Archive for the ‘Wedding Expenses’ Category

When her elder sister decided to get married, Sonia Singh knew it would be an elaborate affair. What this 27-year-old freelance writer hadn’t

bargained for was her sister’s approach – she wanted the wedding to be the event of a lifetime. When the day dawned, she was “more of a host and less of bride”. The five-function event included a hen party and sangeet. “Marriages are so unpredictable. The least you can have is an elaborate wedding,” says Singh.

She was entirely on trend. Weddings and all the traditional paraphernalia associated with them are increasingly becoming more important than the institution of marriage itself. Item girl Rakhi Sawant’s reality TV swayamvar exemplifies the trend. Surprisingly, Gen X is focusing on tradition, which is increasingly fashionable.

Sociologist Mala Kapur Shankardass agrees that “it has become trendy to show that you are in with traditional mores. And what better way is there to indicate your cultural awareness than having a traditional wedding?”

Today, old is seen as new and every girl’s dream wedding just got bigger and fatter. Incidentally, the Indian wedding industry is estimated to be worth Rs 1,25,000 cr and it’s growing by 25% a year.

This is reflected in television soaps and Bollywood movies. Industry consultant Meher Sarid says her clients regularly ask her to replicate the weddings shown on TV. “Serials and movies use traditions from different parts of the country and make them ubiquitous,” she says. This is why bhangra might feature at a cocktail party for a Tamil wedding and a traditional Muslim wedding might have a mehendi party.

Market research professional Pavithra Ram says weddings are increasingly more important because “marriage isn’t a big deal anymore”. “Couples are usually seeing each other for sometime before they decide to tie the knot or are in live-in relationships. That’s why the ritual of a wedding instills a sense of newness and becomes first priority,” says the 25-year-old. Ram speaks from personal experience. In December, she cements her four-year relationship with “a wedding ceremony, a reception and a dance party”.

Wedding ritual, of course, is increasingly traditional, but not ethnic, insists Vandana Mohan, CEO of Wedding Design Company. “Contemporary and fusion are out, staunchly Indian is in, be it clothes, jewellery or decor,” she says. Streamlined fish-cut lehengas have given way to fuller ones, the décor is increasingly Indian-inspired and traditional jewellery styles such as polki or stonework are the rage. Who knows, some girl may even decide to hold a real live swayamvar, muses Sarid.


The recession can make it hard to focus on the bride when the bill for the wedding is looming.

But while today’s bride is more conscious of the wedding budget, she’s still planning the ideal day, said Sue Diehl, owner of Visuelle Productions, which produces bridal shows in Green Bay and other Wisconsin cities.

"I think that brides today are not giving up their dreams of their weddings because of the economy," she said. "They’re just taking that same appropriated money and putting it in different locations."

For example, if a bride wants a big, fancy cake, she might spend more money there and less on flowers, Diehl said.

Brides seem to be sticking pretty tight to their budgets, she said, and while they’re not likely to cut back too much, they’re also not splurging like they used to.

"It seems overall, worldwide, brides are not looking to cut their budget," she said. "… But now they’re sticking to budgeted amounts, doing more unique things, so they can still fulfill all the dreams they’ve had."

Wedding experts say there are a number of things couples can do to get the most matrimonial bang out of their buck. They include:

  • Checking out bridal shows. They can be a great way to find everything you need with one-stop shopping, Diehl said. Whether it’s cakes or dresses, bridal shows typically offer a wide selection for wedding planning that can fit any budget.
  • Finding a low-cost location. A lot of brides are looking to destination weddings to save a little money, said Lisa Breault, bridal consultant and assistant manager of Elaine’s Wedding Center in Green Bay. Don’t be fooled — destinations do not have to be exotic and tropical. They could be as close as your own backyard.
  • Deciding on a different day. Couples don’t have to get married on a Saturday and more are starting to look to other days when prices may be a little bit less and venues may not be quite as busy. Plan a wedding that skips the meal — either earlier in the day or later at night — and you’ll cut your costs, Breault said.
  • Considering taking on some of the wedding-related duties yourself. If you have the time, make your own invitations, decorations and save the date notes. A number of brides are e-mailing invitations these days as well, Breault said.
  • Looking online for deals on favors, bridal party gifts and even dresses. But it’s important to be careful and read the fine print and find out ahead of time about return policies.

green wedding guide

Number of Guests – Knowing how many guests you expect to come to your wedding will help guide you when brainstorming for wedding locations. In general, two-thirds of the guests you invite will attend — even less if it is a destination wedding. A large group of guests will require more parking, bathrooms, rentals, and space. A smaller, intimate affair can take place in any number of venues, and in reality, has a much smaller impact on the environment. For the low-maintenance types, eloping with just your sweetie and a witness to the local courthouse is your cheapest and greenest option.

