6. Shop around
When you’re choosing a vendor, it helps to have context. The more websites that you visit, calls you make and meetings that you set up, the better sense you’ll have of what prices are “low,” “average” and “high.”
I visited two florists before making a decision. I liked Florist A a lot more than Florist B. The only problem: Florist A gave me an estimate that was $1,100 higher!
I decided to email Florist A and say, “I’d really love to work with your company, but I got an estimate from another florist that’s $1,100 less.” Guess what? Florist A matched that exact price, so I got the quality that I wanted at a much more reasonable cost. A win-win!
7. Wait for sales
The earlier you start to plan, the more deals you’re likely to snag -- because you’ll have more time to wait for sales.
My fiancé and I knew which gifts we wanted to buy for our bridal party members on TheKnot.com within a month of getting engaged. We knew that we had about a year to buy the items, so we held off on purchasing them—and signed up for The Knot’s online newsletter. When December rolled around, we got an email that read: “Year-end clearance sale!” That savings: $120.
I was also patient when searching for a pair of bridal shoes. I eventually found a gorgeous, sparkly Badgley Mischka pair on sale at Bloomingdale’s—marked down to $150 from $215. If you can, hold out for big holiday sales around Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day. And ask wedding gown salons for a list of their upcoming trunk shows or sample sales.
8. Pay attention to the fine print
When you’re planning a wedding, you have to read and keep track of dozens of contracts—many of which are long and detailed. So it’s all too easy to skim them quickly without fully focusing on what you’re signing. Resist that urge and carefully analyze what you’re agreeing to—and make sure to bring home a photocopy of the agreement, in case you need to refer to it later.
While tweaking invitation proofs, my vendor told me that it would cost an additional $180 to use two colors. I thought that sounded different from what the vendor had told me originally, and sure enough, the contract clearly stated that since my invitations were digital, I could use as many colors as I wanted at no additional charge. I pointed that out to the salesperson, who corrected the error. But if I hadn’t spoken up, odds are that I would have been charged extra.
9. Use rewards points
My fiancé is a Hilton HHonors member, thanks to business travel. So we were able to use 160,000 of his rewards points to get a free hotel room for two nights during our Hawaiian honeymoon. That saved us a total of $800. You should also think about using frequent flyer miles and credit card rewards points—you can also rack up a lot of the latter if you pay for all of your wedding-related stuff with your credit card.
10. DIY it
Instead of asking a professional company to print out my ceremony programs and reception place cards, I saved money by printing them myself. The place cards would have cost about $175, and the programs would have been about $400.
And you can use other D.I.Y. skills to save money, like making your own bouquet out of antique jewelry or artificial flowers. Or design your own party favors by baking your famous chocolate chip cookies or growing your own mini potted plants.
It’s easy to get sucked into a wedding spending vortex, especially when vendors prey on your emotions by saying things like, “We want to help you create memories that you’ll carry with you for a lifetime.” I had to keep reminding myself that how much I spent wasn’t a reflection of how in love I was nor how strong my marriage would be. These were business transactions, and at the end of the day, all the vendors really wanted was my cash.
When I reflect on every wedding purchase I made over the past year, I can’t believe that all of the small cuts add up to over $21,000. Crazy! And I’m thrilled that I can put that chunk of change toward something a lot less romantic but a lot more practical—a future mortgage.
More from LearnVest:
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
How absurd is this article? $21k in just savings? The thought that anyone would have even considered spending $21k for the whole wedding is unrealistic.
My wedding and reception didn't even come close to 21K and it was a great wedding and reception, people are nuts if they even spend close to 21K, No wonder we are in this mess we are in. we have superficial nutjobs thinking they need everything for a few hours just to see it go poof. use that money on a house or college fund or something. Stop the Waste
Total cost of the wedding? UNDER $120 ! Twenty-two and a half years later...still smiling about how much we saved and how much fun we had!
I hate people who think they "saved money" by buying something on sale -- something they weren't going to buy at all until it went on sale. In that case, you have not saved anything, you have spent money. It's like spending $25 dollars more so you can get $5 free shipping.
Jane you say you are thrifty but it is clear your really are NOT. Perhaps you are wealthy enough that these sums of money are nothing to you? I got married for $10 at city hall almost thirty years ago. Still happy and we NEVER regret not spending more. You really need to look at the comments here and consider what is really important. The right spouse and good people to join and witness your exciting life event. Thrifty? You don't know yourself! Spending this kind of money on a wedding is either over compensation because you know the marriage won't work, or overly materialistic values which will likely cause the marriage to fail, or you have just enough money to wave it in everybody's faces which is not nice either. Budget $500 bucks and put the rest of the money towards your retirement and such!
I have been to a couple of $40-80K weddings, saw the bride and groom once. The rest of the time they were running around saying hello to over 250 guest. Not fun.
A few years later when you bring up weddings, they mention how they regret wasting that much money on the event and not being able to hang out with their family and best friends. Then comes the I should have paid down my student loans, bought a house, traveled to different countries, etc.
It is great that this author can afford such a large wedding, but I would change the dollar figures to percentages so that she can get accross the point of the article... How To Cut Wedding Costs. End of article should not say "small cuts add up to over 21k" it should say "small cuts add up to over 25% savings!"
Somewhere in this article there is a lesson in how to neogotiate the cost of a wedding.
This article is on the wrong website--it might work on a website for Yuppies who typically would drop $10K for having a wedding in wine country. That's not the type of person who visits this website. The type of person who visits this website needs suggestions about how to avoid foreclosure and whether or not getting married is worthwhile given that getting divorced is expensive.
Poor choice of article for the venue.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
MORE PERSONAL FINANCE SECTIONS & TOOLS