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How to Plan Your Wedding and Save a Lot of Money: Ultimate Guide For Budget Savvy Brides

How to Plan Your Wedding and Save a Lot of Money: Ultimate Guide For Budget Savvy Brides

Wedding Planning Perspective

Welcome to this article about how to plan your wedding and save money, too. I hope it helps you to dream big and have the wedding of your dreams and more.

You’ve waited a long time to get to this stage in your life. Your parents have stayed even longer! This is a long article because planning your wedding is a huge undertaking, regardless of the size of the wedding. Please invest the time to read and appreciate what’s here to help you. The minutes you save skipping could cost you a fortune. Imagine learning how to save thousands of dollars in a matter of minutes! Enjoy!

2020 brought weddings into a whole perspective. Forced to be smaller or delayed in the hopes of the original larger wedding, couples were faced with even more difficult choices.

Weddings can be complex and take a lot of effort to plan.

With about 30 vendors to hire, and interviewing a few of each to learn what’s available, means that to plan your wedding could take about 100 interviews. No wonder it’s stressful.

Don’t worry. Help is Here. I can help you here (as this article is already pretty long) with some great value from this article, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. For more help, just contact me.

Worried Bride

We all know that weddings can be expensive. So, just as in everyday life, we plan and save to get the things we want and value the most. If a beautiful wedding is what you want, and your vendor research provides an exact amount that it will cost for the wedding you want, and want to remember, then the die is cast. Let the planning begin! Prepare to spend what you must to get what you want.

About the Author

By way of introduction, my name is Ron Finlay. I am an electrical and acoustics engineer. On my creative side, I started teaching ballroom and latin dancing in 1976, DJing in 1981, became a certified wedding planner in 2009 and became a wedding officiant in 2020. Now I do all four things, and love, love, love weddings. So, I know a lot about weddings and have so much to offer people like you who want to have a genuinely fantastic wedding. I invite you to contact me directly.

Before going further, please accept the tough love, the hard facts and the raw advice that follows. I love weddings, and few things bother me more than to see a couple not have their dream wedding. I have done so many weddings; I can’t even count.

Each time, I repeatedly see the same “mistakes” that I know is costing a lot of money, and I see the same corners being cut to save money to make up for over expenditures in other areas. I say “mistakes” to mean “an expense that renders little to no value and even acts as a catalyst to bigger problems.” “Mistake” is just shorter!

In some cases, it’s a lack of knowledge or experience, and sometimes it’s a lesser vendor who got hired without the couple realizing the impact on their whole wedding. So, I’d like to help with real-world experiential advice, stories and tips, so you can have your dream wedding – and afford it, too. It’s like having your cake and eating it, too!

wedding cake

This wedding planning article has been created for Best For Bride because I knew the beautiful owners and wanted to contribute to their website to help even more couples plan their weddings.

Before Your Spend a Dime…

In my role as an engineer, I always get all the costs before spending a dime. There is no point in buying “stuff” for something I can’t afford to finish.

Wedding Translation: Don’t start spending money on a wedding you can’t afford to finish.

I suggest that you gather accurate prices for each vendor category you hire, not guess or pick a number at random. I’ve handled thousands of calls from engaged couples: “We’re planning a wedding and have $x to spend on our (vendor).” The problem is that this amount of money seldom has anything to do with the actual fees charged by the many vendors available. In short, it’s a guess.

Further in this article, I’ll share some of what happened to couples who cut corners to save money. I have a better way.

I offer zero-waste wedding planning strategy sessions to help you save thousands of dollars on your wedding and have a better wedding, too. You’ll learn that there are:

350 dates in a year you should not choose for your wedding;

25   things to consider when choosing your indoor venue;

44   if it’s outdoors (tent / barn);

34   things to consider when hiring your DJ.

       And much, much more.

I know this sounds daunting, but it’ll be OK. I’ll help you.

Do you know those wedding planning checklists in bridal magazines? Well, there’s a $15,000 mistake in the checklist! It’s been that way for over 40 years, and no one seems to have caught it. But, my engineering eyeballs did, at first glance, and so I wanted to make a difference… for you.

I can’t give a step-by-step process because the number of options along the way do that wrong by definition, and that’s the core problem with other checklists. So instead, we take a client, like you, one couple at a time and walk you through our proven process where your answers direct the path. It’s how we save you time and money. The rest is easy.

I have my experience-based lists of things to consider for every significant vendor category to help you navigate the wedding planning jungle. I’ve compiled all that I’ve learned about weddings and applied some engineering principles to create a simple template that could save you $5,000-$10,000 on your wedding, and you’ll have an even better wedding, too.

The reason for this range of savings is related to the size and calibre of wedding you are planning.

Did you know that hiring the same vendors in a different order can cost you thousands of dollars more for the “same” wedding?

My first piece of wedding planning advice is to get all the prices before you book anything – even the venue, which typically confirms the date for your wedding. Couples tend to rush to book a venue to get a date they want and then plan from there. The problem is that they have just committed half their budget and have a deadline to get everything else done, and if some things take longer, they risk disappointment.

Before you can expect realistic pricing from the many vendors, you need to know what the options are to compare apples to apples. There is no point in comparing the price of a wedding dress to that of a limo, and I wonder why the numbers are different. You need to level the playing field to reach what you get for what you’re spending truly.

In our wedding planning strategy session, I’ll tell you all the other things that can cost you thousands of dollars just because couples rush to book the venue so quickly.

Imagine booking your wedding venue six months in advance, only to learn later that your dress won’t be ready for eight months. Specific bridal gowns simply take longer for a whole bunch of reasons. The choices are to delay the wedding or select a dress you didn’t choose first, just to meet the timeline. Let’s optimistically call that dress your second choice. If you do this “second choice” thing with all your vendors, you’re risking a double-rate wedding, not the one you set out to plan and enjoy.

Testimonial – Wedding Gone Wrong, Almost

This testimonial from a past DJ client serves us twice in this article alone. First, let’s look at it from a budgetary perspective. They had a number in mind to spend on the DJ. Turns out, it was a guess. They met me at a bridal show but chose to hire a cheaper DJ to match their number. After the wedding, here’s what they wrote:

Luxurious Bridal Bonus Package - Wedding Dress

“Dear Ron

They say every cloud has a silver lining, and you were the silver lining to our cloud.

Having our DJ “bail out” on us just two months before the wedding was a horrendous experience. Your professionalism showed through in every aspect and you helped calm some very ruffled feathers.

As if that was not enough, to have the same thing happen again with the video, and this time with less than a month to go, was a disaster of “Titanic” proportions.

One more time, you “pulled a rabbit out of your very talented hat.” All of this proved one thing – “YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!”

D & B (names withheld to respect their privacy) Blackstock, Ontario

So while D & B found a DJ whose price matched their number, the DJ found another client willing to pay more, so the DJ simply dumped D & B. That’s wrong, but it happens more than you could imagine. From this painful experience, D & B called me in a panic and hired me to DJ their wedding. Suddenly, it wasn’t about money, instead of results. Even if they got their deposit back, do you think they deserved what happened to them?

The problem with lower-priced vendors is the ease and high likelihood that a higher-priced client will come along. It’s the age-old supply and demand curve. With the overflow of 2020 weddings into an equally turbulent 2021, couples are well-advised to ensure the integrity and financial stability of each vendor they hire. A whole new set of questions have recently emerged to provide successful results.

My company, Perpetual Rhythms, has a policy: we appreciate the clients who hire us, and once we’re almost fully booked with events, we stop looking, even reject other higher-paying enquiries to safeguard the clients who hired us first and we still have backup staff just in case of an unforeseen emergency. It’s cost us thousands of dollars in lost opportunities, and with COVID, we turned down dozens of weddings, as many as six on the same date, because we were booked to help clients who simply hired us sooner, and we were delighted with that. Greed can be a bad thing in business, especially weddings.