Travel – Ideally you want your wedding to be easy for all of your guests to arrive with minimal travel. If your family and friends all live nearby, the greenest thing you can do is have it in your home town. If everyone is scattered across the country, consider picking a central location, or a spot where a majority of your guests live. Unless you elope, at least some of your guests will likely have to travel to get to the wedding, and since travel is the biggest environmental impact, consider buying carbon offsets to reduce the carbon footprint of your guests travel. Terra Pass and Native Energy both offer carbon offsets for special events — Terra Pass’ can even specifically tailored to weddings. Also suggest that guests rent fuel-efficient vehicles like the Prius — they can check major rental companies like Avis, Enterprise and Hertz.

Ceremony & Reception Venues – Once you have an idea of how many guests will attend and in what city it will take place, you can scout out venues. Naturally green wedding spots are ones that require little fuss or decoration. Some naturally eco options include city parks, gardens, beaches, backyards, organic farms, local CSAs, national and state parks. While relatively fuss and decoration free, these outdoor locations may require renting chairs, tables, and tents, dealing with travel logistics, or even getting permits. Churches are also eco, requiring little decoration and no rentals. Many churches these days also have recycling programs and buy renewable energy.

There are many other types of venues that hold weddings regularly like hotels, restaurants, museums, historical buildings and resorts. These can be great options, since they usually have all of the chairs, tables, rentals, wait staff, catering, etc., but not all practice environmental-friendliness, so do your research and ask questions! Find out whether or not they recycle, buy organic or local food, clean with safe cleaning products, or buy renewable energy. Without these eco practices in place, your venue may not be green at all.

Reception – Keeping the reception within walking distance of the ceremony minimizes your guests traveling between the two. Also morning and afternoon weddings are becoming increasingly popular again — an option that requires less electricity and thus, reducing your environmental impact. Help support your local economy by hiring local companies for rentals, catering, cakes and entertainment. Avoid buying new things or disposable items at the reception and rely on rental companies to supply all of your linens and place settings.

Destination Weddings – Destination weddings are really fun and a good chance for a vacation, but require more time and money for your guests. Be considerate of the travel required to get to your destination and the costs associated. Look for eco-resorts and destinations that use environmentally-friendly practices just like you would with a local venue.


With our family and friends scattered around the country and Matt and me in Park City, UT, there was no easy solution our wedding’s location – almost everyone would have to travel. When thinking about locations we factored in travel times, airfare costs, activities during the weekend, car rentals, hotel accommodations and the overall feel of the wedding. We knew we wanted an outdoor wedding, because Matt and I spend so much of our time outdoors. We also wanted it to be special to us as well as a memorable location for all of our loved ones.

In light of that, we decided to have the wedding at one of our most favorite spots in the world – Zion National Park in Southern Utah. We love the serenity, the red rock canyon walls, the Virgin River cutting through it all. The park and lively neighboring town, Springdale, would be able to provide a myriad of activities for our guests to take advantage of — and the area already had a free public shuttle, so no one would need to drive once they arrived. Additionally, most of our family and friends had never been to the park and hoped to extend their stay to enjoy all that the park offered.

We searched Springdale and the National Park for the ceremony site, looking for a place that could accommodate 100 people, had amazing views and fit our budget. For the ceremony, we settled on a little hotel in town, called the Canyon Ranch Motel, which has a beautiful lawn with old growth trees. Our guests collectively booked the entire motel, which meant we could avoid disturbing others and have the whole place to ourselves. The reception was at the Springdale’s Community Center, which had an indoor and outdoor area and was just a short walk along a dirt path from the ceremony. We rented chairs and place settings from Zion Party Rentals, which is a local rental company.

When the big day arrived, we found that our guests enjoyed the National Park, took the shuttle everywhere, relaxed by the pool, took hikes and spent a lot of time outdoors. Because our guests made our wedding into their own vacation, we had more opportunity to spend with them while sharing a place that was very special to us.


My hubby and I live in New York City, but most of our family is in the San Francisco Bay Area, so getting hitched in San Francisco was a no-brainer. We knew that some people would have to travel for our wedding, but since airplane travel has a huge carbon footprint, we wanted to minimize the number of people who had to fly out for the wedding and make it easiest for our immediate family to attend. Locating our wedding in San Francisco, and then having a follow up reception a month later in NYC gave our New York friends the option to skip out on flying out to California, while still allowing them to celebrate with us in a more convenient local.

