Money myths in the wedding world can make being left out of pocket seem an inevitable fate, but by setting off on the path to your dream day with some insider information on hand, you can plan an extraordinary celebration without creating a credit crisis.
The truth behind: The Budget
It is possible to plan a celebration you’ll remember without subscribing to regular reminders from your credit card company. According to Auckland wedding planner Lisa Hill of Beautiful Events, it’s essential for you and your fiancé to decide early on how much you have to spend. ‘Set the budget before you get caught up in the hype – you’re much less likely to overspend if you know how much you have from the get-go.’
A good way to start is to each list your priorities. You may discover that while you want to splurge on photography, your husband to be has his heart set on a live band. Identify which elements you’re both happy to skimp on, and make way for your must-haves. Avoiding debt is your one necessity. Do this by keeping a close eye on your funds every step of the way. Whenever you spend on your big day, record it in a safe place – and file quotes, receipts and correspondence with your suppliers.
The truth behind: The Venue
Choosing a venue is your first major decision on the path to ‘I do’, because where you marry dictates everything from your theme to your colour palette. But while weddings traditionally involve separate ceremony and reception venues, those on a budget will do well to look for locations that can cater for both parts of the celebration – you’ll pay only one venue fee, save on travel costs and avoid the expense of decorating two spaces.
Tying the knot at popular times of the year is likely to cost more. Venues can easily fill these time slots, so they tend to charge higher prices; according to Statistics New Zealand, 42 per cent of marriages were celebrated in the first three months of 2010, compared with 12 per cent during the colder months of June, July, and August. But even if you’re set on marrying in summer, doing so on a weekday instead of during the weekend may give you room to negotiate with vendors – just give your guests plenty of warning so they can organise to take time off work.
The truth behind: The Stationary
While invitations and thank you cards are an etiquette necessity, not every celebration calls for a full set of stationery. If you plan ahead and send your invitations at least three months before the day, you may not need save-the-date cards – unless you’re having a destination wedding for which guests will need ample time to make arrangements. Similarly, an itinerary is only necessary for weddings that last longer than a day, and a well-signposted venue doesn’t call for a map. Save on both stationery and stamps by allowing guests to RSVP via email – set up a wedding website or a special email address to help you keep track of your guest list.
When creating your stationery, remember time is money: once you’ve sourced the materials, organised the printing and had your invitations signed, sealed and delivered, you may discover doing it yourself isn’t worth the hassle. If you do decide to call in the professionals, some forethought will go a long way. Shop around and compare quotes, and give your designer accurate information from very beginning. As Lucy Thornton of Cocoa Berry Design says, ‘If you have to make changes later, you may incur additional costs.’ Also, consider saving by going for a pre-designed option, rather than custom-made stationery.