The second lesson from D & B’s testimonial is that they lost sight of the two services (me and the other DJ) that were not offering the same quality “package” or list of what’s included. While we do not have packages, I will use the term package in this article because our weddings are customized a-la-carte from several options. So it stands to reason that since the packages were different, the prices would be, too.

They got caught by sticking to their lower price decision, and it nearly cost them their wedding. If they didn’t follow up with the DJ to make sure things were on track, they would have never found out that the DJ had booked another client until their wedding day. Fortunately, there was enough time and being the off-peak season, we had an opening and could help them out. Note that the DJ didn’t call them. That’s wrong, too.

I was delighted to be then hired to DJ their company holiday party.

As you can see, it is mission-critical to understand what each vendor is offering, really compare the most delicate details and make an informed decision.

It takes a lot of time and effort to call, respond to calls/emails from vendors, and listen, learn, and evaluate what they offer. The value is that you will know exactly what it will cost and who will do the best job. If you don’t, what could you be missing out on? I use a spreadsheet for everything. You?

If you call a vendor and simply ask for a price, without understanding what you get, you put yourself at risk of a repeat of what happened to D & B, or worse… having a lacklustre vendor show up alright, ruin your wedding, and you can’t do a thing about it. Even worse (!), you limit yourself to what is typical, not what is possible. Let the vendors who are industry experts tell you what they can do. Especially now!

Wedding Budget Over Budget?

The next two paragraphs explain what happens when you get the budget wrong. Then I’ll tell you why.

A 2019 survey in The Knot determined that couples go over budget by 30-40%. For a small wedding with a $20,000 budget, that means they would have spent $26-28,000. For a $42,000 budget (Canadian Average), means the couple ended up spending $54,600 to $58,800. That’s $12,600-16,800 OVER budget. It cost what it cost, so the budget was very misleading; costs spiralled out of control.

Alan Berg, a prominent DJ industry speaker in the United States, said that “budgets are made up, without the benefit of real data.”

So if a budget is made up and then the real costs exceed that by 30-40%, it proves that guessing, or just picking a number without knowing what things cost, is a recipe for disaster.

I’ve seen couples get so stressed, fight and even break up and call off the wedding. This surpasses the concern for money because it can destroy the relationship. Perhaps there was an underlying personality trait whereby they should not have gotten married. It’s been said that “Love is Blind.” Some couples don’t “see” the problem, and planning a wedding can be so stressful, it brings out the worst, or at least tests the relationship. But, if you can survive planning a wedding, just like a home renovation, you can survive anything! Amazingly, at that point, it’s not even about the money or overspending anymore. So, how can planning your wedding be way more fun? My way!

I believe that if you plan your wedding with accurate world prices, not a budget guess, and you can afford the wedding you’re planning, you can afford ANY vendor you consider. So choose the best you can get. If you can’t afford the vendor, perhaps you can’t afford the wedding, and if your budget is off, you’re going to stress over everything, and that’s just not fun.

Plan Your Wedding and Save Money

I offer a 2-hour wedding planning strategy session to help at any stage, but the sooner, the better for sure. If you fall in love with a wedding you can’t afford, you’ll hate the one you end up with. I can help you:

  1. pick the perfect wedding date
  2. save you thousands of dollars on your whole wedding
  3. show you the exact order in which to hire your vendors
  4. decide what price to expect to pay for key services
  5. provide some key questions to ask your vendors, and more.

Let me help you.

2 Ways to Plan Your Wedding

Here are a few tips to make Planning Your Wedding easier.

Planning a wedding must be viewed from 2 vantage points. Only 2.

  1. the “you want what you want wedding”, and the money will come from your own savings, parents, family… which I call the unlimited budget wedding.
  2. the “fixed amount of money wedding.” By far, this is the most common situation.

Most interesting is that 1) is not necessarily better than 2). So it’s not only about how expensive the wedding is that makes it great.