Once we settled on San Francisco, we wanted to choose a place that was meaningful to us, as well as easy-to-get-to, and would allow the ceremony and reception to all be held in one place, minimizing any sort of carbon footprint (and inconvenience) that comes from having to drive from one place to another. We choose the Presidio in San Francisco — a historic military base that has been converted to a national park –because it is beautiful, serene, and my family has ties to the area (my grandfather lived and worked at the Presidio, and my grandmother is buried there). Perhaps the most important factor for us, however, (and the most important ‘green’ factor), is the fact that the Presidio has a whole host of historic buildings: chapels, cabins, officer’s clubs and the like, that are frequently rented for events – minimizing the hassle and the need to truck in furniture, seating, decor, canopies or anything else offsite. This not only made setting up a breeze, but it seriously cut down on carbon footprint to have everything available on site. Of course, guests were also happy that they could easily walk from the old mission interfaith chapel where we had the ceremony to the reception party at the Golden Gate Club, just down the hill.

My husband and I were thrilled with the location we picked for our wedding. Not only was it ‘green’, but it was beautiful and scenic, super convenient and easy for us and our guests, and special and poignant for us due to our personal ties to the area


Go the extra mile to show your support for a greener wedding.  Here are some things to consider when you have decided to go for a gren wedding:

The overarching theme here should be simplification. There are eco-friendly versions of most wedding products, but the best option is usually to forego the items altogether. Reuse wherever possible – and save not only resources, but cash too.

Weigh the expenses
That said, some items you just can’t live without, and usually the green version is more expensive than the original. You’ll need to factor this into your wedding budget. To keep your budget in check, determine which areas you’re willing to spend more on for a good cause (i.e. organic cuisine), and where you can save to make up for that added expense (i.e. forego the wedding dress or favors). This wedding budget guide offers even more budgeting advice

Many new companies have entered the growing green weddings market. Before booking your vendors, check out businesses that claim to provide green services and confirm that they really do.

One green turn deserves another. Let your guests know the steps you’ve taken to plan your green wedding, and show them that an elegant event doesn’t have to be harmful to the environment. Who knows, many of your guests may be inspired to do the same.

All in the Details – Green Wedding Ideas

Invitations & Stationery
1. Recycle – use recycled paper or paper made from alternative fiber – such as hemp or bamboo. Check out these resources for an array of custom, recycled papers: or
2. Splurge on calligraphy – calligraphy may cost more, but it saves inks, toners, solvents and chemicals involved in printing.
3. Condense – save trees by minimizing inserts and other paper products. Always print on front and back, and try to fit it all on one sheet.
4. Go completely green – send all correspondence via email. The etiquette gods may swoon – but if you’re dead set on being green, electronic mailings are the most earth friendly way to go.

1. Rent for a cause – find a venue that will benefit from your site rental fee – such as a museum, gallery or other cultural organization. Confirm how that venue will use your fee.
2. Go outside – a beach, the woods, gardens – they all make an ideal setting for a green wedding (just be sure to leave it as you found it).
3. Find a green venue – some venues are demonstrating a commitment to saving water and energy, reducing waste, or serving locally grown/organic menus. Check out these resources for green minded venues:
– Green Hotels Association (
– Green Seal (

Décor Elements
1. Use candlelight – not only are candles energy efficient, they also create a soft romantic glow for an elegant reception. Better yet, look for soy candles – they’re cleaner and longer burning since they’re made from a renewable resource.
2. Use bamboo – one of the most sustainable materials on earth, bamboo is an eco-friendly décor option with an organic, modern feel. Use bamboo stalks for centerpieces or other décor elements.

1. Think double duty – invite your ceremony arrangements to the reception! You can use them to decorate your cake or gift table – you’ll waste less and save money doing it.
2. Buy organic, locally grown blooms – organic flowers are grown in an environmentally friendly way, without pesticides.
Getting locally grown ones will save the fuel burned from transporting the flowers. If you can’t find a local florist who can provide organic blooms, order yours from
3. Conserve cut flowers – using cut flowers just once is a waste. See if you can share yours with another wedding taking place on the same day.
4. Skip cut flowers altogether – top your tables with potted arrangements for guests to take and plant in their yards after the wedding.

