Posted by: anxiouslyengaged | July 25, 2008

Strapped For Cash?

So, both your and your fiancée are in school, you each have a sibling on a mission, your sister was just married a month ago, and things are looking dismal! After all, your part-time nanny job isn’t going to pay for the perfect dress! So, how can you save money, but still have the wedding of your dreams?

1. Delegate: First, decide who is going to pay for what. Do your parents think a photographer is an unnecessary luxury? (After all, Uncle Joe has a great camera, and he takes incredible pictures of birds!) Are his parents willing to give up their timeshare week to you for your honeymoon?

Traditionally, here’s the breakdown:


The Bride pays for: Groom’s wedding ring and wedding gift, gifts for bridemaids, and hotels for any out-of-town bridemaids.

The Groom pays for: Bride’s rings and wedding gift, marriage license, hotels for any out-of-town groomsmen, gifts for groomsmen and the honeymoon.

Bridesmaids pay for: their dresses, engagement party or bachelorette party, and bridal shower.

Groomsmen pay for: their tuxes, engagement party or bachelor party.

The Groom’s family pays for: ties for groomsmen, Bride’s bouquet, Corsages for relatives, groomsmen’s boutonnieres, groom’s cake, luncheon, help with the honeymoon.

The Bride’s family pays for: all reception costs, bridesmaid’s flowers, all decorations, wedding cake, music or DJ, photographer, invitations, announcements and save-the-date cards, Bride’s dress and accessories, everything else not listed.


Of course, you don’t have to go with tradition. If there are two receptions, typically the mother of the bride is in charge of one, and the mother of the groom is in charge of the other. If the bride’s family hires the vendors (photographer, videographer, florist, etc.) then the groom’s family should be responsible for the luncheon or dinner on the day of the sealing. The best thing is to do it in a way that all families are involved, and feel comfortable. Some families just split the cost right down the middle!


2. Budget: A budget is essential. The last thing you want is to go into marriage with a bunch of debt, or a mother-in-law who resents you because you are the cause of all her maxed-out credit cards.


Now that you have everything delegated and assigned, talk about each item with the person responsible, and set a budget. This will help you to find vendors you love without breaking the bank. If you find the perfect photographer, but your mother faints when she sees the prices, it’ll be harder to let it go than if you know upfront what you can spend, then choose your favorite from the photographers in your budget.


3. Network: Everyone knows someone who knows someone. Ask all your friends who they know, or who they used for their wedding. It’s important to know that just because you know someone, don’t expect a discount. They still have a business to run! But if you give them your budget, they may be more apt to work with it than someone you don’t know.


4. Find the Newbies: Figure out which things you are willing to give to someone who isn’t very experienced, then using your network, find people who are just breaking into the business. Chances are they’ll be cheaper, maybe even free! Many design, culinary and photography schools are a good place to find students who need to build their experience and portfolios. Of course, remember that quality may suffer, as they are inexperienced, but it is a great option for someone on a tight budget.


5. Go Commercial: Offer advertising. No, really! Although advertising on your announcements may be considered a bit tacky, there are other ways to advertise. Ask your caterer if you can get a discount if you put a sign on the food table “Catering by Yum-Yum”. Many restaurants will agree to this, as will some Cake Decorators, Florists and Designers. Get creative!


6. Buy Used: Buy your wedding dress, childrens’ formal clothes, decorations, and other necessities, used. Search Ebay and craigslist. Be sure you do this as far in advance as possible, as you never quite know what you’re getting until you have it in your hands.


7. Do-It-Yourself: Assemble favors, design invites, make cakes, sew dresses, etc. Mormons are the among most talented people on earth, make use of it!


8. Sacrifice Where You Can: This is a time to keep perspective on what is important, but you don’t want to regret things later. Sacrifice the things that you’ll never remember: reception food, favors, whether the frosting on the cake is buttercream or that whipped cream/lard stuff. The number one regret brides have years after their wedding? Not getting a great photographer. If you have to make sacrifices, think about which ones are really important to you.


So, here’s to you! You are now fully educated on the ways of the frugal wedding. Go Forth, and Save!

written by Elizabeth Dorathy


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