There are spendthrifts and there are cheapskates. In the current economic condition, more
and more would belong to the latter group, until some of the rare occasions in life come along, when
you find your tight fists start loosening, and you begin to think that perhaps spending couple of
thousands of dollars for one night is perfectly reasonable. It might be because you are just months
away from tying the knots.
One of life’s important lessons touches on the meaning of worth: some things exceed their
value, some are just right on the money, and many are not worth it. But when it comes to weddings,
this insight is easier said than applied–because in reality, what other event can be so priceless as to
defy practicality, yet be so short-lived as to enforce it? Soon-to-be-wed can be forgiven, at the
very least, a little indecisiveness.
Most of the people say success of the wedding is imperative, because it portends the rest
of the couple’s life–a preview (hopefully) of a lasting happiness. If you don’t know that the joy at
stake here – at least initially–is more than your own or your partner’s, but one that belongs to an
entire contingent of family, friends, and well-wishers, then you’ve yet to warm up for what’s ahead.
So how to start laying down the foundations of happiness, especially in these times, with the
sight of money receding into the distance? The advice would be to proceed slowly, conserve
resources, and allow for ample recovery from each expense to the next. However, most people who
are party-lovers and doubtless, some part of you is urging you to let go and let tomorrow take care
There can be compromise. There is a trend wherein most couples go to the more practical
and economical route, while still having a nice wedding. Because of the current global economic
conditions, couples these days would think twice where to put their hard earned money. They always
tell that what they are after is value for money.
Don’t despair because it’s not about choosing all or nothing. It’s easy to pull off a nice and
classy wedding even on a tight budget as long as you are of the thinking that less is more, and keep
styling along clean, basing lines. Think of the wedding budget as a cake, and cutting the cake into
“areas” according to each type of expense: attire, food, rentals, and so on. Depending on the
couple’s priorities, they edit the things that are not so important to them. For example, they choose
for an alternative venue to a hotel, to cut down on catering and rental, or downsize the flowers to
spend more on the attire.
It may seem like a tricky balancing act, but cutting costs is all about maximizing resources
and skills. Always encourage do-it-yourself projects. Involve families, friends, entourage in making
the invitations, favors, misalettes, seat card, etc. –small details that are still so important. The
result of such a collaboration, is a wedding truly imbued with personal touch and a lot of `heart’. It
also has the sweet benefit of saving money while gaining a stronger emotional network among the
wedding party–a win-win situation on all accounts.
More for Less. You can have your cake and eat it too–but better yet, make it double it as
wedding favors for your guests. Opt for mini cakes, set beautifully on a cake tower, instead of the
traditional tiered cakes. You can have a small cake for cutting, along with the souvenir cupcakes.
Put the family’s talents to good use. If you have musical geniuses in the family, they can
either sing or play during the ceremony and/or reception. Those with a gift for gab can even host
the program. Just make sure they also have the gift of discretion when it comes to your dirty
Go for friendly wheels. Instead of hiring a bridal car, borrow from family or friends, or use
your own cars instead. The car doesn’t always have to be white, either. Even the family car can look
elegant with a tasteful floral arrangement on its well-loved nose.
Get an all-in-one supplier. There are many flexible caterers who decorate well, given your
theme and preferences. This will eliminate the need for an independent stylist. You might also be in
good hands with a company that offers merged wedding planning and on-the-day coordinating. If
you have extremely willing friends with superb organizational talents, you can even get coordination
Max the blooms. Choose flowers that are local and in season to cut on costs. Floral varieties
while not entirely indigenous are farmed in the country, instead of flowers flown in from abroad.
Freshness always trumps rarity. Even the flowers used for the ceremony can be transferred to the
reception venue for those auxiliary floral touches such as stage backdrops or entrance area
Budget your music. Much of the diners’ focus is on their food, so no need for music spectacles
during dinner. One pianist and one violinist are enough for a classic dinner serenade. When things
speed up, you can retire the two musicians and pop a cool CD mix into the player. A hip DJ can be a
hit, yes, but that’s nothing a specially-programmed iPod can’t manage.
Cut clothing down to size. You don’t need a high-end couturier for the entire bridal entourage.
A reputable gown-maker who can execute a sketch can be just as good. Go for those who are
generous enough to assist you with finding the right cloth and allow you to provide it yourself so
you’ll only have to pay for labor.
Recruit the able. Instead of asking professional videographers to do your AVP, ask techie
friends and volunteers to do it for you. There is a lot of software available that makes this easy. In
a labor of love, heart can compensate for the lack of a practiced eye or hand. If full coverage is
too much to ask from a friend, another option is to save the printing or editing for later and just
hire photographers and videographers on labor basis only. They can turn over their work to you and
you can hand them over to your Adobe-savvy friends.
Tackling tradition. The perception that weddings are in service of tradition in the first place
can make for some seemingly untouchable must-haves, like the doubly decorative and traditional
wedding cake, the caged doves, the mile-long cathedral train, the month-long European
honeymoon...you get the picture.
These traditions are not iron-clad. You can skip the garter toss and no one will arrest you.
More and more couples are revising traditional practices for the sake of practicality. For instance,
gone are the days when the groom’s family pays for the entire wedding. Bride and groom split the
expenses between themselves, with minimal parental support.
If you’re still stumped by the monumental decision of how to spend your money, a bit of
self-reflection can straighten you out before you begin weighing your options. As our “save or
splurge” brides demonstrate, no two brides are alike.
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Downtown Farmville, VA 23901