1. Think organic – ensure that you, your guests and the staff won’t be exposed to pesticides. Many caterers specialize in organic foods, and almost any caterer can provide an organic menu if you ask them.
2. Think local – if you’re concerned about the cost involved in a completely organic menu, go local instead. Serving locally grown food eliminates fuel reliance and supports local farmers. Check out or to find farmers markets, farms and other sources of local food.
3. Reuse utensils – find a caterer who recycles materials and/or uses linen and china instead of disposables.
4. Donate the leftovers – work with your caterer to send leftovers to a food shelter or other organization.

1. Sub ingredients – have your baker use organic and/or local sugar, flour, butter and eggs. Some bakers even specialize in organic cakes.

1. Go secondhand – a used gown reduces fuels used in creating a new one.
2. Get green fibers – natural fibers like silk and organic cotton are better for the environment than synthetic ones.
3. Go couture – if your wallet can afford it, couture gowns are usually made from natural fabrics.
4. Donate – provide a green gown decision for another bride when you give or sell yours after the wedding.

Avoid wasteful trinkets – donate to a charity in the name of your guests

1. Limit long distance travel – have the wedding in a location where few guests will have to fly to get there.
2.Walk – host your room block, ceremony and reception at the same site – or within walking distance
3. Carpool – organize car pools for your guests in hybrid vehicles
4. Getaway in low emission style – get creative and use a non-motorized vehicle for your final sendoff – bikes, horseback, sleds, skates, wagons, or any old school conveyance will do.

Other Green Ideas
The truth is – no matter how great your green intentions are, most weddings have a huge environmental impact from the fuel used transporting your guests – via car or plane – to your wedding. Since this is extremely difficult to avoid, the “greenest” brides are purchasing carbon offsets to reduce their wedding’s footprint.

How it works: calculate the mileage guests will travel, and offset their carbon dioxide emissions by donating to programs that plant trees or preserve rain forests. <> is a website that does this for you – you enter your wedding details, and the site calculates your footprint, charges you accordingly, and then invests the money for you in energy saving technologies.

Article Author:
Cori Russell of and Gala Weddings Magazine

The engagement period will probably be the most gloriously tranquil time of a couple’s wedding process. You both soon will be faced with decisions, compromises, and debates — some simple, some funny, some tough, but all important.

While it’s important to bask in all the happiness, there are also a few tasks that should be handled pretty quickly. The couple need to set the budget and a timetable for planning the wedding, buy the rings, and announce the engagement.

For those folks that have more budget to play around with, some decide to add a consultant into their budget. This is definitely the way to go if you both don’t have time to plan the wedding or you know you both will argue over every minute detail. Keep in mind that you can opt to choose a wedding consultant that works by the hour. This allows you both to do most of the planning but provides an outsider’s perspective for some of the more difficult decisions.

Please use the following guide to find and record all the details of your consultant before hiring them. >> Click here for the PDF file

Using an hourly consultant

Consultants who work by the hour are an excellent choice if you want to plan everything yourself but wouldn’t mind a little objective feedback once in a while.  For instance, when he wants beef and you want chicken, a consultant might lend some insight into the most popular entree selection, the pros and cons of offering multiple entree choices, and which selection will help you stay on budget.  You might also want to hire a consultant on an hourly basis so you can use his/her list of vendor recommendations, such as florist, reception halls, musicians, and so on.  Then you can do the actual calling, interviewing, and hiring!


Here are some money saving tips that FB would like to share with you. Use a couple of tips to save a few bucks or use more and save $1000+.

The Most Important Money Saving Tips

  • You will save yourself an enormous amount of money if you get married during the off-season months of January, February, March and November.
  • Getting married on any other of the week other than Saturday.
  • There is no official name for this disease but many brides get it.
    • 1st Symptom – around 3 months before your wedding, you’ll begin to second-guess your decisions.
    • 2nd Symptom – You’ll get scared and think about what you can do to make your wedding better or more unique.
    • 3rd Symptom – Then you’ll ask friends, family, co-workers and anyone that will listen to you, about what they think of your new ideas.
    • 4th Symptom – and most dangerous…you make a few phone calls and start up-grading a few of your packages.
    • The Cure – stick to your original budget. As the wedding draws near, your emotions take over…ignore them.
  • Vendors are well aware of the disease. That’s why every contract allows for you to upgrade a package at any time but there are rarely loopholes for downgrading.

