5 Simple Ways To Save On Your Wedding Budget

Nearly all engaged couples have been there. Once you start getting quotes from vendors and realizing how fast everything adds up, the amounts can feel overwhelming. The most common question I get from couples, regardless of their budget, is "how can we save money while still pulling off our dream wedding?". The good news is that you can, as long as you're willing to prioritize, do your research, and get a little creative. Side note: having a good wedding planner behind you is key to saving money and getting the most out of what you spend on your wedding day.

Before you read on, keep in mind that the most significant way to save money on your wedding is by lowering your guest count, which trickles down to your spending on food and beverage, invitations, table settings, wedding favors and so on. Once you've reached a guest count that you feel is realistic for your budget, read on to discover five practical ways to cut back on your spending without taking away from the fabulousness/wow factor of your wedding day. 

1. Limit your number of bridesmaids

Ladies, I totally get it. It's your wedding day and you want to include all of the important women in your life - your childhood friends, your college girls, sorority sisters, your own sister(s), cousins, and even your fiance's sister(s). However, before you pop the question to your bridesmaids, you should take into consideration the costs that add up for each maid. Yes, it's true that bridesmaids traditionally pay for their own bridesmaid dress, shoes and accessories, but there are several other parts that the bride/couple take care of that you shouldn't skimp on. After all, your maids will be a big part of your support system throughout the planning process and on your big day!

Here is a breakdown of the average costs a bride will spend on each bridesmaid:

"Will you be my bridesmaid" gift? - $30

Bridesmaid bouquet - $70

Rehearsal dinner - $75

Professional hair & makeup - $140

Bridesmaid gift - $60

Based on this example, each bridesmaid will cost an average of $375. A bride with ten bridesmaids will dish out a total of $3,750, while a bride with 5 bridesmaids will spend $1,875. However many bridesmaids you choose to have is a very personal decision and one that only you can make, but the costs are something important to think about when developing your wedding budget. 

2. Repurpose your bouquets 

A wonderful way to save on your floral budget is by repurposing your handheld bouquets. Once the ceremony and group photos are finished, have your day-of coordinator gather the bouquets and place them in vases laid out in your cocktail and/or reception area. Your florist or coordinator can place the vases during set up time. You don't necessarily have to repurpose them as guest table centerpieces, but they can be used to dress up cocktail tables, bars, escort card tables, or anywhere else in your cocktail or reception area that needs a little added prettiness. This alleviates the need to purchase additional floral pieces, since you won't really need your bouquets after the ceremony and group photos. 

3. Use couples' names on place cards

99% of the time, couples or families attending your wedding will be seated at the same table. It's perfectly acceptable and makes sense to print their name on the same place card for their seating arrangement, rather than giving each guest an individual card. You can label the cards the same way you labeled their invitation envelope. Custom place cards can range anywhere from $2 to $10 a piece, so coupling up those cards can easily chip away a couple hundred dollars from your spending. The only time this idea won't work is when each guest pre-selects their meal, and your caterer needs you to indicate their meal choice on the place card. In those cases, I would recommend discussing your options with your caterer. 

4. Choose flowers that are in season

If you have your heart set on a particular flower type to be prominent in your floral design, look into what the peak season is for that particular flower before choosing your wedding date. For example, peonies are in full bloom in the spring, while dahlias peak in the late summer and early fall. If you choose flowers that are not in season during your wedding date, you will end up paying a premium to get those pretty blooms. 

Additionally, don't forget to use greenery and foliage in your floral pieces! Not only do they create a fuller look for less money than flowers, but they add dimension, texture and natural beauty to your floral design. Check out The Knot's Wedding Flower Guide for further reading and tips on blooms and their seasons.

5. Use wedding favors that multi-task

When it comes to guest favors, I encourage couples to choose something useful that guests will remember and not be inclined to leave behind. If you love the idea of having a photo booth, many companies will print the couple's name and wedding date on the photo print outs, giving your guests both a fun memory and a thoughtful favor from your wedding. 

You can also put your place cards in small frames or attach them to a small keepsake, which gives your guests a special memento to take home. Your caterer or baker may even offer gift bags with macarons or sweet treats for a reduced price which you can use for favors, as well. 

