If you are planning a wedding for the first time, you are guaranteed to experience a little sticker shock when booking wedding services. Here are eight steps you can take to help you minimize some of that shock.
1. Research. Before you can set a realistic wedding budget, you need to understand what the average costs are for each vendor type in your area. Do your research and get as much detail as possible (vendor portfolios, referrals, fees, etc.).
2. Set a Realistic Wedding Budget. Use your research to determine the budget of your expected wedding expenses. It is important to include the fees, taxes, service charges, the cost of alterations, vendor meals, gratuities, and an emergency fund. You can download our budget outline template to get you started.
3. Determine your “must haves” vs. your “nice to haves.” Before you open your wallet, know that you don’t have to purchase every “up-sell” a wedding vendor offers you. Of course, the “options” are nice to have, but they are typically far from necessary.
4. Consider last year’s designs. Consider purchasing a wedding gown from last year’s collection or purchase a wedding gown at a consignment shop. You will have a gorgeous gown, but you won’t pay nearly as much.
5. Try to negotiate a less expensive fee. Ask potential wedding vendors and venues if there is any way for them to meet your budget. Lowering their fee may not be a feasible option for some of your wedding vendors, but you never know!
6. Read your contracts closely BEFORE you sign them. Before you sign a contract for a wedding product/service, read the contract carefully, ask plenty of questions, and request to have an itemized price list included with the contract. You don’t want the fine print to “cost you” later.
7. Be flexible when choosing your wedding date. Are you planning to get married on a Thursday evening or a Sunday afternoon? If so, inquire about discounted fees for weddings held on days other than Saturday. Or, ask about the less desirable wedding dates on your wedding venue's list. You never know — a less desirable wedding date might not work for others, but it might be a perfect wedding date for you.
8. Be flexible with your payments. Some wedding vendors might provide you with a discount for booking your wedding date more than 12 months before your wedding or you may get a 5% discount for paying the entire bill in in full. Vendors may not mention these price discounts on their web site, but it may be something they are open to offering couples.
And, remember, it never hurts to ask!
Love & Soul Always, Kay