Weddings can be excruciatingly expensive, with the average cost of a wedding in the United States spiraling above $25,000. A frugal bride has many resources for saving money on her wedding, but if she cuts the wrong corners her special day will look like a tacky, cheapskate affair rather than a budget-savvy celebration. If a bride splurges on these eight items, however, her wedding will not only be tasteful and elegant, but will be less stress and more enjoyable for her, her groom, and their guests.
The wedding invitation is a couple’s first impression on their guests and sets the event’s tone. A flimsy card, thin envelopes, and blurred budget printing all indicate a cheap affair and make a poor impression, no matter what the design or exact wording. Upgrading to a thicker cardstock, lined envelopes, and higher quality printing conveys not only formality and elegance, but indicates to guests that this will be a great event that they should treat with the dignity it deserves.
The wedding gown may cost hundreds of dollars, but if no money is spent on alterations, it will fit like it came off a thrift store clearance rack. Alterations can be expensive when a gown has intricate beading, lace, or many underskirt layers, but properly fitted, it will be far more comfortable and will fit the bride’s body shape for a more attractive appearance, and will also show better in photographs. And don’t forget the groom – his tuxedo should be properly fitted or altered as necessary.
A bride can save by not hiring a professional makeup artist for her wedding day, but at the very least she should upgrade to better quality cosmetics, including waterproof options in case of joyful tears. If a bride does not already have those supplies on hand, it can be more affordable to simply hire the professional and pay for a few extra samples for emergency repairs. The makeup for your wedding day is different than what you’d wear on a daily basis, and quality supplies can give you a romantic look that will last through hours of photos, vows, and dancing.
According to CostofWedding.com, photography is already a top wedding expense (enter your zip code to get local averages), but when asked on Offbeat Bride, many couples wish they’d spent a bit more. Cutting photography costs may limit the time a photographer dedicates to your event and key moments could be missed, or if no assistant is available, the variety of angles and poses will suffer. By paying for better photography, couples not only get a better selection, but they enjoy better professional treatment. Couples may also be able to secure the digital release for their photos, allowing them to be posted on Facebook or other social networking sites to share with everyone who couldn’t be there on their special day.
5. Helping Friends
A wedding is expensive not only for the couple, but for the friends who play critical roles as attendants or who may have greater distances to travel just as guests. That best friend you’ve always wanted at your side on your wedding day may not be able to afford both travel and attire, or a favorite cousin who’s in a financial bind may not be able to take time off and spend money on a hotel. If you offer to help with the expenses, however, such as footing the hotel bill or paying for bridal party clothes – you can ease their burden and still share your special day with them. This gracious spending can save friendships and ensure that everyone a couple truly wants to share their day with can be there.
6. Cocktail Hour
It is common for couples to arrange an hour or two for post-ceremony photography before the reception, and guests are often at loose ends during that cocktail hour. Even if a few drinks and nibbles are provided, they often run out before the couple arrives, leaving guests milling around without direction. Providing extra snacks, springing for an extra hour of music, and adding some free soft drinks to the bar will help keep guests entertained and comfortable until the just-newlyweds arrive.
7. Wedding Day Coordinator
A wedding planner can be a big expense couples don’t need if they plan their event carefully, but a day-of coordinator can be invaluable and well worth the cost. One-day planners are carefully briefed and have all the necessary contact information and expertise to handle the inevitable glitches that happen to every wedding. By having one person to coordinate little tasks, from checking on the decorations to ensuring the proper setup and cleanup to handing out appropriate vendor tips, the bride and groom can relax and enjoy their day instead of stressing over small mishaps.
A married couple will have many vacations together, but newlyweds only get one honeymoon. Upgrading to better airfare, booking a suite instead of a standard room, and splurging on great experiences can make a honeymoon far more memorable and relaxing after the wedding stress. Honeymoon registries such as Honeyfund and Traveler’s Joy are available for couples to use in lieu of traditional gift registries, and can help cover the cost of luxury upgrades without a severe impact on the overall wedding budget.
Any wedding is expensive, and while couples are always looking for ways to save, looking at a few places to spend more can help ensure an elegant, attractive, and amazing day that will be fondly remembered for many happy anniversaries.