Alternatively, you can forgo traditional guest favors all together and make a donation to a charity that is meaningful to you and your fiance, which your guests are sure to be appreciative of!

Hope these ideas are helpful for you! For questions or further assistance with your planning needs, feel free to contact me at sarah@skbevents.com :)

Xo,

Sarah 

What can a wedding planner do for you?

Today I'm covering a common question that most brides-to-be will contemplate soon after getting engaged. What do wedding planners actually do? Couldn't I just handle it myself? Here's some real tips and advice on what to expect during the planning process to help you decide whether hiring a professional is the best choice for you. 

Time is money

When it comes to weddings, this is not just a saying. You better believe it's the truth! According to The Wedding Report's 2015 market summary for the DC metropolitan area, there were a total of 35,909 weddings with an average total cost of $37,633. Say your event is a total of 6 hours long, then we can break that down to an average investment of $6,272.17 per hour. Like most big purchases, you want to make sure that you are getting the best services in return for your money. As a wedding planner, we are constantly networking with vendors and we make sure that we work with only the best - because our vendor referrals are a reflection of us, too! We also know which vendors are best suited to fit your style and budget, saving you tons of time and stress trying to figure it out on your own. For instance, if you told me you were having an Al Fresco style dinner reception in Baltimore with a floral budget of $3,000 I could whip out at least two amazing florists for you with photos and contact information, without you having to get online and research a thing. You should also take into consideration the time off work and used vacation days a planner can save you by coordinating with vendors on your behalf. 

Additionally, you will want to make the most of those pricey 5-6 hours of your life - why waste a precious minute on a potential mishap? Having a planner behind you is a safety net ensuring any issues that arise do not interfere with you or your guests' time. We make sure that your set-up and decor is on point, the lighting is perfection, the wedding party is lined up for the ceremony and ready on-cue, and we work with all of your vendors to keep your timeline on track. While you're dancing the night away and mingling with guests, you can count on your planner to direct you when it's time for speeches, cake cutting, and the bouquet toss. 

Knowledge (and a planner) is power

A CalPoly State University study found that that consistently weddings continue to rank seventh (7th) among 43 major stressful life events, and as a wedding planner that figure is not surprising to me at all. I will assure you, however, that it will be worth it in the end. You'll most likely think that to yourself during your first look or when you and your fiancé lock eyes coming down the aisle. But, before that happens, some level of stress is inevitable. There are so many moving parts to bringing a wedding together and countless decisions you will have to make: venue, catering, bar options, floral arrangements, guest lists, budgeting, honeymoon planning just to name a few. Without a planner, I promise you that it will become a second full-time job (assuming you and your fiancé already work full-time). Even more-so if you are planning from a distance, or have less than a year.

While our family and friends mean well, it's not uncommon for mothers, bridesmaids, and in-laws to push their opinions on you - making it even more difficult to finalize all of those decisions. I can't tell you how beneficial it is to have an un-biased resource to help you make these decisions; someone who knows the industry, knows what works and what doesn't, and is looking out for your best interests. 

Venue staff are not the same as planners or day-of coordinators

This is a very common misconception, one that I learned the hard way while planning my own wedding. Most likely, your venue will provide you with a point-of-contact person for your event, however you should not assume that they will take on the role of a planner. Venue staff work for the venue, while planners work for the couple. While some may have the title "event coordinator" they are usually present to ensure that you are complying with the venue's rules, keep track of what vendors are working on the property, and ensure that your guests and vendors respect the property during the event. If your venue staff offers to help with day-of coordination, find out specifically and to what extent they are willing to help you out (early on) so you can hire a planner if need-be. 

In other cases, family and friends may offer to help out, but I recommend against this. Once someone is working at your wedding, they are no longer a guest. Keep in mind that the event will be about 6 hours and it will fly by faster than you can imagine - do you really want someone important to you to be working for any portion of your special day, instead of celebrating by your side? 

To sum up, hiring a wedding planner is always going to be beneficial for your big day. For at least one day, you should let go of all worries and let us take over. You deserve it, and more than anything else, it will allow you and your fiancé to focus on each other and fully ENJOY this amazing time in your lives together. 

Xo,

Sarah 

 

Source: http://www.skbevents.com/blog/wedding-plan...