Important occasions are great excuses to spend money on over-the-top food menus and other entertainment expenses. Regardless of the milestone, upping the ante with fine food and beverage, as well as other extravagant spending leads to memorable events, remembered for a long time by all who attend. Surprise parties and graduation celebrations are good examples of special occasions that lead to excessive spending, but nothing taxes personal entertainment budgets more than weddings.
Though the events warrant special considerations, there is no reason to leave money on the table with your wedding-planning efforts. And while each couples’ wedding budget is unique, there are savings opportunities present at every spending level. To make the most of your wedding celebration, consider the following approaches to successful wedding revelry.
Work within a Well-Defined Budget
The first step to realistic wedding spending is to craft a reasonable budget, accounting for all the anticipated areas of spending associated with your special day. Even those with considerable resources should outline some limitations, so that funds are not simply wasted due to lack of attention.
In order to keep track of potential spending during planning, start by breaking-down wedding expenses into categories you’ll need covered. Food, beverage, entertainment, lodging and other expenses can be tracked efficiently when they are designated individually. The exercise also helps brides and grooms prioritize on wedding spending, illuminating options that are strictly off-limits due to cost.
Although flowers, entertainment, and other wedding expenses add up, the biggest budget entry for most couples is the cost of feeding wedding guests. In fact, one of the most common budget shortfalls wedding planners experience is underestimating the cost of food.
Another important decision for brides and grooms relates to the beverage service to be offered at the event. Maintaining an open bar throughout the evening, for example, leads to much higher beverage spending than limiting the amount of free drinks to a certain number for each guest. Offering a cash bar and taking care of wine poured during dinner is a common compromise many couples make, allowing them to account more precisely for total beverage spending.
Compare Pricing and Facilities
Just like other major purchases, flying by the seat of your pants is not a prudent strategy for managing wedding expenses. Knowledge is the key to keeping budgets in-line, so it is important to gather as much information as possible about wedding facilities and the services they provide. Unless you are sold on a particular venue, flexibility leads to wedding savings, enabling you to select options based on economy, rather than simply resigning yourself to costs associated with your first choice.
Timing Influences Wedding Costs
In addition to the menu items and amenities provided to wedding guests, how you time your wedding has a significant impact on its ultimate cost. Service providers count on peak wedding seasons to cash-in, so certain times of year are much more expensive than others. If saving money is an important wedding concern, consider flexible scheduling options. Work the fringe of peak season to land the best deals, carrying your event date into fall, for example, rather than getting married in the middle of summer.
In addition to saving on the venue itself, deflecting your special day from prime-time also leads to savings on other wedding-related expenses. Remember, costs are governed by supply and demand, so wedding service providers extend deals and discounts during off-peak periods. On the other hand, expect to pay top-dollar for your wedding during months like May and June. In a growing trend, some couples actually exchange vows during peak wedding seasons, and then follow-up later in the season with gatherings open to friends and family members.