Sun | Sep 23, 2018

Dream wedding on a BUDGET

Published:Monday | December 1, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Cathy Risden, Lifestyle Writer

Gone are the days when the parents of the bride pay for the wedding. Today, couples are financing their own weddings. While creating a wedding budget may be easy, sticking to it is serious business. It can make a dream wedding come true or ruin the entire wedding experience, as well as possibly damage the relationship between you and your future husband/wife and extended family.

Helen Hutchinson Graham, CEO of Helen G. Event Planning & Design, shared with Flair some budgeting tips that you might find useful to assist in managing your wedding budget and still enjoy your big day.

1. Instead of having a full bar for the cocktail hour, have a signature drink or a limited bar.

2. Buy your own liquor wholesale. You will have to pay a corkage to some venues for serving it, but it still saves you.

3. Have a morning wedding, thus, a wedding breakfast or brunch. Breakfasts and brunches are usually more affordable than evening receptions. They are shorter and guests tend to consume less food and liquor early in the day.

4. Avoid pricey main courses. Use expensive ingredients, such as lobster in hors d'oeuvres where the serving size is less, rather than in a main course.

5. Make the wedding or display cake your dessert. Planners suggest this a lot and, therefore, schedule the cutting of the cake early in the event so that the cake can be removed and prepared for slicing and served as dessert.

6. Avoid a full sit-down dinner. Some brides are now opting to just have a cocktail reception or simply a cake reception where only cake and drinks are served.

7. Choose a simple wedding cake design. Order a moderately priced, plainly decorated cake, and make the focal point the cake topper. Floral toppers or flowers used on the cake in gorgeous blooms and colours, vintage bride-and-groom figurines, wedding bells, monograms or a pair of doves (from an antiques shop or handmade) are toppers that can make a cake memorable.

8. Champagne for toasts only. Instead of serving champagne all night, using it only for toasts is a good way of cutting your budget.

9. Reuse your wedding flowers. For example, bridesmaids' bouquets can be reused in centrepieces. Also, if there's an adequate number of ceremony flowers and they're an appropriate size, they can serve as centerpieces at the reception; otherwise, they can decorate behind the head table, guestbook, seating card, and favour tables.

10. Make your centrepieces minimalist. Instead of decorating tables with large arrangements, float a few flowers in shallow bowls or glass cylinders filled halfway with water. You can also use candles or attractive glass containers with fruits.

11. Use cheaper blooms. Don't overlook floral standbys such as daisies and carnations. They're available year-round, and are quite affordable, and when arranged en masse make delightful centerpieces and bouquets.

12. Make your own wedding favours. There are tons of do it yourself ideas now on the Internet.

13. Downsize your bridal party. Try to keep the number of attendants as small as possible: The larger the bridal party, the more you'll spend for gifts, hair, make-up and flowers.

14. Edit your guestlist. To minimise the guestlist, refrain from inviting children and co-workers. Include your friends' significant others, but not casual dates. A rule of thumb to use is if you haven't spoken to the person in two years, then they aren't important enough to be on the list.

15. Never be afraid to ask for a discount. Before signing a contract with your caterer, photographer or florist, try to negotiate a lower yet still reasonable price.

Here are some additional guidelines to cut costs

1. Create a budget and stick to it.

2. Cut the guestlist.

3. Choose a wedding date during off-peak seasons (December and June).

4. Use fresh flowers sparingly.

5. DIY projects can save big money.

6. Find a venue that will let you bring in your own food and bar.

7. Do what feels right for you and not just what people expect.

8. Choose a naturally beautiful location.

9. Consider getting food from a local restaurant instead of from a caterer.

10. Prioritise. Make a list of what's important to you about your day.

11. Recruit talented family members and friends to help.

Helen Hutchinson Graham, CEO & Events Planner, Helen G Event Planning & Design, Helen G Decor. Telephone: (876) 541-7772/(876) 488-0093 Facebook: Visit her blog at: