December 12, 2008
How to save on wedding costs without sacrificing
Several years ago, a character on my favorite television show expounded on the cost of modern weddings, finishing up his tirade with, "And the next morning, you wake up and realize that for the same price as the down payment on a house you're married to that."|
The average wedding costs about $30,000, and in this declining economy it might not be too long before that will once again be a down payment in Los Angeles.
Most brides want beauty and romance during their wedding -- an expression of their love in the form of a grandiose ceremony. But for many couples, a lavish wedding would require a major financial sacrifice at time when few can afford to do so.
For brides and grooms who are focused more on the marriage than the wedding, the following are some cost-cutting ideas to preserve the grand expression, while leaving enough aside for a nest egg.
Unless the guest list tops 300, don't hire a wedding planner. Their service won't save you any time or trouble, because they will regularly want to meet to offer you more choices. What you might save in prices with vendors will in turn be spent on their fees. Planners are mostly in the business of selling services, and as a result, they look to increase the extravagance.
Wedding at Home
While people generally think that having a wedding at home is the least expensive, it can cost as much as a banquet hall to rent the tables and chairs, hire a valet service and pay for the catering service to provide and serve the food. Having the wedding in a professional venue only gets expensive when all the extras are added in, from valet parking to serving your guests champagne upon entering.
At a recent wedding, guests were served apples and champagne before they could get their coats off, and then there were exotic hors d'oeuvres, tables filled with fruit, cheese, crudités and dip. Then as they left the ceremony, they were offered goblets of a variety of soups. Entering the hall for cocktails, guests encountered deli, Japanese, Italian, French, Latin and Chinese buffet tables. By the time people were ushered into dinner, the three entrées they had to choose from were hardly enticing.
Instead of stuffing the guests before the dinner, serve hors d'oeuvres and drinks, allowing the guests to mingle without having to get in long lines.
Another approach is to have a morning or early brunch wedding and forgo elaborate dinners.