From there, I further subdivide weddings into “want the best” and “want everything.”

If you chose the “want everything” wedding, all 30 vendors worth, you will have to compromise on all of them to fit the budget or risk going over budget – a lot – and still not have the wedding you wanted.

If you choose the “want the best” wedding, you spend what it takes to get the best vendors in the most important and most impactful categories only and not even bother with other vendors whose impact can be proven to be less significant. This is by far the best way to plan a wedding. I have a detailed process and rationale to help you decide where the spend the right amount for your perfect wedding.

To plan a “fixed budget want the best wedding,” you must accept that there are some vendors/services you just won’t be able to afford to have, opting instead to have the very best the market has to offer in other areas. The results can be spectacular, regardless of the size of your wedding. You can have the best dress, best food, best DJ, best photos, best party and best memories.

This is where our wedding planning strategy session can help you have a high-quality wedding:

  1. prioritize the vendor categories that mean the most to you with our vendor impact calculator
  2. determine the amount of money you need to put towards each of the services you are having with our wedding vendor price allocation formula.

This is what happens next:

  1. You can follow my advice and simply not have every service that you would have liked to have had if money was no object or
  2. as 85% of couples do, make 3 more mistakes, two of which are that you fall victim to thinking that, for example, a DJ is a DJ is a DJ, so they’re all the same, so just hire the cheapest one as well as trying to DIY certain elements to save even more money, both of which put your wedding a great risk.

John Ruskin (1819-1900) was an art critic. He has many profound quotes. I include 3 of my favourites here to show that nothing’s changed in 200 years.

“There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man’s lawful prey.” John Ruskin

Even couples who limit their vendor count may still go over budget. There are just so many options that without a proven system like I have, you risk that as well.

I hope you chose Option 1 and ask for my advice, as I would love to show you how I can help save you $5,000 – $10,000 with my wedding planning strategy session. It could be the best two hours you invest in planning your wedding.

The Biggest Problem with How to Plan Your Wedding

The biggest problem with planning your wedding is that there is no do-over. You only get one shot to get it perfect on the one day you’ve chosen. So if you hire a vendor or service at a lower quality level or attempt to do it yourself, for perhaps the first and only time, you need to consider the risk that comes with that.

Here’s another one of my favourite John Ruskin quotes:

Bridesmaid Dresses Special Offer

“It is unwise to pay too much for something, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought is incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better.” John Ruskin

Please note that only YOU are taking on the risk of bad results, not the vendor. A cheaper vendor already knows they are cheaper, and likely they also know what they don’t have or don’t include, which is why they are cheaper. You are taking a risk, hoping “it” won’t happen to you. If you’re lucky, “it” won’t. More likely, “it” will and as has been said many times, the small amount of money saved will be of little consolation if your wedding is spoiled in any way by this price-based decision.

Risk Vs Responsibility

Taking on risk is different than taking on the responsibility to provide a service. If the vendor offers “their” quality of service, at the price they charge for “that,” they’ve met their “responsibility obligation.” On the other hand, if it’s less than you wanted, you took a risk and lost. So, here’s some other people’s advice to consider:

Speaking of decisions and risk, online reviews come to mind. I have lots from weddings I DJ’d and had the written copies to back them up. Other vendors have lots and lots. So you have two choices (do you notice a theme here, with the number 2?):

  1. you can trust the on-line review and hire the company, excluding all others, or
  2. you can do your own research despite the reviews and know what to expect.

In the end, you’re hiring the vendor, not their clients’ reviews. So get to know the vendor, and you’ll get to know the results you can expect and deserve.

Don’t take advice from someone who is not responsible for the results.

A while back, I heard a great comment: Don’t take advice from someone responsible for the results. So why take the advice from an online review from someone you don’ know about an event you weren’t at to plan your wedding? Do the work, learn and reap the rewards of a fabulous wedding. So why take my advice? I hope the content in this long article has you thinking, and all I ask is that we talk about your wedding, so I can help you decide what’s best for your particular situation. My advice is based on experience gained from hundreds of weddings or many decades of commitment to helping people like you.

