Real Simple Weddings Deputy Editor Rachel Hardage attacked readers questions in her article “Cheap and Chic Weddings” on how to not break the bank when planning your wedding.
Here are my favorite tips!
Springfield, Va.: My fiance and I are planning and paying for our wedding. We plan to move to a new city this summer, and hold the wedding in that city a few months after our move. We’ve been told (by many older family members) that since most of my family will be traveling from out of town to attend, that we need to have a guest bag for those out-of-towners. Is this a requirement? Our budget is only around $4,000, so I’ve already begun the DIY process. I was hoping to skip the out-of-town guest bag idea to allow me to spend more money on our reception. However, what does the etiquette book on weddings say about that? Thanks for your help!
Rachel Hardage: Hi, Springfield! While guest bags are always nice touch, they are certainly not a requirement in my opinion. (Some of you may disagree with me, so feel free to chime in!) If you do want to offer something for out-of-towners, you could simply offer an assortment of brochures highlighting fun things to do in the city, as well as water and a piece of fruit. A friend of mine who got married in Chicago put together an affordable welcome bag filled with water, an apple, gum, etc. But she tied the whole welcome package together with a little card featuring trivia about the couple (each item represented a bit of trivia). For example, they met in NYC so the apple represented the Big Apple. The Wrigley’s gum was a nod to Wrigley Field, in their new hometown of Chicago. The water represented the huge body of water (the ocean!) that separated the couple for the 26 years before they met. So you can certainly have fun with this idea with really affordable items. Another option: If everyone is staying at the same hotel, you can rent an extra hotel room for the weekend and stock it with some water and snacks and encourage guests to stop by if they want refreshments. In the long run, this might prove to be cheaper than offering individual welcome bags. Plus, your wedding guests will have the chance to interact before the wedding.
Charlottesville, Va.: I would love to know how to save money on a photographer without sacrificing quality. Good photographers are so expensive!
Rachel Hardage: Don’t overlook craigstlist.org (THAT’S WHERE I FOUND MINE!!) for listings of photographers and videographers in your area. Budding photographers looking to build a portfolio may snap candids for a low price. You can save money by hiring an experienced photographer for the posed shots, then let an up-and-comer shoot the remainder. If he does a good job, you’ll have great photos for posterity. If he turns out to be lousy, you’ll still have the most important pictures taken care of.
My flower tip…: I was able to save a bunch of money for my wedding by alternating flower and candle centerpieces on my tables. My florist decorated candles with our monogram and ribbons. We used pillars of varying heights along with little glass jewels (to catch the light), so it looked a little more done up than the typical votives on the table. Since half of the tables did have flowers, overall the room had a nice look to it (and plenty of candlelight). Won’t work in all scenarios but it stretched our budget and looked beautiful.
Rachel Hardage: Great tip. Thanks!
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