To the Bride on a Budget: Top Cost Saving Techniques When Planning Your Wedding
As sales people, and more importantly, Louisville wedding planners at the Ice House – we often hear “how can we cut our budget?” – “is this charge really necessary?” – “the estimated event total is much more than we expected”.
We get it. Budgets are undeniably important, yet often difficult to stick to – and the total overall cost does not come without a great deal of sticker shock. It is our goal to not only exceed your expectations, but to ensure no one goes homeless, broke or hungry throughout the planning process.
Quite often, you will hear your Ice House and/or Crushed Ice Catering team member say – “trust us”. Trust that we know what is best for you and your event. Trust that we know our venue best. Trust that we know some of the best cost saving techniques when it comes to food, beverage and venue costs. Share with us your budget – it eliminates the guess work and allows us to get down to the bottom line. It is your day – and you should have it exactly the way you want. We are here to offer some of our best techniques for cutting costs, without cutting out your vision:
#1 – Negotiables versus non-negotiables: Just as important as your guest list, begin a list EARLY on in the planning process of what items are must-haves (non-negotiables) and which items are flexible (negotiable). Perhaps it has been your dream to have a live band and that is #1 on your non-negotiable list. But you and your fiance aren’t big on cake. Forgo the cake – and hire the live band! Just remember to offer your guests another dessert option (more often than not, at a lower price).
#2 – Expectations versus reality: We live in a Pinterest driven event world. More often than not, clients come to us with inspiration boards from Pinterest from high-end weddings taking place in New York, Los Angeles, Hawaii, etc. It is difficult for us to explain that yes, we can execute that look – but for a substantial cost. Keep it realistic. Pinterest is wonderful tool for inspiration. But understand that while you can shoot for the moon, your budget may not permit.
#3 – Beer and Wine Darling is Fine: It is perfectly acceptable to offer beer and wine only. By eliminating liquor from your bar package, you are not only saving a few bucks, but you are also saving some of your guests from the dreaded hangover the next day. If your caterer is as cool as Crushed Ice Catering, we can even have one or two secret bottles stashed for Wedding Party only, or your Bourbon Loving Dad.
#4 – Off-season is in: Check with vendors for special off-season or non-peak discounts. Typically, Friday and Sundays are cheaper than Saturdays, and off-season months will save you some big bucks (as long as an outdoor wedding is not in the picture – remember guest comfort should be your #1 priority).
#5 – The Guest Count Debacle: By far – the easiest way to cut your budget is to trim your guest list. From our experience, this may be the easiest cost-saving technique, but it is BY FAR the toughest on this list. Discuss with your fiancé your “rules” for who is invited and who is not, and stick to your guns – no matter what your future MOL might say (unless she’s fronting the bill, of course). Here are some of our suggestions for who makes the cut:
- Have you met this person before?
- Do you allow a plus one if you know they are not in a LTR, engaged or married?
- Have you sat down and had a meal with this person in the last 2 years?
#6 – Hire Local: In hiring local vendors, you are not only supporting the local economy, but you’re saving a few bucks along the way. There is no charge for travel expenses, accommodations, etc. Also, many caterers offer discounts for vendor meals, so be sure to ask! Inquire about the Ice House’s list of suggested vendors for some of the top local talent!
#7 – Shop Smart: Shop for Bridesmaids dresses, wedding weekend outfits, shoes, and all of those other important fashion accessories on discount designer sites such as Hautelook, Zulily, Gilt. You can often find designer items for 50-60% off the full price. If you are okay wearing last season Badgley Mischka’s (who sees your shoes anyways?) then this is a great technique to cut your budget, but maintain your style.
#8 – Forgo Favors: Favors are a great way to say “Thank You”. But let’s be honest – who really needs another koozie to add to their bar collection? Favors are typically cheap, so you aren’t trimming too much fat from your budget – but a couple hundred bucks saved here can go towards something higher up on your non-negotiable list.
#9 – Chaaaa Chinnnnng, Make payments with credit cards: Why HELLLLLLLLO points! Want your Honeymoon paid for? Make your large wedding related purchases with that little piece of plastic and relish in the points that you earn. Depending on the card and their rewards, you could get your airfare, hotel and dinners paid for on your Honeymoon.
#10 – Don’t blow your life savings on one night: Yes, your Wedding is the biggest day of your life thus far. It is a fleeting moment that will be enjoyable for you and anyone that loves you no matter what amount of money you spend to make it one-of-a-kind. Remember what is important throughout the process – and that is the fact that you get to marry the love of your life and start your lives together. You don’t want to start the beginning of forever in financial peril. Your guests may not remember the gold flatware, or letterpress invitations two years from now (unless all of your guests are planners J). What they will remember is the two of you beginning your journey together, and being a witness to a phenomenal thing called love.
Keep in mind, these are merely just our suggestions to the common questions and concerns that we hear daily. It important to set a realistic budget, and even decide how much wiggle room you will allow for overages, if any. Ultimately, remember throughout the process to have fun, love each other – and accept help (and offers of help) from anyone.
Cheers and Happy Planning!