Another thing that’s interesting to me as an engineer is called “cause and effect.” Most times, when something goes wrong, it’s something much farther up the chain, called the root cause, that started a domino sequence resulting in a totally and seemingly unrelated failure or effect. Weddings are no exception. Pretty cool, eh?

As an example of how much can go wrong, I was hired to teach a couple to dance for their wedding. Then, they invited me to their marriage. They had already engaged the venue and went with the in-house DJ, or as they said, they would have hired me for that, too. The DJ’s lack of knowledge running a wedding was a critical failure despite claiming to have ten years of experience. His sound system was cheap, all set up wrong, and the music was distorted – at dinner. He then failed to make two announcements on the mic. How hard could that have been to pick up the mic and say something? It cost the bride $9,000 in the room. Nothing to do with the music directly, but it created a huge problem. The awful sound caused 150 of the 200 guests to leave at 9:30. His failure to announce the centrepiece giveaway meant they sat there, and no one knew they could take them home. Our DJs make this an enjoyable part of the dinner period. The second thing he didn’t announce was the late-night buffet outside in the lobby, behind the closed doors of the ballroom. Sadly, most of the guests had long since left, and even the few that tolerated the bad music never even knew about the food. $6,000 worth of centrepieces went unappreciated, and the $3,000 cost of food went uneaten. The bride had no issue spending the money (!), so long as she got value. It was the lack of value that infuriated her. The DJ did “what” he does for “that” price, so he thinks he met his responsibility obligation. The lack of DJ experience impacted many vendor expenses: the decor (centrepieces), food (late night buffet), the party (empty room), photography and video (nothing to capture). The guests did not have a good time, and neither did the bride and groom as they watched their wedding day walk out the door. They lost a lot more than they saved hiring a cheap DJ. Hence, the John Ruskin quotes. So profound. Here’s another:

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives, the cumulative experience of many masters of craftsmanship. Quality also marks the search for an ideal after necessity has been satisfied and mere usefulness achieved.” John Ruskin

The root cause of the problem was not asking enough questions about the DJ, sound equipment, tone and volume and over 30 other things many couples shouldn’t assume to be in good standing or take for granted. We have 40 on our list of features, advantages and benefits to you. Interested? This is where I recommend you invest the time to learn all about the vendors and understand what you’re getting and what’s missing.

On that note, a cheap DJ could be the most expensive mistake you can make.

Personally, by the time I hire a contractor to work on my house, I know more about their trade than they do, and I also know where they cut corners to save time (time is money) and hope I won’t notice. As a result, I do all my renovation work to a level they can’t hope to touch because I invest the time to do it perfectly, reap the rewards that come with pride of quality and save a ton of money not paying for a contractor more fixated on getting on to the next job sooner than doing my job right.

Wedding Vendor Price Enquiry

Here are two more examples of enquiries we receive daily. I’m sure it’s the same for most wedding vendors.

  1. Wants a range of prices
  2. Wants a quote (a price)

1) Wants a Range of Prices:

When a prospect calls and wants a range of prices, it doesn’t help them. Here’s why based on 50 people. Notice that before I even start, I’ve already added a specification – the number of guests. Some vendors need to know this, or they can’t even start talking price. Imagine asking the venue for a range of prices: $80-120 per person. Your actual total cost depends on the number of guests or $4,000-$6,000 in this case. Secondarily, that impacts the banquet room’s size, which is further affected by availability on any given date; if they aren’t available, price doesn’t matter. So, there are specific questions and orders in which to ask these questions. We have that help available.

Then, the photographer is asked and replies with $2,000-4,500. Then the DJ offers range from $750 to-1,500. With just these three vendors, we get a range of $6,750 to $11,500, or a difference of $4,750. That difference alone, with only three vendors, is the cost of another whole slightly smaller wedding!

