Real Bride Tells All: How I Saved $1,000+ On My Wedding
BY CATEY HILL
Bride-to-be Kelli Grant had a distinct advantage over many brides when planning her wedding: she was already a known budget-guru, having written about saving money for SmartMoney, The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch. But lucky for those of you who are a little less financially inclined, I’ve picked Kelli’s brain to uncover her top money-saving tricks and tips for brides.
Here are four:
Make a budget – and be strict about it.
From the get-go, Kelli knew what she wanted to spend on everything from the venue to the flowers to the dress – and she stuck to her guns. “If it was out of my budget, I realized there was no point in even looking at it,” she says. “I didn’t want to fall in love with a venue or flowers or something that I couldn’t have.” (To make a budget, check out David’s Bridal’s My Event wedding planner app.)
Shop around for the venue – and then negotiate some more.
When Kelli was looking for venues, she called around to dozens of places. Kelli, who is getting married just outside of New York City, found that many venues wanted to charge $90 per person or more for a brunch wedding, but she finally found a venue that, thanks to a special deal, was offering dinner packages regularly priced at $100 for $70 instead. “Really shop around on the venue because the prices are all over the place,” she says. Once she found an affordable venue, she negotiated with them to further lower the price, getting the kids’ meals down by $10 per child.
Have the ceremony and reception in the same place.
Kelli says she saved a ton of money by having the wedding ceremony and the reception in the same place. “You can eliminate a lot of costs this way,” she says. “You can use the flowers and decorations from the ceremony as centerpieces and decorations at the reception, and you don’t have to pay for transportation from the ceremony to the venue.”
You don’t have to spend thousands to get a great dress.
Kelli, who “didn’t want to spend more than $1,000 on a dress,” found her dream dress at David’s Bridal. And she got it on sale, saving herself $200 off the retail price. But she watched as a good friend of hers went to a boutique where “prices started at $1,500.” The lesson: You don’t have to break the bank to look beautiful on your wedding day.