The Wedding Attire Search

  • If finances don’t allow you to purchase a designer wedding dress, consider renting. Look at it this way, if you’re the type who wouldn’t even consider wearing your mother’s dress, why do you need one collecting dust in the closet.
  • Never mind buying an expensive silk gown. Stick to polyester blends. They’re cheaper, don’t wrinkle as much and are easier to clean.
  • The more beading and detail on the gown, the more expensive.
  • Most of the big bridal shops have huge sales once a year, usually held at hotels or other big venues.
  • To take care of the something old-new-borrowed-blue, look to family and friends for items you can use.
  • Go shopping for bridesmaids’ dresses during prom season and after New Years. There’s nothing written in stone that says you have to buy your bridesmaids dresses at a wedding shop, and generally your prices will be a bit cheaper elsewhere.
  • Shop for those pretty little wedding shoes in the summer, when white shoes are on the shelves of every shoe and department store, or you’ll have to buy them in a bridal shop and pay their prices. Shop in the afternoon, your feet swell during the day and they’ll also be swollen on your wedding day. FB prime advice … try “Payless”.
  • Men’s Tuxedo rentals are pretty much all the same price no matter where you go. The thing to check on is the condition of the suits and accessories.

Flower Power

  • Unless you plan on keeping your bouquet on display in your home, don’t bother with a duplicate to toss.
  • Instead of tossing your whole bouquet, just pick one flower to throw. We all know what condition the bride’s bouquet is in after 30 women (or more) start clawing at it.
  • Silk flowers save you a lot of money and they’re already preserved. The Bride can have fresh flowers, but there really isn’t any need for everyone else to go fresh.
  • If you’re using flowers in your centrepieces, decorations or large altar arrangements, go with silk. Would be nice if your guests could actually use the centrepieces that they just won again. You could re-use the decorations and larger arrangements at home, party accents or resell them on the Babbling Brides Board to another FB.

I Have No Idea How To Decorate!

  • To decorate the head table and save money buy vases, line them up and place the bouquets in them on the table and place votives in between.
  • Before shopping for candles and candleholders anywhere else, be sure to check out a couple of dollar stores.
  • Dollar stores and chains like Wal-Mart and Zeller’s also carry many items that can be used to decorate your ceremony or reception locations.
  • When decorating the church or reception venue use silk flowers.
  • Check with your florist or garden centre to see if you can rent plants, some places do.
  • Kill 2 birds with one stone and use your guest favours/bomboniere as your centrepieces. Buy a raised cake plate and display the favours on each table. Your MC can make an announcement explaining.

How Can I Cut Corners on the Invitations?

  • To make your invitations more personal and less expensive, do them yourself. There are a number of paper stores and websites availabile where you can find original ideas and ways to make your own invitations.
  • Order your invitations over the Internet instead of a printing shop (it’s a little cheaper). Mail order is another possibility.
  • Order a plain invitation from a company and decorate it yourself. All you need is a hole-puncher and some ribbon and/or parchment paper.

I Don’t Want to Spend a Fortune on Favours/Bomboniere

  • Please, go to a DOLLAR STORE first and check out their selection of party favours.
  • Some bomboniere stores decorate the gift for free and some don’t, so make sure you ask.
  • Instead of buying a trinket that will be tossed into a drawer, make a donation to a charity. This is a new trend that many brides are choosing. Pick a cause that means something to you. Your MC can say something like: “Instead of favours, the couple has decided to make a donation in their name to the Lung Cancer Society. The bride’s grandfather passed 3 years ago from this disease.” Donations always get a round of applause…ever see anyone clap for a candy dish?

Wedding Cakes too expensive? No Problem!

  • Buying a cake made with different flavoured tiers will save you money as you wouldn’t necessarily require a dessert table.
  • To get away with not paying a cake cutting fee at your venue, purchase their sweet table but serve your wedding cake for dessert. This means you’ll have to do your cake cutting as soon as your wedding party does their entrance. The staff will take the cake away and have it cut and plated in time for dessert.
  • If you’re having a dessert table, you really don’t need to buy an elaborate wedding cake, try renting.
  • Buy a plain wedding cake and decorate it yourself with silk or fresh flowers.

What about my Hair & Makeup?