So the rhetorical question already is, “are you planning between 1 and 3 weddings?” Sounds silly, but ranges from vendors are useless for a dozen reasons. Suppose, after calling 100 vendors in 30 categories, you end up with $20-50,000. How can you pull the trigger to start booking and paying for these services and know you won’t run out of money? Is it $20,000 or $50,000?

To make this worse, some vendors charge a gratuity, such as food and beverage vendors, and it’s 15-18%, and most vendors charge the sales tax (In Ontario, Canada, it’s 13% HST), so a $100 meal is now $129! That’s 29% over budget, with only one aspect of what this one vendor (venue) may be able to offer you.

Coincidentally, a wedding enquiry came in while I was writing this article. The bride is planning a wedding for September 2021. No indication of where, when, what hours, number of guests, ceremony or not, MC needed, lighting… and in the comment box, she wrote, “Bride will contact the DJ once she has a quote.”

How can anyone offer a quote when there is so little known as needed by this particular vendor category? I fear she’s going about this all wrong, and while she may get a vendor to offer a quote, it could be so far off; she could get caught with a vendor who only wants her money or a vendor who can’t deliver the actual results she wants. Neither is good. Be careful.

I’ve had brides refuse to tell me the date or location. If I’m already booked on their date, the price will not matter because they can’t hire me anyway. But, with no background, how would I know where I’m being expected to travel to understand how to price things? Would you agree that for many vendors to provide their services, they would need to know at least these two things and more? So why not just include them in our first conversation? I thought asking about the date and location were reasonable questions. What do you think?

Please realize that you need to offer specific details that you think each vendor might need to know to provide their service, and likely at least that much to quote it.

I’ve done it myself: Called a company to ask about… roofing. Learned stuff. Called another company and learned something else. Called the first company back, now able to ask better questions, so when I compare their offers, I’m comparing the same outcome. One company tried to sell me shingles with a 10-year warranty for $6,500 and one with a 50-year warranty for $18,000. The latter said, “you have to derate the shingles by ten years because the weather impacts one side of the roof more than the other, and you need some plywood replaced, double layer of ice shield, 22 more soffit vents, eight more roof vents and a 25-foot ridge vent…” Wow. Who Knew? OK. 50-10 = 40. 10 -10 = 0. Hmm. Three times the price, five times the warranty, four times the actual life expectancy and a host of problems solved would have ruined the rest of my internal renovations, costing ten times this much. I love my more expensive, best value roof!!!

My offer of help is to provide you with the questions first to research your vendors, and you’re get a better sense of what they offer. On that note, if they don’t mention something, they may not offer it!

Be prepared to talk to the vendors, listen to their “story,” judge how much they care, and learn what they need to know to provide their services. You also stand to gain tremendous insight into what they can do for you and then set aside the money to have that level of wonderful service and amazing results. The more vague you choose to be, the less accurate the pricing will be, and the moreover budget you will go trying to get what you later realize you want. What if the vendor just can’t do what you want?

In the DJ space, I can tell you that many DJs don’t offer light. Of those that do, few offer DMX control and fewer offer computerized DMX control, as Perpetual Rhythms does. So if you hire them as your DJ and then decide you want room decor lighting, or head table lighting, or dance floor lighting, and they don’t/can’t do it, and surely won’t spend many thousands of dollars to buy the lights and hundreds of hours to program them… for one wedding, what can you do? If they rent on the day of, where’s the time for programming? A whole other set of problems await, and you simply won’t get the results you now realize you want. If you cancel the DJ to hire a better one that has all the extras you want, you risk losing the deposit paid to the first DJ because you cancelled them. And so it goes… Sad.

