Visit with area wedding professionals that will help you plan your perfect day. Bridal and formal wear, photographers, caters and restaurants, florists, bakeries, limousines, make-up artists, travel agents and more will be on hand to help you with all the details.
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Weddings on the cheap? You can do it.
Ah, weddings. The gown, the veil, the flowers, the … expense. How can a little lace and posies cost so much?
We found one bride who managed to trim expenses in surprising ways and still have a romantic day planned for her October wedding. Her suggestions:
* Put your money on your priorities.
“We decided what was most important to him and what was most important to me,” said Liz Rohde, of Selinsgrove. “That’s what we’d spend most of our budget on.”
Liz and her fiancé, Zach Bleacher, made concessions to stay within their budget. Liz, a professional photographer, cited photography as her top priority, while Zach’s was food. They both wanted live music and dancing, but decided to put that money toward the food and photos. An MP3 player will replace the band, and they’re asking guests to bring their playlists. Instead of dancing, they’ve gone with yard games, which brings up the next money saver: location.
* A banquet hall is beautiful, no question. Also pricey. A backyard garden, where Liz and Zach will wed, can also be lovely. And free.
“If you’re willing to put the effort in, you can find places that will work,” Liz said. Contact state parks or the local chamber of commerce for venue suggestions, or search online for “event locations,” which might offer creative, less expensive options than “wedding locations.”
* Don’t be tempted by expensive apparel.
Liz and Zach set a price limit on her gown, “so I just looked at dresses within that budget,” she said.
As for Zach, he’s fine with ditching a tux rental for a suit he can wear again and again.
* Don’t order a “wedding cake,” Liz said. They’re often more expensive. Order a cake for an event.
* If you have a skill, barter.
“You’d be surprised how many people are willing to do that. It doesn’t hurt to ask.”
In her case, she and Zach decided on cupcakes instead of a wedding cake. About the same price, but more fun. And to make it even greater fun she’s bartering professional photos for a cupcake bar, so guests can choose their filling and frosting – at no extra charge other than a few hours of Liz doing what she loves.
* Feed your friends.
The bare-bones reception offers cake and punch. Beyond that, yes, food is expensive. And though appetizers sound like a low-cost alternative, they can end up costing as much as a meal.
This is where that prioritizing pays off. If food is a priority, you’ve budgeted for it. If not, just let guests know what to expect — “Join us after the ceremony for cake and punch .”
* Timing can trim costs.
A Sunday or weekday wedding is cheaper, though guests might have a hard time attending. And if you’re willing to risk the weather, you can save money on an off-season wedding and honeymoon.
Liz and Zach will drive to Cape May, N.J. It will still be beautiful — but cheaper and less crowded — in October, which thrills Liz, who grew up in Washington and is used to the cooler, less populated West coast beaches.
“I do not want to spend my honeymoon on a beach with millions of people,” she said.
* Be a loyal customer.
Liz and Zach bought their wedding bands from the jeweler where Zach bought the engagement ring, earning them a discount.
* Can we use it again? That was Liz’s guiding question. Flowers? No, so she opted for a bouquet of (less expensive) paper and fabric flowers, and lavender “because I love lavender.”
At the same time they were willing to splurge on a Polaroid camera for guests to take pictures of themselves as a memento for the newlyweds. They’ll definitely use the camera again.
* “If you’re flexible with what the decorations are going to be, it opens up more options to you,” Liz said.
Their wedding decorations will include wheat, apples and dried lavender, and Liz is hoping to rent pumpkins and mums. If you’re having your wedding at a church, try asking if you can share decorations with the wedding right before or after yours. That could help both of you save money.
Your wedding day is a once-in-a-lifetime event, so live it up — but hang on to enough money so that you and your sweetheart can enjoy embarking on your new, intertwined lives.
Cindy O. Herman lives in Snyder County. Contact her at Cindyherman1@yahoo.com or on Twitter @CindyOHerman.