Five Ways to Save Money
- Pare your guest list. It’s the best way to trim costs across the board. If you’re having a $100-a-head reception and you invite 25 fewer guests, you’ll instantly save $2,500. For help deciding who should stay and who should go, follow Marino’s rule of thumb: “Invite only the people you think you will know and be friends with in five years.”
- Take the show on the road. You’re from a big urban metropolis; your fiance is from a small city or town. As long as it doesn’t unduly inconvenience any one side of the family, consider having the wedding in the smaller city. Weddings in Portland, Oregon, for example, average about $25,000 — about half the price of a San Francisco shindig.
- Hire a planner. Here’s a case where it might pay to spend a tad more money. A well-connected insider can often get discounts by negotiating with vendors. At the very least, the cash you save may well pay for her fee. Just be up-front about how much you can afford before enlisting a planner.
- Trim a bit here, a bit there. A little scrimping across the board can add up to big savings overall. Besides, your guests likely won’t notice — or care — if you skip the printed programs, shorten the cocktail hour by 15 minutes, or forgo elaborate altar decorations.
- Seek out unexpected sources. If you are very close to family members outside your immediate family, you may be able to ask for their help. Your grandmother, for instance, might be willing to pay for your wedding cake or your gown in lieu of a wedding gift. “Don’t put anyone on the spot,” says Marino, “but do get creative.”