Be careful with vendors who rent what you’re hiring them to provide. We’ve seen DIY backdrop decor rentals that fell down (making the bride 20 minutes late for her own wedding!), DJ rentals that are broken failed during the event or lacked skill or preparation rendered the rental unusable. Perpetual Rhythms owns everything we use, and it’s kept in meticulous condition. Rental failures are especially true in the DJ space because the equipment is mistreated. After all, “it’s not the renter’s gear” and can impact couples who try to DIY their music from a playlist. Would you rent two of everything to have backup on-site? Not likely, and yet, with only the minimal rental, you are risking everything. We bring everything in duplicate, triplicate and more, so we are sure to provide the most reliable service as we promised. I’ve seen DIY weddings with no dancing because there was no music; the equipment could not be made to work or failed. Saved a few dollars, though. Talk about cause and effect!

Plan Your Wedding Celebration

The more you talk to your vendors, to more you’ll learn and come to appreciate what they do, what it takes and what it will cost to have what you now realize you want. Ever gone to a restaurant, planning to have a particular entree, and, upon viewing the menu, noticed a new item that you love, just didn’t know they offered that?

A vendor’s website is their “menu.” If they don’t mention “x,” they don’t want to talk about it, and that’s a big red flag. This holds for all your vendors, each of which should be intent on continual improvement, enhancements to put themselves ahead of the competition. You benefit.

Finally, buying local is another great way to plan your wedding and support local businesses. It’s excellent to google vendors such as your dress from the far east, but what if there’s a problem, delay in shipping, or it needs alterations? What if you need extra fabric or lace? Local shops may be reluctant to touch a dress they didn’t make and may not get the same material. Best for Bride has hundreds of dresses, and will you’ll be thrilled.

When you hire local vendors, you can build a great and trusting relationship with them. Having them travel to your wedding, even hours away, brings their expertise that far away vendors you’ll never meet or experience and hope for the best may not. The more rural your wedding location, the most important this is.

We are located in Toronto, service a wide area. We are happy to travel all over Ontario to create the most emotional wedding experiences, and we’d love to have you discover what that means for you. I have dozens of ideas to help you have an epic wedding.

Call me, Ron, at 647 528 3548 (DJ4U) or email me with thanks.

I wish you all the fun and success as you plan your wedding.

Check Best for Bride blog for “How to Select DJ Entertainment for Your Wedding.” Coming Soon.

Huge Bridal Clearance Sale

Summary: How to Plan Your Wedding and Save a Lot of Money

  • Set a budget for your wedding and prioritize your spending based on what is most important to you and your partner.
  • Consider having an off-season or weekday wedding, as venues and vendors often offer discounted rates during these times.
  • Opt for a non-traditional wedding venue, such as a park, backyard, or community center, which can be more affordable than traditional wedding venues.
  • DIY certain aspects of your wedding, such as invitations, decorations, or favors, to save on costs.
  • Shop for discounted or second-hand wedding attire, including wedding dresses, suits, and accessories, which can still be beautiful and in excellent condition.
  • Limit the number of guests to reduce catering and venue costs, and consider alternative dining options like buffet or family-style meals instead of plated dinners.
  • Choose seasonal and locally sourced flowers for your floral arrangements, as they tend to be more cost-effective.
  • Consider hiring a talented amateur photographer or videographer who offers lower rates but still produces high-quality work.
  • Opt for a smaller wedding cake and supplement it with a dessert table or cupcakes to save on the cost of a large, elaborate cake.
  • Negotiate with vendors and ask for discounts or package deals when booking multiple services from the same vendor.
  • Skip traditional wedding favors and consider alternative options, such as personalized thank-you notes or charitable donations in lieu of favors.
  • Plan your own wedding timeline and coordinate with family and friends to help with tasks instead of hiring a wedding planner.
  • Be flexible with your wedding date and time, as certain days and times may come with lower costs for venues and vendors.
  • Use digital invitations or create your wedding website instead of printing and mailing paper invitations to save on stationery costs.
  • Choose a cash bar or limit the selection of alcoholic beverages to save on the cost of an open bar.
  • Take advantage of sales and discounts when purchasing wedding decor, accessories, and other wedding-related items.
  • Remember that the most important aspect of your wedding is the celebration of love and commitment, so focus on creating meaningful moments rather than excessive spending.

