Photo: Thayer Allyson Gowdy
Owner of Weddings in Vieques, a destination-wedding planning company off the coast of Puerto Rico, Sandy Malone has helped countless couples plan their big day since 2007. Here, the veteran planner is sharing some expert advice for free: She's revealing easy ways to save money on your wedding without sacrificing style.
Every couple has a budget — and you have to make good decisions from the beginning so don't find yourself paying off your big day for many years to come. There are things you need and there are things you want. The trick is to find a balance between the two things that allows you to have the "wedding of your dreams" and still pay it all off within a reasonable time frame.
Here are some tried-and-true tips to keeping that budget under control:
2. Don't extend your reception hours at the venue so you can party like rock stars all night long. Instead, choose a great after-hours venue and clear out the wedding reception after the standard length of time (five hours usually). Once you get to the bar for the after-hours, the tab is on your wedding guests, not the bride and groom.
3. Have only one kind of music at the reception: a band or a DJ — not both. It all adds up and everyone has a minimum number of hours you have to use them, so you probably will end up with overlap.
4. Forget pens, bubble baths, or notebooks for welcome bags. Guests want things they can eat and drink — which is usually cheaper than little gifts. In the Caribbean, a bottle of rum alongside a fruit punch and a can of coke makes an instant cocktail party upon arrival. Sweet or salty snacks are always a hit too.
5. Think beyond the personalized favors like shot glasses or wine glasses. Just like welcome bags, go the edible route — guests will appreciate it more and it will cost less.
6. Opt for less ceremony decorations if you're getting married in an already-beautiful venue like a private villa or a grand church. You only need to buy the wedding party's flowers, a few other arrangements, and candles.
7. Don't DIY things that it would be cheaper to buy. Whether you're getting married at home or away, you have to factor in how much more you're spending to hand-make things than if you bought them already made. Set the emotional factor aside and realize that, especially if you're getting married at some destination, you don't need to waste money shipping and spend hours glue-gunning for something you could have bought for $20. Pinterest doesn't tell you how far those weddings you're admiring put the brides and grooms over their budgets.