, charity walk, or other local event that could affect traffic and hotel room availability.
Listen to Mother Nature
Heed the weather and other potential annoyances. Guests have been known to skip out early from hotter-than-hot summer tent weddings and improperly heated winter loft receptions. Bugs (gnats, deerflies, and no-see-ums) also swarm in certain areas during certain seasons. Consider renting pest control tanks to alleviate the problem or including bug repellent in guests' gift bags.
Check Your Credit
Take advantage of the high cost of weddings and sign up for a credit card with a rewards program. Whether it gives you airline miles or great shopping deals, consolidating all wedding-related purchases to this card will help you accumulate thousands of rewards points (which could be used for your honeymoon).
Pay It Forward
Let one vendor lead you to another. Your wedding photographer can tell you which florist's blooms really pop, and your reception manager should know which band packs the dance floor.
Lighten Your List
The easiest way to trim your wedding budget? Cut your guest list. Remember, half of your wedding expenses go to wining and dining your guests. If it's costing you $100 per person, eliminating one table of 10 can save you $1,000.
A wedding planner can help with many of the intricate details that come along with planning a wedding. This can be especially helpful if you and your spouse work full time. However, they can also be costly. So, you might hire a planner part-time instead, just to help you get organized.
Ask and You Might Receive
Request an extra hour for cocktails or for your band to throw in that Frank Sinatra sound-alike before you sign on the dotted line. Most vendors would rather secure the reservation than nickel-and-dime you early on and turn you off. Later on, though, they may have less of a motive to meet you halfway.
Make a Meal Plan
Another unforeseen expense? Feeding your wedding day crew. Before you sign the contracts, make sure you're not required to serve the same meal to your vendors that guests will receive. Otherwise, you could be paying for 20 additional lobster tails. Choose a less expensive (but equally hearty) meal for them instead. You will have to let your wedding caterer know a couple of days before the wedding exactly how many vendors you need to feed (don't forget photography assistants and band roadies) and what you want them to serve.
Get Organizationally Focused
In a three-ring binder, compile all your correspondences with vendors, notes you make during meetings, and photos or tear sheets from magazines you want vendors to see. Set up a special email address dedicated to your wedding, and store important vendor numbers in your cell phone.
Think of having the wedding service as well as the reception at the same venue as this will cut back on transportation cost in addition to paying for another venue. Ask if the venue offers an hourly rate. That way, you can decide how many hours you can afford, and plan accordingly.
Tend to Your Bar
Typically, you need one bartender per 50 guests to keep the line at a minimum. But if you're serving a signature cocktail that cannot be made ahead of time (or in large quantities), consider adding an extra server designated to this task.
Leave Some Room in Your Wallet
Your wedding budget should follow this formula: 48 to 50 percent of total budget to reception; 8 to 10 percent for flowers; 8 to 10 percent for attire; 8 to 10 percent for entertainment/music; 10 to 12 percent for photo/video; 2 to 3 percent for invites; 2 to 3 percent for gifts; and 8 percent for miscellaneous items like a wedding coordinator. It's essential to allocate an extra 5 to 10 percent of your money for surprise expenses like printing extra invites because of mistakes, additional tailoring needs, umbrellas for a rainy day, and ribbons for the wedding programs. Go to TheKnot.com/budgeter for an interactive budget allows you to add your own items.
Wait for a Date
Sometimes, last-minute planning can work in your favor. The closer your date, the more bargaining power you have. Since most people book their wedding sites at least six months in advance, calling for open dates two months prior to your desired time can save you up to 25 percent. And, Friday and Sunday weddings should cost about 30 percent less than Saturday weddings.
Prepare for Rejection
Know that as a rule, about 30 percent of the people you invite won't attend. Naturally, this depends on the location of your wedding (destination weddings are harder to attend), how many out-of-towners are on your list, and the timing of the event (some guests may have annual holiday or summer plans). On the other hand, everyone could accept -- knowing your wedding will be the can't-miss party of the year!
Make a Uniform Kids Policy
You have four choices: You can welcome children with open arms; you can decide to have an "adults only" wedding; you can include immediate family only; or, you can hire a child care service to provide day care either at the reception space, in a hotel room, or in a family member's home. To prevent hurt feelings, it's wise to avoid allowing some families to bring children while excluding others (unless, of course, the children are in your bridal party).
Prioritize Your People
Pare down your guest list with the "tiers of priority" trick. Place immediate family, the bridal party, and best friends on top of the list; follow with aunts, uncles, cousins, and close friends you couldn't imagine not being there. Under that, list your parents' friends, neighbors, coworkers, and so on. If you need to make some cuts, start from the bottom until you reach your ideal number.
Provide Accurate Driving Directions
Make sure guests know where they're going. As easy as online map programs are to use, sometimes the directions are wrong -- or there's a quicker, less traffic-prone route to take. Ask your ceremony and reception sites for printouts of recommended driving directions, which they often keep in stock for weddings and will give to you for free, and test out the routes yourself.
Classify Your Cash
Wedding budgets are all about balance. Start your budget planning by making a list of the crucial details, like the music, your wedding gown, the invitations, the flowers, and the photographer, and assign a number to each -- one being the most important and three being the least. Invest your money in all your number ones and cut corners on your number threes. (But everything can't fall into the number one category!) For example, if a designer gown and fabulous food are what really matter, you may have to choose simple invitations and smaller floral arrangements." source Master of Ceremonies source Master of Ceremonies II