FAQ: Wedding Planning

What are some tips for planning a wedding on a budget?

Planning a wedding on a budget requires careful consideration and smart decision-making. Here are some tips to help you save money:

  1. Set a budget and stick to it. Determine your priorities and allocate funds accordingly.
  2. Choose an off-peak wedding date or day of the week, as venues and vendors often offer lower rates during these times.
  3. Consider non-traditional venues such as parks, community centers, or even private homes, which can be more cost-effective than traditional wedding venues.
  4. Opt for a buffet or family-style meal instead of a plated dinner, as it can be more affordable.
  5. DIY elements such as invitations, centerpieces, or wedding favors can save you money and add a personal touch.
  6. Shop around and compare prices for vendors, and negotiate to get the best deals.
  7. Consider renting or borrowing items like décor, linens, or even your wedding dress to save on costs.
  8. Limit the guest list to close family and friends, focusing on quality rather than quantity.

How can I save money on wedding decorations?

There are several ways to save money on wedding decorations:

  1. Use natural elements like flowers, greenery, or branches, which can be more affordable than elaborate floral arrangements.
  2. Opt for in-season and locally sourced flowers, as they tend to be less expensive.
  3. Consider repurposing ceremony decorations for the reception to maximize your budget.
  4. Rent or borrow decorations instead of purchasing them outright.
  5. Explore DIY options for decorations, such as creating your own centerpieces or signage.
  6. Focus on key areas that will have the most impact, such as the ceremony altar or the reception tables, and allocate your budget accordingly.

Are there ways to save money on wedding attire?

Yes, there are ways to save money on wedding attire:

  1. Consider purchasing a pre-owned wedding dress or exploring sample sales, where you can find beautiful dresses at discounted prices.
  2. Look for sales or discounts at bridal boutiques and department stores.
  3. Renting a wedding dress or opting for a simpler, less expensive design can also help save money.
  4. Shop for accessories like veils, jewelry, or shoes during sales or consider borrowing them from a friend or family member.
  5. For the groom and groomsmen, consider renting tuxedos or suits instead of buying them.
  6. Don’t forget to factor alterations into your budget and compare prices from different seamstresses or tailors.

How can I save money on wedding photography?

To save money on wedding photography, consider the following:

  1. Look for talented amateur photographers or students who offer their services at a lower cost.
  2. Hire a photographer for a shorter duration, focusing on capturing key moments like the ceremony and reception.
  3. Opt for a smaller photography package that includes digital images only, allowing you to print photos later at a more affordable price.
  4. Consider having a friend or family member with photography skills capture some candid moments alongside a professional photographer.
  5. Discuss your budget constraints with photographers and see if they can offer customized packages or discounts.

What are some cost-saving tips for wedding catering?

Here are some cost-saving tips for wedding catering:

  1. Choose a buffet or family-style meal instead of a plated dinner, as it can be more cost-effective.
  2. Consider having a brunch or lunch reception instead of a dinner, as daytime menus tend to be less expensive.
  3. Limit the number of menu options to streamline costs and reduce food waste.
  4. Opt for seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, as they are often more affordable.
  5. Ask your caterer about cost-saving options like serving stations or a cocktail-style

2 thoughts on “How to Plan Your Wedding and Save a Lot of Money: Ultimate Guide For Budget Savvy Brides

  1. Planning ahead definitely saves you a lot of money (and time, too). Surely, when it comes to transportation, planning and booking ahead of time is already a huge saving for the couple. Plus, you can be guaranteed to have the best bridal cars, limos, or party buses booked for you.

  2. Your remark that a competent DJ/MC will also provide a sound system for the entire venue is an excellent one. One of my friends is getting married shortly, and she and her fiance are in the midst of making preparations for the big day. I, David Adams, Master of Ceremonies, appreciate your kindness in providing us with this insightful article. As so, please continue to keep us informed.

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