By Sharon Naylor, Wedding Planner, Author
Planning a wedding in these tough economic times is a big challenge. But don’t panic! There are plenty of smart strategies that you can use to plan your dream wedding for half the price, including scoring some free elements worth hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dollars for your Big Day. Here are the Top 5 smart steps to take to save big:
Ask for Add-Ons. Wedding experts need to stay competitive in this economy; too, so many are happy to add on some extra elements to your chosen wedding packages for free. All you have to do is ask – politely, of course – and you might get an extra station at your cocktail party, a free bridal bouquet, an extra dessert station, champagne service at the reception, an extra hour tacked on to your photography, videography or limousine packages. Wedding vendors want to make you happy so you’ll tell all of your friends how great they are, and they then might gain new bookings through your referral.
Negotiate Out Extra Charges. Take the time to read your vendors’ contracts carefully, and see if you discover some extras charges that you can ask to be eliminated. Some of these include cake-cutting fees (sometimes $2 per slice!), corkage fees (a few dollars for each bottle of wine the bartender uncorks), charges to have a red carpet rolled out from the limo door to the sidewalk (you can do without that!), and some jaw-dropping ones: charges for having the air conditioner turned on at the ceremony site, and charges for ice used at the reception. Ask to cut those hidden fees out and save hundreds
Borrow! Today’s biggest trend is a form of ‘recycling,’ in which brides ask their recently-married friends, sisters, and cousins if they can borrow their veils, tiaras, bridal purses, wraps and shawls, gloves, ring pillows, aisle runners, and other items for a savings of over $700.
Visit consignment shops, where previous brides ‘recycle’ their wedding gowns and recoup some of their money. You’ll also find tiaras, veils, wraps, and accessories for less than 30% of retail prices. Visit www.resaleshopping.com and www.thethriftshopper.com to find consignment shops near you, or save big at outlet stores: www.outletbound.com.
Enter contests! Brides are so lucky to be eligible for so many terrific contests during their engagement phase. At www.diamondlightperformance.com, for instance, you’ll find out how to enter for a $10,000 value prize package including:
1 Carat Diamond Ring, certified by GemEx for superior Brilliance, Fire and Sparkle
Round trip airfare to New York City for two, anywhere within the continental US
Two night stay at Loews Regency Hotel on Park Avenue
Lunch and Dinner at The Palm, Classic American Steakhouse
Meeting with America’s foremost wedding planner, Sharon Naylor and a collection of her Wedding Planning Books
‘VIP’ appointment with a Bloomingdale’s Personal Wedding Registry consultant
Imagine winning such terrific wedding elements and being treated to a VIP celebration weekend! Looking ahead to life after the wedding, you could win an entire free designer bedroom, a new treadmill, and cash prizes, among other great items, at www.bhg.com, and www.hgtv.com, among others.
Since so many wedding practices and rituals are based on ‘good luck,’ try your bridal luck with a great wedding contest! You could win fabulous, free wedding and honeymoon prizes.