  • Try to hire one person or company that does both hair and makeup.
  • Only the bride needs a trial.
  • You can expect to pay anywhere from $40 to $100 for hair and $30 to $85 for makeup. Know that the more women you have that need these services, the cheaper the cost per person.
  • If hair accessories are going to be put in anyone’s hair, make sure you buy them yourself. If you leave this up to the hair stylist it’ll cost more.
  • If you have sensitive skin, we suggest that you do not go for a facial the week before your wedding. You don’t want to be all broke out for the big day.
  • Please get your nails done and make sure the groom’s hands are also manicured. More than likely you’ll be getting a picture that shows your hands and the wedding bands. People will be constantly asking to see your rings.
  • Lastly, try to find a makeup and hair vendor that will do a trial a few months before the wedding. It gives you time to work out any areas you are not happy with and makes the wedding day process much quicker

Using a Caterer & choosing a Reception Venue

  • Hire a caterer that supplies everything you need, plates, glassware, table cloths, etc.
  • Make sure you’re only charged for the services that you need. Some caterers have packages that include decorating and other items. If your venue is decorated already you won’t need the extras. Extras should be deducted from the bill or replaced with something else you want.
  • Pick fruits and vegetables that are in season.
  • Stick to serving food that everyone is familiar with. Fancy food is expensive.
  • Buffets generally cost a good deal less and give your guests the opportunity to get up and mingle with the other guests, and they can pick exactly what they would like to eat.
  • Make sure to read your contract and check to see if the gratuity is included. This goes for all services.
  • Booking a venue that allows you to buy your own liquor is more work but saves you money.
  • Depending on your culture and where you live in Canada, having a cash bar is totally acceptable. This can be a huge money saver.
  • Consider only serving wine and domestic beers.
  • Liquor (vodka, rum, rye, scotch) plus all the different mixes you’ll need adds to your expenses.
  • Liqueurs like Grand Marnier, Sambucca, etc. can put a real strain on the liquor budget.
  • Do you really need that Champagne toast?
  • Common sense tip – the more guests the more cash you’re going to put out.
  • Holding your reception in a hotel has a lot of good points. They usually decorate, have professional services, i.e. DJ, can cater well to large groups, and most likely will include the honeymoon suite, with discounted rooms for out-of-town guests.
  • If you’re having a wedding with 75 guests or under, consider having your reception at your favourite restaurant. You will already know the staff and how the food is.
  • Order child meals for kids under 11.
  • Order a teen meal (same as adults but no liquor) for ages 12 to 17.
  • Your reception is the biggest expense. It’s also where you can save the most money if you shop around and plan well!

Photographers charge too much!

Photographers equipment and development costs alone are huge. Then there are batteries, film, an assistant and the hours of work on and after the wedding. You can save money on enlargements and albums but don’t penny pinch when it comes to the photographer. After your wedding day, the only things you have left are your pictures and your video. These are the only 2 services that last a lifetime and can be passed down to the next generation.

  • Biggest tip – hire a photographer that gives you your negatives, that way you can make as many copies of pictures from your wedding day as you want without having to order them from your photographer.
  • If you choose a photographer that does not give you your negatives, always find out how long they keep your negatives on file and if you can obtain them when they are ready to discard them. Most photographers in general don’t keep negatives past a couple of years. If your photographer still won’t give you the negatives after that point without charging you money, I would question the ethics of the vendor.
  • $1000.00 for a photographer is a great price but if they charge $40.00 for an 8 X 10, where’s the savings. Don’t just look at the photo packages or wedding day shoot costs, ask how much their enlargements are.
  • If a package includes a couple’s album and 2 parent albums, ask how much that same package would cost without any albums. Sometimes it’s worth the savings to buy your own albums elsewhere and sometimes it’s better to take the albums offered by your photographer.
  • Unless you’re doing a formal shoot at the bride or groom’s house, you don’t need a photographer there. Your wedding party and family will have their cameras out anyway.
  • A great idea and one that many are using now is, putting a disposable camera on every table at the reception. Then you’ll only need to book your photographer for the church, photo location and maybe to take a few detailed shots at the reception venue.
  • You don’t need your photographer to stay until 1am. Once the bouquet and garter tosses have taken place, there are no more major events to shoot. Your 1st & last dances look the same on film.

I think I’ll just forget about a Video

Some couples think that having a video is a waste of money. How many times will we actually watch it? As necessary as still pictures are they can not capture the mood, movement and sounds of your wedding day like a movie can. One of the biggest misconceptions is that you have a great memory and you’ll remember everything about your day. You won’t, you can’t, there are too many things going on and you’re on cloud 9. Keep this in mind.

  • Go for packages with one camera coverage
  • Pick a package with limited editing or none at all.
  • If you can’t afford a professional video, ask a friend or 2 that own their own video cameras to shoot the day for you. Putting an unfamiliar camera in someone else’s hands is useless. Professionals know what to shoot and how to shoot it. So, give your friend a list of events that you want footage of and how you want each shot, for the entire day. Example:
    • Pre-Ceremony: Close-up footage for 10-seconds of the different decorations.(altar arrangements, pew bows, wreath outside and unity candle)
    • The guys waiting. Ask the groom what he’s thinking about.
    • The guests arriving (especially immediate family)

Do I Have To Pay a Fortune for Transportation?

