The continuation of the Money blog of my Wedding Planning series from yesterday. Here’s Part 1 if you missed it. And now, the continuation…
3. Consider trade offs
Take into account the unexpected when making decisions. Every move and decision will affect the bottom line. If you get a destination wedding (having to drive far, swim, fly to get to the venue) every supplier or vendor is likely to go up because they have to travel to do your thing. This means transportation expenses, possibly more manpower, and losing some business because they can only do your wedding that day.
Getting a package MIGHT help if you can find a good one. Some places bundle together venue, food, styling the venue, etc. It might be cheaper to do it all yourself, but at least you saved on all that time and effort of looking at individual suppliers. Some venues don’t offer anything but package deals, so you might just have to go with that.
But package bundles have their downsides too. Because you’re a captured market, there is less incentive on the other suppliers to deliver excellently. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s not as simple as they make it sound. Also, check if you’re paying for things that you don’t want anyway. It’s like those cable packages or cellular plans that give you dozens of channels or features but you’re really only going to use 3 of them. Maybe it’d be cheaper overall to build your own thing.
The price we paid for our venue alone was the highest line item in the ENTIRE wedding budget and that didn’t cover anything else – no decor, food, seats, tables, or even electricity. We had to pay for all of those other things as well. Expensive, yes. But it was a decision made knowledgeably.
But our beach wedding had advantages too. It was informal and this allowed us to shave a significant number of costs. The food for example was buffet style (cheaper than plated meals because you don’t need to many servers) and we had some inexpensive though fun to eat stuff – salad station, mongolian station, etc. The guests loved it and most didn’t mind that we weren’t serving things with expensive ingredients like truffle hummingbird-egg omelettes with gold shavings and saffron. In short, consider the trade offs. Discuss them together and you’ll arrive at the best combination for you.
So obvious, but never fails. Do it yourself! Why pay other people to do things that you can do for yourselves as a couple? Number one, you get to save money! Number two, you get to do it exactly the way you want. Number three, it adds character to the whole occasion because it wasn’t some canned, pre-fabricated wedding template that’s being used in a dozen different weddings that month. You hear the “oohs” and “aahs” of the guests when the host casually mentions, “Oh, those centerpieces were actually made by the bride’s cousins.”
When my wife heard how much the calligraphy for a wedding invite would cost (They charge per letter of the name!), she rallied four of her nieces and they spent one entire afternoon painstakingly copying the font and writing the name of each person who would receive an invite. It is actually a pleasant memory for us now to look back on. Win-win-win.
I also appreciated the talent of professionals/friends who gifted us with their presence and performances like Gary V. and Yeng Constantino. But I was also glad to see Nica, our niece, singing and Franco Laurel, our friend, singing my brother’s composition. People have greater appreciation for DIY stuff. So capitalize on it!
Is there anything you can offer in exchange, like publicity? A mention in your blog? A tweet to your network of dozens? Hey, maybe it’ll work. Suppliers have been known to lower their prices and toss in a few freebies for such things. Don’t be afraid to ask, re-ask, and haggle a little bit. They don’t mind unless you do it respectfully and with an understanding to them. A worker is worth his wages after all. In the same way that you don’t want to be used and abused, afford them the same courtesy. Try to arrive at an agreement that works well for both parties. Or don’t work together at all. Either of those is better than it not working for either of you.
6. Don’t blow everything on the wedding.
You need the money for afterward! Living with another person is really expensive. You don’t wanna start out in a deep financial rut. Leave a buffer for yourselves. One thing I personally didn’t want to do was be in the red on the wedding day and hope the wedding gifts would bail me out. So the budget Carla and I set from the beginning was designed to be paid for on the wedding day and leave nothing unsettled.
We had several things that we still wanted to incorporate that just didn’t fit our budget anymore – she wanted a percussion group and I wanted 20 boats with lights just off the beach that would come on when it got dark. Both were pretty expensive so we gave it a deadline. If no money came in for it or they didn’t lower their prices, we’d scrap the ideas. And that’s exactly what happened.
But that’s okay because…
7. It doesn’t take money to make a wedding “work.”
As important as it is to plan and budget, this is not the biggest factor on the wedding day. But as the day gets closer, payments become due, and bank accounts shrink, money has the tendency to loom large and dominate our mind. Before we know it we’ve lost the joy of the process and with each other. I want to suggest some things that are more important than being able to afford *that* particular item.
Your family and friends! They’re there for you. They’re supporting you on that day. It’ll be fine. Not everything will go according to plan or budget, but the people closest to you will be thrilled just for the fact that this is finally happening. And for the ones who aren’t? Well, forget about them for now because…
Your spouse to be! This person is marrying you! Someone thinks you’re worth living with for the rest of their life! What a miracle! There were some things Carla and I still wanted on the wedding day that we couldn’t afford. But did we care? Not really. Coz we had each other! Man, that was more than enough.
Your faith in God. Now, don’t click out and say, “Duh, of course the pastor would say that.” Let me explain. There’s something about weddings that God likes. Jesus’ first recorded miracle on earth was at a wedding. Did you know that the culmanation of the entire Bible is one big cosmic wedding scene? The Bible says, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” (Proverbs 18:22) That part “favor from the Lord” means God is for you and He wants you to succeed.
My wife and I totally felt that during our wedding planning process. We felt it through the men and women who voluntarily helped us in any way they could. The amounts and degrees varied but the heart was the same. We felt God’s favor through them. We also felt it in the things no human could have planned for us – beautiful weather, good health for everyone involved, and the good will of so many even after the wedding.
Coz that’s what the favor of God means. He is FOR you. And if somehow you finished this blog and you aren’t getting married yet, but you’d like that favor you can get it too. It’s not anything you deserve or work for or earn. It’s something He gives freely to those who will humbly acknowledge their need for it. It’s called grace. John 1:16 says, “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.”
Note however, this isn’t a piecemeal deal. It’s all-in. You either acknowledge that you need God’s favor in everything – planning, life, career, relationships, personal dysfunctions – or decide you’ll go at things on your own in life and eternity. It’s free though. So why wouldn’t you want that? It starts by acknowledging your need for Him. Check out this short passage in the Bible and see what it means. Message me if you’ve got questions.
That’s it for our wedding money-saving tips! Hope that helps… I’ve got a few other blog ideas left before wrapping up this series including how not to turn into bride and groomzilla, our favorite features of our wedding day and in other weddings, and a detailed breakdown of Operation Four Seasons – How We Pulled Off That Prenup Shoot in a day and a half.