stick·er shock n. NORTH AMERICAN informal - astonishment and dismay experienced on being informed of a product's unexpectedly high price.
All the glorious, glorious wonders of Pinterest, countless blogs, and Instagram have single handedly raised the bar for weddings and social events everywhere. And thank goodness!! Long gone are the days in which an event planner would have to spend countless hours trying to convince a bride to rent floor length linens, or use any color other than white in her decor scheme; simply because it was all included in some hotel “wedding package”.
Shiny sparkling sequin linens, colorful glass beaded chargers, chic chavari chairs, and food. Oh the delicious indulgences. Hors d'oeuvres passed on trays served in mini tasting spoons to handcrafted signature cocktails, amazing entrees to desserts. Now go ahead and factor in setting the mood with lighting, fabulous flowers, and finally all those family and friends who you’ve invited to witness the joyous occasion. You'll soon discover, it all adds up quickly, very, very quickly. What couples don’t realize is that all of those elaborate elements you want to add in your wedding shopping cart cost money and lots of it.
Here are 6 tips to consider when trying to keep your costs down:
1. Table Decor-Use patterned linens if table décor is lacking
Table décor can be expensive. If you can’t afford to fill a table with votive candles, flowers, china, glasses, etc., opt for patterned linens instead of basic colored ones. Patterns break up the space and draw the focus to the design, giving the illusion of a fuller table.
2. Wedding Venue-Host your reception at a restaurant
Yes, hosting the reception at a beautiful hotel or unique space is the ultimate dream. However, if you have a modest budget or a smaller guest list, considering a restaurant is a fantastic option. Restaurants are built to be beautiful and employ top notch chefs who can create amazing cuisine. As a bonus, the cost per person is much more cost effective than a hotel or using outside catering any day.
3. Opt for a hosted bar instead of an open bar
While an "open bar" sounds appealing (and expensive), you often end up overspending on your wedding guest’s beverages. Open bars work by charging a flat fee regardless of how many bottles of beers, glasses of wine, signature cocktails or non-alcoholic each guest consumes. And usually this amount has a high average (around $50-$100 pp). If you ask to do a "hosted bar", you are paying for beverages based on actual consumption only. That means you are charge for each drink your guests order and not a flat fee. I'm sure I know what you're thinking, that your guests will leave you with a hefty bar tab but the secret is you can ask your bartender to keep an eye on the tab and let you know when you've reached your spending limit. That way you can save the cost of the paying extra drinks and unconsumed alcohol!
4. Avoid the “Why rent if you can buy” Hint: It’s the oldest sales tactic out there for brides.
I’ve seen it in big neon letters flashing on a million websites and in craft stores. It might seem logical at first but then you have to consider how many of pieces of any one thing do I really need (unless you’re a professional caterer)? Yes, you can buy 20 light up feather centerpieces, 100 cotton napkins or 65 glass cylinders for floating candles for your wedding but what will I do with them afterwards? Of course you can sell them but have you considered going through the hassle of looking for a buyer? Chances are they will not pay you full price despite the fact they’ve only been used once. Do yourself a favor and rent your decor unless you plan on using it in your home later.
5. Some wedding myths are just that, myths.
When you hear a tip that sounds so good you wonder why no one else has done it, keep wondering. I'd ask you to trust me on this but hey, I'd rather you decide for yourself. On most occasions wedding articles are more about grabbing your attention then based facts. Such as, telling you that making a dummy/display wedding cake will save you money. When in fact, it actually will cost you twice the price since it's twice the work for your baker! The majority of the cost (average $3-$6 per slice) has to do with decorating the outside of the wedding cake with fondant, frosting, sugar flowers or small edible pearls not mixing the ingredients on the inside. Do your homework and talk a professionals before you start spending and signing on the dotted line.
6. Reduce your guest list
This is single handedly the most cost effective way to save your budget. For every person you invite, you are going to need to add on another chair, plate of food, beverage, glass, silverware, napkin, favor, invitation etc.. it goes on. Keeping your list to an intimate number will no doubt do your bank account a favor.
Whether you have a modest wedding budget or a luxury one, everyone goes through serious sticker shock when the proposals start rolling in and the budget calculator starts adding up. Don not be surprised if the “dream” wedding you envisioned costs much more than you expected. Adding all your wants and “needs” together with a hefty guest list will cost you a pretty penny, regardless of your resources. But in the end, it’ll all be worth it right?