Figuring out to manage the costs of a wedding can’t seem like a daunting task. I mean lets be realistic not many of you have planned a wedding before. These pointers from Moneyville wil help get you started in the right direction.
Approximately 140,000 Canadian couples tie the knot each year and pay an average of $20,000 on their big day. Weddings are another perfect marriage of love and money.
But going about it can be stressful and hard to navigate. There are endless options, and knowing how to do it in style, but still stick to a budget can seem next to impossible. Success lies in a good plan, being organized, communicating with your partner and being smart about spending.
1. Start with a budget
This is your roadmap. Without a well-thought out budget, you can quickly get lost in the hoopla. Writing things down makes them real and a budget helps you get a fix on the gap between your perfect wedding and the reality of how much you can afford to spend. It helps set priorities and figure out where you can trim.
A budget also makes couples think about all the little details that add up. As you set about the task, ask friends if they had a budget, and if you could use it as a starting point. There are many online budgeting tools, including the one found at weddingbells.ca.
These resources allow you to plug in your costs for typical items and adjust them to see what happens. Most are very thorough and account for everything from wedding favours to your honeymoon.
“The biggest thing we did was make a budget,” said Stephanie Weber, who married her husband Mark two years ago. “It included things we hadn’t thought of that otherwise we wouldn’t have factored in to the overall cost.”
2. Don’t use your retirement savings
One of the biggest mistakes couples make is taking money from their RRSPs to pay for their wedding, says celebrity wedding planner Angelique Sobschak, who hosts TLC’s Rich Bride Poor Bride.
“Retirement savings are meant for later down in the road, or in worst cases, rough patches. Weddings are not rough patches,” she says.
So sit down with your partner and decide what you can spend. This number is more important than deciding what kind of wedding you want. What you can spend will have a big influence on what your wedding day looks like. While the average wedding cost is $20,000, prices really vary depending on the size of your wedding and your vision.
A small reception at a restaurant is less expensive than a large-scale wedding for 200 people in Toronto. Prices also change depending on the region you’re getting married and time of year. An advantage of a wedding planner can be that he/she knows the area where you’re looking to get married and also where to source the best deal. A good wedding planner, according to Sobschak, makes up their cost in the value they provide in both the time you save planning the wedding and cost reduction from relationships with vendors and a knowledge of the local industry.
3. Don’t give in to extras
Many couples go astray with the extras. Whether that’s a red carpet entrance, a mist machine for the first dance, or a chocolate fountain, these can all seem like appealing additions. But at the end of the day, they can add thousands of dollars to your overall budget, without much impact. Knowing when to say no to these extras is crucial to not overspending.
“Going the extra mile whether that is glitter on the table or something else can be like a high for a couple,” said Erma Hadzic, a Calgary-based wedding planner. They spend and spend and spend and don’t come down until the wedding is over and they have a huge extra bill.”
If you’re sold on the extras, there are creative options that can cut your costs. If glitter is what you desire, try a DIY approach and go to your local dollar store to buy the supplies. You can also rent centerpieces and other items which is cheaper than buying them.
4. Negotiate prices
It’s not tacky to negotiate, despite what your mother might think. Wedding vendors, including florists, banquet hall owners, and other suppliers of products used at weddings, often set their price high to prepare for bargaining brides and grooms. Don’t be afraid to make a deal, and ask the vendor if that’s their best price. The only person who will be hurt taking a price at face value is the couple.
5. Shop around
Don’t hire the first florist you speak to, or book the first venue you visit. To get a sense of what things cost, and what places offer deals, talk to several vendors and visit more than one venue. Knowing what one hall costs over the other will also give you some back pocket negotiating power. Always check quality vs. price point. Many times there are reasons why some vendors are more expensive than others.
6. Start early
Don’t wait until the last minute. You have less flexibility, less time to get things done and more stress. Vendors often take advantage of your panic and charge more.
If you can get ahead of your planning and start booking your wedding location and vendors early, you are more likely to get a better price because your suppliers are able to forecast their next year’s earnings much better.
Booking things a year to a year and a half in advance puts the couple in the power seat, with more negotiating power, than waiting to the last minute. When planning a wedding, you want to be leading the charge, rather than sacrificing your vision because time is of the essence.
Read the advice and you are still overwhelmed by the details of planning? Hire a certified planner, sit back, relax and enjoy the process!
Source: Moneyville, contibutindg eiditor, Jennifer Stewart