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From working in the wedding industry for years now, I have learned a plethora of tips and tricks that brides NEED TO KNOW. I have worked as a Bridal Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist, as well as a Wedding Planner. I have seen everything from nervous brides, to falling cakes (PRO TIP: if you order a fudge cake, leave it in the fridge until AFTER cocktail hour), so I have compiled a list in an attempt to help women find peace in the chaos of wedding planning.
1. Why are weddings so expensive?
Venues tack on charges the second that "wedding" comes out of a customers mouth. For example, a "gathering" of say 150 people may be charged $6,000 for a certain venue, when a "wedding" of the same number of people is charged $7,000. The average cost of weddings are around 38,000! This is because of a lack of familiarity with the industry on behalf of the wedding party. Just something to be aware of, so do your research!
2. You don't need the expensive teeth whitening.
As an avid hot tea drinker who needs pearly whites for work, I can testify the beauty of Crest Whitening strips. They are not as rough on the enamel of your teeth, they achieve the same effect of professional whitening, AND THEY ARE 10x CHEAPER! Save that money for the hair and makeup.
3. Ask the caterer to pack a meal for you later.
You are going to be so busy greeting and hugging guests and family that you may not have enough time to enjoy the food. Most caterers, if they have been in the business for awhile, will do this without you needing to ask. However, this will allow for greater peace of mind, and it never hurts to ask!
4. Make a Set Budget
It is easy to get carried away and swept up with the frills and pearls. However, it is SIGNIFICANTLY easier choosing vendors and venues when you have a budget to stick to, and this prevents racking up at $400,000 bill.
A good and simple breakdown would be...
- 20% = Ceremony (location, wedding planner, marriage license, etc)
- 30% = Reception (venue, cake, catering, favors, etc)
- 20% = Photography/Videography
- 10% = Decor
- 10% = Attire
- 5% = Contingencies, bridal party gifts, etc
5. DIY Is Your Friend
Don't get me wrong, I am an Etsy fanatic. However, the prices on Etsy skyrocket when it comes to bridal decor and favors, and truth be told, most of the stuff can be made at home. It may be more time consuming, but your wallet will thank you for looking up a DIY video on YouTube.
6. Wedding Desserts, Not Wedding Cake
That five-tier cake will cost a fortune, and though it may look pretty, you will have so much left over that will most likely end up in the trash. A spread of desserts (I have seen homemade cakes, pies, and cupcakes be a HUGE success) will give guests more options to choose from, while saving you a large chunk of cash.
"But what about the cake cutting?"
This is a signature moment, and a dessert spread will not take away from this. Have a small cake for this moment, and ask a bridesmaid to put it at the back, or in the kitchen for later.
7. Ditch the save the dates.
The amount of money spent on beautiful laser-cut stationary is astronomical, especially considering that you will have to follow up with half of your guests who probably won't RSVP anyway. Send them online via social media! Or phone them! The effort to make contact with family members will be appreciated, and once again, saves you plenty of money.
8. Save on your dress.
I met a young bride who had the most beautiful dress I had ever seen and you know what she said? It was a PROM DRESS. Yes there are white prom dresses, that even have the traditional buttons on the back (crazy right). Consider this when buying your dress!
9. Pay for the trial run for hair and makeup.
It may seem like unnecessary costs, but it will alleviate tremendous stress, because you will have an idea of what you will look like. It also helps the artist save time the day of, because they already know exactly what you want! This provides a great opportunity to try out different looks, and see what they will look like ON YOU, rather than some model on Pinterest.
The wedding is only the beginning of your love story. There is no need to be nervous girl, you got this! I have never seen a bride trip on the way to the alter, and it won't happen to you either. Take a deep breathe and smile!