  • Shop around, there are so many limousine companies out there. Prices do vary.
  • There is no rule anywhere that says, “You have to have a stretch limousine.” The smaller the car the cheaper.
  • Other than the car and uniformed chauffeur, you really don’t need any other extras.
  • You can also save money by renting your vehicles from Budget, Hertz, etc. They all have new model luxury cars, sports cars and SUVs.
  • You really don’t need the limousine to take you home after the reception. Late-night pick-ups cost $100.00+
  • Before the ceremony, have the limo pick up the bride and her bridesmaids. The groom, groomsmen and parents can take their own vehicles to the church. After the ceremony, the bride and groom can take the limo and the bridesmaids can hop in the groomsmen’s cars.
  • You may already know someone that owns a Cadillac or Lincoln, a fancy sports car or for fun a Beetle or an antique car. Give this person a call.
  • Some couples need more then one limo. If this is the case for you, compare the cost of 2 to 3 limos vs. the cost of 1 limo bus or Chartered Bus.

Choosing Your Music Service

  • Common sense, the least amount of people providing a service, the cheaper.
    • Ceremony – An organist is cheaper than a string duo, which is cheaper than a trio
    • Reception – A DJ is cheaper than a band
  • The least amount of extras the cheaper. Lighting, smoke & bubble machines, other props, costumes, give-aways, fireworks, the list is endless, all cost money. It’s up to you.
  • A really expensive package doesn’t mean that your party will last longer or that your non-dancing guests will feel the need to shake their booty for the first time in their life. But a crappy DJ or band will ruin your reception.

Do I really need a Wedding Coordinator or Planner?

Let’s face it, the ONLY service you need to get married is an officiant.

  • Most wedding coordinators can save you money because they know…
    • about all the tips mentioned above plus more
    • what to say to and ask your vendors
    • They have connections in the industry.
  • You really don’t need a coordinator at your reception once the dance floor is open to your guests. That usually happens between 9-10pm.
  • You could hire a wedding consultant to help with the final stages of your wedding; creating a detailed wedding day itinerary, making up a checklist for items at the ceremony & reception locations, and confirming with your vendors. While she won’t be in attendance at your wedding, she has planned the day smoothly on paper. As long as you follow the times closely (not exactly) and do the events in the same order as the itinerary states, you’ll be fine.
  • You can appoint a friend or family member to be your honorary coordinator. Give her an itinerary, checklists (ceremony & reception items, photo and music list) and phone numbers for all your vendors. The honorary coordinator should be someone that’s organized, the more obsessive-compulsive the better and not scared to open her mouth when something goes wrong.


budgetting your weddingSetting a budget for the ceremony and wedding reception is somewhat easy — you have what you have and that’s that. Sticking to the budget is where things get tough. For now, the engaged couple needs to sit down with both sets of parents to discuss how much money they have, how much money they need, and who will be footing the bill for what part of the wedding.

Click here to print a sample worksheet for footing the bill.

It’s going to be difficult at times, but try to plan a wedding within your means. Before you begin, determine a priority list for the ceremony and the reception. Ask yourselves a silent question: Is what we are spending on this item really worth it to both of us? After all, needing five years to pay off the reception is not the way to go, especially since most newlyweds have a long list of wanna-haves, such as a first home and/or new furniture.

Click here for a sample worksheet to determine priority lists.

wedding budget management for newlywedsNow that you have heard wedding bells and experienced the joys of your wedding ceremony, it’s time to start thinking about how you’ll merge your finances. The budget management situation of a newlywed couple is not something to take lightly – the foundations you build right from the start will affect the entire relationship. Don’t simply think that “things will sort themselves out.” That’s the mindset of a financially troubled marriage.

Over 90% of couples admit to arguing over their budget management, and 34% cite it as a major problem in their marriage.1 Imagine not planning out who will handle your bills and organize your joint savings, let alone plan an overall budget for the family – and you might just cringe. Each spouse has their own interpretation of “important” expenses, and they’re going to spend accordingly without some joint agreements.

Coming up with those agreements, though, can be hard without the proper ways to track spending. Especially for young newlyweds in their late teens or early twenties, knowing what to do with taxes, savings, and 401k plans can be so confusing that many often revert to simply avoiding the subject altogether. Unfortunately, the theory of “if we ignore it, maybe it’ll work itself out” usually leads to more tension than satisfaction.

