Thursday, February 21, 2008

Budget: Ceremony Savings

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the wedding ceremony is the reason behind the big party. In reality, the ceremony is one of the few true essentials on the wedding planning checklist, so you’ll need to allot space for it in your wedding budget. Thankfully, fabulous vows do not need be a budget buster. Heed this advice to walk down the aisle in style.

Site Savings: Two in One
Many reception venues also host on-site ceremonies. The ceremony fee may be built into the cost of the reception or tack on a minimal expense (planning tip - the ceremony fee is easy to negotiate since you’re forking over so much the reception). Hosting both events in the same location will also save on transportation expenses.

Honor Your Faith
If you have a strong religious affiliation, your house of worship will likely host your wedding ceremony. This is good news for your budget, since members of the organization can usually rent the space free-of-cost (although a donation is a nice gesture).

Décor Deductions: Something Borrowed
Plan your wedding near a major religious holiday when your place of worship is decked with festive décor. “Borrowing” your ceremony décor means one less detail to plan – and one less item to purchase.

Simplify Your Site
Overdone decorations are unnecessary for a brief ceremony. Keep décor elements simple (and cost-effective), and save the pricey arrangements for the reception – as this is where your guests will spend the majority of time. For example, strategically placed candles set a romantic ambiance and cost considerably less than flowers.

Go Natural
Cut décor costs further by exchanging vows in a naturally beautiful location. A garden wedding hardly needs additional floral arrangements, while an ornate church may be breathtaking on its own (planning tip - for public outdoor settings, be sure to check the rules and regulations.)

Music Markdowns: Amateur Alternatives
Ceremony musicians can tack on an extra $500-$1000 if you’re not careful. Consider some alternatives and pocket the extra cash for your reception entertainment. If your ceremony site boasts a respectable sound system, round up some classical CDs and someone reliable to cue the music – and viola – instant background music. Or better yet, ask a talented friend or family member to perform during the ceremony (a perfect job for that cousin you couldn’t quite squeeze into your wedding party). You’ll cut costs and give a special person a significant role on your special day.

Banish the Rental Fee: Multi-Talented Musicians
Hire your reception entertainment to accompany your ceremony as well. Vendor pricing is much easier to negotiate when you purchase multiple services or package deals.