Ever since I got engaged, planning my wedding has been a financial challenge—especially since I’m both a sentimental and thrifty person.
On the one hand, I think: It’s a special day—the one moment in my life when I’ll be surrounded by all of my dearest family members and friends. So why not splurge and have my wedding at a spectacular vineyard on the north fork of Long Island, New York?
But I also think: I don’t have a huge income. And my fiancé and I are saving for a house, so extravagance isn’t necessary. I guess that I don’t really need to tie the knot in wine country and pay $10,000 to $15,000 just for the “location fee,” which doesn’t even include the cost of tables, chairs and linens.
Over the last year, I’ve learned the art of striking a balance between splurging on my priorities (a live band, a pretty dress) and resisting the urge to blow the bank on things that are less important to me, like fancy programs and escort cards.
But no matter what I spent money on, I always found a way to get it for less than full price—whether that meant negotiating with a vendor, waiting for a sale or using “rewards” points—and I managed to save $21,485 in the process! For all those brides- and grooms-to-be who want in on my secrets, check out these 10 tricks that allowed me to cut corners … and still have a dream wedding.
1. Don’t Be Overly Accommodating
My wedding was originally supposed to be on a Friday evening. I signed a contract with my venue coordinator, and started to spread the exciting news. The next day, when she called to tell me that she had accidentally double-booked my date, I didn’t say, “Oh, that’s OK. Mistakes happen. I totally understand.” Instead, I told her politely (but firmly) that I was disappointed—and that I might take my business elsewhere.
Sensing that I was serious, and recognizing that she was in the wrong, she offered me a Saturday evening wedding … at a Friday evening price! And that meant a savings of $50 for each of the 229 guests I was inviting. In other words, she was offering me the most desirable day and time of the week for $11,450 less than it usually costs. Although I was nervous about making the deal, since the coordinator had already broken my trust, I decided that it was too good of an offer to pass up.
RELATED: The Wedding Cost Creep … For Guests
Wedding vendors juggle as many as four brides per weekend—especially between April and October—and errors aren’t all that uncommon. So if your vendor makes a mistake, remember that you have leverage. There’s no need to throw a tantrum, but don’t be a pushover either. Hesitate before moving forward with the vendor, and gently express the fact that you’re dissatisfied. Then see if that person makes you a better offer. After all, you have nothing to lose.