As if that weren’t enough, many newlyweds these days are thirty-somethings who are combining households and finances – a complicated issue by any measure. Whether you’re 19 or 35, then, there are several key factors and financial items that should be on any newlywed’s To Do list after the excitement of the wedding dies down.

1. Combining and Optimizing Insurances

Job One for any “financial marriage” is for both of you to change your insurance coverage. If both spouses have insurance coverage, it’s best to examine the different plans and costs to decide where the combination should occur. For instance, if the husband has insurance coverage that allows for free spousal coverage, you can set the wife up under that policy and start cutting your spending immediately.

If you can duplicate coverage, that’s good! Duplication ensures that should a medical emergency occur, your insurance policies should cover all of the important issues. If you are paying for insurance under one policy, but not the other, it may be a good idea to place the insurance coverage under the free policy and eliminate the charged one, if possible. Look for ways to lower your overall costs without losing coverage for both.

Mint’s Tip: A popular comparison site for health insurance is They list many of the major insurers, and don’t require you to input your personal information before seeing the plan specifics such as monthly premium, deductible, and coinsurance percentage.

Aside from just medical insurance coverage, you’ll also need to combine homeowners insurance, renters insurance, auto insurance, and possibly life insurance. Make sure that you aren’t paying for the same coverage twice, and combine everything when and where possible. Your overall costs are cheaper when combined – for instance, auto insurance policies always offer multiple-driver and multiple-car discounts. Since most policies will require you to complete these changes within 30 days of your marriage, it’s a quick way to see financial savings immediately.

Keep in mind, as well, that your insurance coverage policies need verification of the marriage in order to proceed. Don’t just wait around and count on filing the marriage certificate paperwork to get that document in time! Most offices take 4-6 weeks to process your certificate. Make it a point to go down to your local county recorder’s office and get a copy, so that you can set up your policies quickly and efficiently.

While you’re changing your insurance coverage policies, you’ll also need to change your beneficiaries should something go wrong. Most people allow their spouse to be their beneficiary for all bank accounts, savings accounts, retirement plans, and insurance policies – so you’ll have to make those decision, as well. Also, some employers require that you identify the person who would receive your final check should something happen to you. Make sure to identify that person as your spouse, as well.

2. Juggling the Tiny Details and Plan for the Unexpected

There are also other issues that should be addressed before you race off to the honeymoon. If one spouse will be changing his or her name, for example, that change should be filed with the social security administration. That spouse will be issued a new social security card and, with that information, can change driver’s licenses or IDs to reflect the change. Anyone who sends you mail – such as credit card companies, magazine companies, and even, where applicable, your alumni association – should be alerted, too.

Now that that’s all taken care of, you’ll need to upgrade your wills next. This step is particularly important, as an old will can cause a terrible knot of problems should something happen to you or your spouse. Don’t stall from addressing these concerns quickly – although planning for situations like these can be difficult, ignoring them will only compound the problem. Make sure your desires are made clear.

3. Figure Out Where You Both Stand Financially

Your next obvious step is one that’s hard to overlook: reviewing all credit cards and other debt obligations between you and your spouse. Many people have credit cards, while others have student loans, child support, and alimony. It’s a good idea to sit down and plan out a way that you and your spouse can pay off these debts. While a perfect solution would be to eliminate your debt prior to getting married so as not to burden your spouse with your own debt, this isn’t always a possibility. Therefore, it’s important for both parties to work on making their family and their marriage debt-free.

4. Budget Management For Your Future – Together

Beyond just paying off debts, though, you’ll want to review your financial goals for life. When do you both plan to retire? Do you own a home yet? If so, do you want to plan on moving into a larger home? If you don’t own a home yet, you’ll often want to draw up a timeline goal for buying one. How long will it take you to save up money for a down payment, and what can the two of you afford when it comes to a home purchase? Set goals together, as a couple, so that you both have a clear understanding of your desires, your goals, your milestones, and the means by which to accomplish them.

This last step brings us to a key point: a newlywed couple absolutely must develop a budget. It is essential that the two of you work out your income, your monthly expenses, and debt obligations. Once that’s been determined, you can make key decisions on how to save money, create an emergency fund, or invest in options for the future. Without a budget, you are going to experience a difficult time together!

With this budget in hand and your plan for the future set, your debt repayment plans laid out, and your key financial information changed over, as a couple you’re ready for a successfully and financially responsible marriage together. Stress levels will be lower and your foundation will be set for a strong marriage based on financial responsibility. Hopefully, all of this planning will ensure that money will never be what comes between you both!