Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cutting Costs: An Introduction.

There exist people for whom money is no object and a boundless budget is a mindless reality. I may have even unwittingly commingled with a few of them, at some point. Based on my informal observations, there seem to be three situations underlying the behavior of such spendthrifts (the words that make up this compound noun always feel so contrary to its definition!):
1.     They are wealthy, their family is wealthy, their future spouse is wealthy, etc.
2.     They are not wealthy but are willing to spend most/all of their savings on their Dream Wedding.
3.     They are not wealthy but have been lured by credit card companies who are all too willing to lend them money, usually for a very high interest rate, and they plan to charge all their expenses for their Dream Wedding.  
Muddy Waters was right when he sang, “you can’t spend what you ain’t got.” But boy, was he wrong when he went on to sing, “you can’t lose what you don’t have” (Mr. Waters; meet Mr. Credit Card With Interest). But no worries, I’ll save my proselytizing on not accruing debt for another time.
For the majority of us, we want/need to figure out how to reduce costs for our wedding day. Just because we are not willing to spend an extra $50 per chair for those seat covers to match our cloth napkins, does not a bad bride make. This day is truly important to us, but our pragmatic alter egos kick in, demanding we make rational decisions, based not only on our short term plans for vellum invitations and platinum wedding bands, but also on our long-term future lives with our spouses. Right? Right!
So save your unbridled passion and sparkling eyes for friends and family, who won’t take advantage of your elated emotional state and desire to please yourself and your guests, like a vendor might. Learning about some of the traps and tricks to avoid in wedding planning is not as tough as you may think. I already mentioned one of the best tips in a recent post: Not mentioning the word wedding when buying a cake, flowers, etc. Watch as prices get cut in half, and all the oogling and coddling of strangers trying to sell you something, wanes while your wallet stays intact. Consider it an experiment and give it a try. Be brave.
In order to jump start the cost-cutting side of your brain into action, I’m linking a helpful article from the Baltimore Sun here for your reference. It provides a great introduction or refresher to keeping your costs down. Refer back to it when you find you need to re-ground yourself or regain some perspective. It’s a jungle out there. 
Best part of this piece is that the tips are based on the comments and experiences of brides who wrote in to the newspaper with their tried and true tips (they are referred to in the article by their names or initials). What could be easier than benefiting from others’ mistakes and triumphs? Below are some excerpts from the Sun's piece, but be sure to check the article itself for the rest of the useful tips!
Keep things in perspective. Couples don't get married so they can have a big party; they have a big party because they're getting married. It's those years ahead that are the most important, and to me, accumulating consumer debt right at the start does not seem like an auspicious beginning.
Set your priorities. MMK called them values, and GiGiG called them splurges, but essentially these are the non-negotiable items that make the event for you. 
Go off-season and off the beaten path.  Get married some other time besides May through October, and you'll be in a better position to bargain with vendors --- and Lord knows, you'll avoid hurricanes. The same holds true for locations for your event. Several readers, such as Bob and RD, enjoyed lovely ceremonies and receptions at public parks, beaches or private homes. 
Don't call it a wedding. Vendors often charge a premium if they know you're getting hitched. You could buy a bridesmaid dress in white for far less than you would pay for a wedding dress, Maryann and Laura say. The same also applies to cakes.
Barter and bargain. This is a great time to call in the favors --- don't be shy. Friends or relatives might have a connection with a business (a membership at a museum, an employee discount at a hotel) or a personal skill like baking or DJing or photography they can contribute. 
Cut costs that no one will miss.  Readers such as Laura suggested using the Internet to communicate to avoid save the date cards or return postage on RSVPs, and ditching the wedding favors entirely. You could tell your florist to use more greens and fewer blooms, and just have one fancy cake on display while serving sheet cakes for everyone else, according to this Smart Money article.
The full article can be found by clicking here. Check it out.

1 comment:

Share your thoughts!