Sunday, May 31, 2009

Getting Married in a Tough Economy

A few weeks ago I started talking about how the economy is affecting us all—especially those of us currently planning weddings. Well, I turned my attention to other subjects for a few weeks because I was starting to feel like a Debbie Downer, and really, who wants to hear how dismal things are week after week? Well, we can’t avoid the topic forever, and I would rather help you figure out how you can still have it all—the wedding of your dreams—even in this rough economy. The other piece of this—and also something we can’t avoid discussing—is whether your guests will be able to afford to make it to your wedding. And, I hate to be the one to have to admit this, but will your guests also be cutting back on your wedding gifts? Someone had to say it. Yes, it is selfish to wonder about your wedding gifts in a time like this, but truth is, weddings are generally a selfish event where we find ourselves worrying about things we wouldn’t normally. I think it’s OK to be a little selfish this one time in your life. Just remember—it’s just this one time. And also please remember, people are suffering in this very difficult economy. So, let’s get back to your dream wedding on a realistic budget. For starters, I know you wanted a spring or fall wedding, but this is one area where you can easily shave off a lot of expense simply by having your wedding in an “off” month. I know, no big surprise here, but I wanted to remind you that July is a beautiful month to get married, and you could get very lucky with the weather— August too, and even November. This is a relatively minor compromise that could represent big savings. Moving on—would you be willing to have a Friday evening, Saturday afternoon or Sunday (anytime) wedding? If you can forfeit your Saturday-night affair, you could save BIG bucks. I know, no great revelation here either, but do ask yourself this question—are you willing to cut back on guests just to have a Saturday-evening affair? Just by changing the time of the year, and day of the week of your wedding, you can see a 20–50 percent savings. So, my advice is quit arguing over the guest list and compromise in other areas so you can have the venue of your dreams surrounded by ALL the people you love. Next, you need to prioritize. Once you’ve secured your biggest expense, the venue, start by making a list of the things that are most important to you—areas you are NOT willing to compromise. For many, this is photography and videography. Why? Because besides (hopefully!) your actual marriage, these are the two things that will last the longest beyond your wedding day. If you want a lifetime of reminders of your big day, allocate a decent amount of your wedding budget for these items, but do remember, you DON’T have to go with the highest end photographer. There are many middle-of-the-road (expense-wise) vendors that are just as good and will save you big time! And, even if it makes you uncomfortable (take 10 yoga breaths), you MUST ask for a good deal…now is the time! Stop shaking your head and saying, “I don’t have nearly enough in my wedding budget to hire a decent photographer.” Yes, you do, because you can register for one! If you and your loved one are both bringing toasters and dishes into the equation, you don’t need to register for those household items. Instead, you can register for your vendors! I know it seems a little untraditional, but people, these are quirky times. Quick tip: Have your stationer make up little cards for each vendor and include them in your shower invites so people will know they can contribute to these registries. Now, I won’t take you through every single item on your wedding to-do list, but here are some rules to live by when planning your dream wedding on a reduced budget: As I said, prioritize the items on your wedding wish list. Make cuts and compromises where you won’t feel “cheated.” And, don’t compromise on those things that mean the most to you—set aside enough money for those items, and then see if you can secure as good a deal as possible on those pieces. With the less important items, ask family and friends to help out. Got a crafty friend? Ask her to help you out with your favors as her wedding gift to you. Got any friends in the printing business? Perhaps they could print your invitations for you. Know any good bakers? Could they make you a wedding cake? Love your mom’s wedding dress? Everything old is new again…what about her veil, or wedding jewelry? Any of your friends into making jewelry these days as a hobby? Looking for a break on the catering? What about culinary students? You can go to a great culinary school and see if you can get a good deal on catering. Got any friends with younger siblings working part-time as deejays? Will they run the music for your wedding if you pre-program your iPod? Having a non-denominational ceremony? It’s very easy to get certified online these days to perform marriages—another great wedding gift idea from a friend or family member. Do yourself and your friends and family a favor by securing as much help as you can when planning your wedding. By offering you a “service” in lieu of a crystal vase, they can save money on your wedding gift and you can save BIG time on vendors! All it takes is just a little bit of imagination. Xoxo Sam


Josie @ said...

Buying a preowned wedding dress is another great way to save hundreds - or even thousands - on your wedding. And selling the dress after the big day will ensure that another happy bride gets to enjoy it, and you'll get some extra cash in your pocket.

get real with samantha goldberg said...


I just wrote on about your company. Not sure when it will go up, but your idea for the pre-owned dress is priceless. I think many brides will love this concept. If we had a webs ite called preowned celeb dresses, it would be an easy sell right? Good job! I hope this brings many brides much joy!

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