If you are engaged and planning a wedding, I'd wager the price of your gorgeous ring that most of your ideas have been years in the making—beginning with the moment you learned that a kiss from the Prince awakened Sleeping Beauty. The details may have altered now and again, but the major themes remain, concluding with "Happily ever after!"
At last, you and the Prince have found each other. The time has arrived and the day is near. Then, in an instant, the last vestige of your childhood dissolves when you realize why they never discussed the cost of fairytale weddings. I mean, seriously, all those maidens might have become old maids if they had been forced to deal with matrimonial finances.
I'm here to save you…money, that is. Think of me as the Godmother you didn't know you had. Too much? I have some tips you can use and then toss to friends, just like you will your bouquet. I promise you that when budgeting for your big day, there are some (Big) easy compromises that will assure your dream wedding won't have nightmare price.
1. Not all dates are equal.
After the question has been popped, all couples pull out the calendar to pick the first Saturday evening that works for them. Everyone wants a Saturday evening wedding. It's the most desirable day and time for a spectacular event. What you may not realize is that at most locations moving your wedding to a Friday night can save you some serious money—how does an extra day on the honeymoon sound?
Better yet, try Friday the 13th. If you aren't superstitious, this date could not only save you plenty of coin. It could actually make your desired vendors available and discounted—your ideal wedding HAPPENING IDEALLY and under budget!
2. This day happens ONCE…trust the professionals
Weddings are fun. There is nothing comparable to having family and friends gather in a room to celebrate love, while enjoying an open bar. But don't fall under a spell. Weddings are fun because a number of unobtrusive professionals make it seem easy and effortless. That is why PROFESSIONALS are imperative. Many friends can bake beautifully, but do they know how to transport a wedding cake? Will it arrive and stand until you are ready to slice?! A professional would know how.
This applies to photos, too. Hiring a friend to snap pictures for cheap may sound like a great idea, but when the shots end up being out of focus or discolored, memories of your day won't be as vivid as you'd like or the day deserves. Or perhaps the pictures are perfect, but your friend failed or forgot to get a shot with your grandparents. That would never happen with a professional photographer. You are better served to go with a professional who offers a smaller, affordable package that your budget can handle. At least then you can be certain that the pictures will be gorgeous and priceless memories preserved.
3. Location, location, location
When looking for a venue, you obviously want the biggest bang for your buck. The same thing is true for the ceremony. So, the question becomes: church or not? I would tell anyone that the churches in this town are stunning. But remember, they usually run a few thousand dollars for an hour! That is one high-in-the-sky price tag! Perhaps it's not the choice that first occurs to you, but most venues offer ceremonies on-site, and that can save you an enormous amount of money. Furthermore, you save money and don't have to travel from one location to another. This choice can start looking nearly as adorable as the groom. I mean, what's not to like?
Weddings are pricey, no way around it, so make smart decisions. Is it better to spend more on a dress you will wear once, OR save the money and upgrade the bar for your family and guests? It's a tough choice, I know, but one you will have to make. However, no matter what you end up spending, just know that amor(e)tizing a prince for 50 or 60 years makes the initial investment entirely worthwhile.
About Vanessa Van Vrancken
Vanessa Van Vrancken is an event planner and "wedding architect" at The Balcony Ballroom, a wedding and event venue in New Orleans. Established by her parents in 1974, Vanessa and her family have planned over 10,000 weddings.
You can follow The Balcony Ballroom on Facebook.
Photography by Louis: