• How to have an amazing, affordable day!

    As weddings are slowly becoming a competition, the average cost is gradually increasing. I decided to do some research and find an appropriate article that gives tips on how to save money during your wedding planning process. This article is by Melissa Leong, a Writer from the Financial Post.

    Get your cup of coffee ready and start taking some notes!

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    The average expected cost of a wedding in Canada excluding the honeymoon is $22,429, down 3% versus 2011 but up 20% since 2008, the survey says.

    “Most of the weddings that I work on are usually 120 to 160 people and it’s very rare that people will spend under $50,000 to $60,000,” says Karina Lemke, a Toronto wedding planner.

    Whether you plan to spend $5,000 or $105,000, wedding planner Jessica Kavanagh tells all of her clients this message: It’s about the marriage, not the wedding.

    Here are some tips on how to stay clear headed and still have an amazing — and fiscally responsible — wedding:

    Make a plan Not the “dream” plan that you have on Pinterest. Sit down with your other half and talk about your financial future. What do you want to accomplish in the next year, five, 10? Ms. Schneider then suggests writing these goals down and carrying them with you in your wallet. “When you go out to the bridal shows or look at dresses, you can pull it out and say, ‘This reception venue is absolutely gorgeous but I have to buy a car next year, so maybe we have to go with a different place,’” she says.

    Work with numbers “I feel that most couples are in complete denial about what things will actually end up costing them,” Ms. Lemke says. “The dress never falls into the budget. The honeymoon and rings don’t fall into the budget.” After the venue/meals are booked, couples can spend an equal figure on secondary vendors: photographer, videographer, flowers, chair covers, invitations, cake, transportation, guest favours, hair and makeup, etc., she says. Create a detailed budget and build in a contingency fund for unplanned expenses, such as the bride and groom bobble heads you suddenly have to have as guest favours.

    Consider a wedding planner “People think it’s this luxurious thing and they’re going to hire a person to come in and put bows on their boxes and be their new best friend,” says Ms. Lemke whose fees range from $1,500 to $4,000. “One of the things we should be doing is offering sound financial advice.” Planners are often able to negotiate with vendors for extras or to waive certain rental fees, for example (although you could do that yourself if you know what to ask).

    Have your wedding on a Friday, a Sunday or in the “off season”  Off-season varies depending on the venue, but often refers to January to March. For example, a wedding at a downtown Toronto location that costs $23,000 for 110 people, would cost $19,000 in the “off season” or on a Friday or Sunday. That’s $4,000 you could put toward your honeymoon.

    Set your priorities Once you have a budget, if you want to add something, you must subtract from elsewhere (for example, I want these bobble heads, so I will cut my dentist and my boss from the guestlist).

    Say “yes” temporarily to the dress Consider renting your bridal gown. If you buy it at full price, try selling it on a bridal forum afterwards.

    Go big and you may not have a home to go to Consider inviting fewer guests. A small wedding at a restaurant will save you money. “For $5,000 for 50 people, you can have premium champagne, premium wine, oysters and charcuterie; you can serve them a beautiful meal. If you take that $5,000 and put it into a banquet hall, it’s gone on rubber chicken,” Ms. Lemke says.

    DIY Make your own invitations, your own bouquets, your own centrepieces. Arrange your own flowers and reuse your bouquets as centrepieces for the head table. Don’t know how? Watch a tutorial on YouTube. Buying vases from a dollar store versus renting them from a florist is a much cheaper option.

    Piggyback Speak with your venue about piggybacking on some of the services — in-house AV supplier or dance floors for example. If they’ve done an elaborate set-up on a Friday, you could get a discounted rate to use it on Saturday. “Once they set it up, it just stays up and you can save in labour there,” says Matt Black at One King West.

    Use your friends “Ask people in your circle what they’re good at,” says Ms. Kavanagh who is getting married in June. “I have a girlfriend who’s a fabulous baker and she’s going to make all of our cupcakes. That’s going to save us $600 or $700. We have a good friend who is in a band and is a deejay.” Don’t want to spend on a deejay? Set your iPod on shuffle.

    Employ a student Hire music students. Also consider a photography student to capture your day. Although Ms. Lemke would advise otherwise: “It’s like plastic surgery. Do you really want to find the cheapest plastic surgeon?” But a professional photographer will cost you. “Its difficult to find someone competent for under $3,000 and the high-end is $10,000,” Ms. Lemke says. “Now, anyone who can pick up a good camera suddenly can call themselves a wedding photographer.”

    Go abroad Ten per cent of Canadian brides were planning on having a destination wedding in 2012, according to the Weddingbells survey. If you have a lot of guests and need to book early to ensure rooms, be prepared to pay a little more than if you booked last minute. “If you’re willing to book a month off and take a chance of where you’re going to do it, you’ll certainly save money; if it’s a small wedding, and if you don’t mind the roulette factor…there’s always somewhere to go,” Ms. Lemke says.

     

    Feeling overwhelmed? Let’s set up a meeting and talk about your special day!

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