The dress, the veil, the shoes, the flowers, the limo, the photographer, the cake, the caterer, the wedding hall - not to mention your wedding bands, honeymoon, bridesmaids' gifts, parents' gifts, and on and on. Don't be fooled - the list of things to buy, book and do for your wedding is just as endless as you think!
When it comes to congratulating you on your special engagement, everyone is there with open arms and beaming smiles. When it comes to shelling out the cash to pay for the big event, everyone points the finger. What gives? You only get married once, right?
Nowadays, there seems to be little rhyme or reason to the question on all of our minds - who pays for the wedding. Some of today's modern couples decide to undertake the bulk of the cost themselves. Sometimes the bride's family follows the tradition of generations past and foots the bill on their dime. Other times, the bill can be split between both families, and often with help from the bride and groom themselves. Anyway you slice it, someone has to pay, and unfortunately, that money isn't going to grow on the trees in your backyard.
To make the most of the money that you do have to put toward your special day, keep this one thought in mind. Weddings are to wedding vendors what Valentine's Day, anniversaries and birthdays are to Hallmark, chocolate shops, jewelry stores, perfume makers and other gift merchants.
Weddings mean business. Weddings mean good business - megabucks. The vendors know just how important your special day is to you, and they capitalize on your emotions. They sense the flutter in your heart or they catch the tear glistening in your eye when you try on the dress and there, waiting in the wing, is the veil, the tiara, the shoes, the jewelry - all waiting on an assembly line once you've found "the dress."
Call up anonymously and ask your preferred reception hall what it would cost to book a graduation party, birthday celebration, or even a family reunion. You'll be sickened at the dramatic drop in price when the "W" word is no longer rolling off the tongue. To help save you money on the planning of your big day, here are some tips, compiled from years of experience. Remember, while your wedding is going to be the happiest day of your life, it will also be one of, if not the most expensive day of your life.
1. Shop the discount racks and clearance sales
As long as you aren't dreaming of an extravagant, over the top, celebrity style wedding, you should be able to score some really great deals everywhere from bridal shops and party stores to gift stores, department stores and online merchants. Keep your eyes peeled for sales and don't be averse to taking a road trip now and again. You might just find the wedding dress of your dreams at a significant discount!
2. Ask for flexible payment schedules
Booking wedding vendors means paying deposits and they can quickly add up, draining your bank account. So don't be afraid to speak up and negotiate a payment schedule after you've paid the deposit. Deposits charged by wedding vendors are required in order to reserve your spot on the vendor's calendar and protect them from cancellations. Once they book with you, they are cutting off all the other prospects and ties to your date. Paying the deposit locks them in for your date, and they should be receptive to a payment plan for the final balance, once that time comes.
3. Ask for discounts
If you've ever been to an auction, flea market, or a community market in a vacation destination area, you might have some experience with haggling. Even if you don't know the first thing about it, now is the perfect time to learn. Wedding vendors know they are competing with multiple businesses providing the same services, so there's a good chance discounts are available when it comes time to secure your booking.
4. Play the vendors against each other, gently
If Reception Hall A offers you a discount, but you like Reception Hall B considerably better, speak up. Tell the facility manager of your preferred reception hall that you've been offered a discount of x% somewhere else, and that you'd really like to book with them, but your budget dictates your options.
5. Collect coupons
Wedding magazines contain useful coupons that you may not know about. Check them out and you'll find coupons for all types of services that could save you money on your wedding planning.
Good luck and happy planning!