10 Tips For A Budget Harlem Wedding

January 4, 2011

A few tips to keep a wedding cheap and within your budget.

A wedding is one of life’s “big ticket” items like a house or a retirement account or a car. Whether we want a Harlem wedding or a fairy tale wedding, we all look for ways to cut expenses. Sometimes we do it out of sheer necessity and other times we do it so that we can afford other important things like a nice home or car after the wedding. Whatever your reason may be for scouting out budget-minded wedding tips, the following list may be able to help you keep a few dollars in your pocket after your big day.

1. Ask any of your friends or relatives who has been married. One of the biggest expenses, if not the biggest expense, is your photographer. And rightly so. You will not be able to save a piece of your cake for decades or be able to squeeze into your wedding dress forty years later, but you will always have your photos to remind you of that blissful day. So, of course, you want tons of photos. Instead of paying a thousand or more dollars hiring a photographer who will make you stop in the midst of biting down on your wedding cake to turn to the camera and pose, see if anyone in your family or in your circle of friends is willing and able to be the official photographer. If you’d rather not have one person be solely responsible for the photographs, hand out some disposable cameras to guests and have them take candid photos of you and your groom/bride. It will be interesting to have these photos from the guest’s perspective

2. Another huge expense can be the flowers. When we meet with the florist, it is easy to get swept up in talks of large bouquets on each table and huge plants gracing the entryways, but really think about it. Where do those flowers go after being used for three hours? In the trash. Are you willing to spend a thousand bucks on something that will only last a few hours and that your guests will more than likely not even remember? Instead, get your bridesmaids together and brainstorm ideas about more affordable decorations. Instead of a major flower centerpiece on each table, for example, put a few single buds in some slim vases for a simple and elegant centerpiece.

3. Instead of shelling out tons of money on the rehearsal dinner. The day before the wedding, have an intimate BBQ at a relative’s house. Your wedding party will not remember the food they ate or the restaurant they went to for the rehearsal dinner. All they will be thinking about is having a good time with some good company.

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4. Get Rid of an open bar or cash bar at a wedding. Many people feel it is traditional to have an open bar or cash bar at a wedding. Eliminate it altogether. Your guests can have fun even without beer or liquor.

5. Don’t worry about renting a DJ. If you are not worried about having somebody lead your wedding guests in a rendition of the “Chicken Dance” or the YMCA, don’t worry about renting a DJ and instead just have a few mix CDs with your favorite songs on there that can be shuffled through throughout the night.

6. Saturday nights are traditionally the nights for weddings. Thus, reception halls and wedding event centers will charge more on these nights. If you don’t mind having your wedding on a Friday or Sunday, pick one of these days or nights instead and you can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

7. Have your wedding in the early afternoon. While the day you have your wedding can determine how much you will spend, the time of day you have your wedding can also drain or pad your wallet. Nightime weddings cost a little more because of the peak hour and also because the guests will usually be served a full-course dinner. If you choose to have your wedding in the early afternoon, you can save money because this is not a peak time for most reception halls AND you can serve a smaller lunch or simply finger foods.

8. Custom-made wedding gowns can be quite costly. If you have much time before your wedding to prepare, scout your area for bridal extravaganzas and wedding fairs. Many times these fairs that come into town will offer discounts or coupons for wedding gowns. Be on the lookout for sales at your local bridal stores and that thousand dollar dress you have been eyeing may be reduced to half its price.

9. Local bakeries will be more reasonably priced than those specialized bakeries. A wedding cake can cost hundreds of dollars, especially if you go to a bakery that specializes in wedding cakes. Instead, go to your local favorite bakery and see how much it would cost for them to make a wedding cake. Many times these local bakeries will be more reasonably priced than those specialized bakeries.

10. Get married in Fall to save some extra bucks! As I mentioned before, the day of the week determines price, as does the time of day. Did you also know that the time of year may also determine the price of your different items like the reception hall and the caterer? Most brides get married in the Spring months like April and May. If you choose to get married in, say, October or November, you may be able to save some extra bucks!

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