Congratulations! You're finally engaged! Elated is an understatement. As you begin your wedding planning cold, hard reality sets in and you realize that it all costs. Even if you've been saving forever for this special day or have parents willing to foot the bill it's important to budget everything and not get overwhelmed. Deep breath, I'm here to help with a few money saving tips!
Right off my then fiance and I knew we weren't willing to go into debt over a wedding. We agreed on that immediately so it wasn't even an issue for us. We wanted our own home more than we wanted bells and whistles on our big day. My dad was able to give us some money but it definitely wouldn't cover the wedding of my dreams. Here are a few things that I learned along the way of my own wedding planning that you can keep in mind as you plan your own:
What do you need? First you need to decide what you're not willing to cut cost on. Whatever is the most important to you should take precedence. Make a list of everything you want for/at your wedding. Now, prioritize it. Make three columns - Must Have/Might Have/Don't Need. As you go through the planning you'll be able to see where it's easiest to save money or cut out something completely. Tip: Even quality doesn't have to be expensive, just do your research. As they say, "You get what you pay for."
Book ASAP. Choose the date and get on the phone. Particularly if you have a popular day picked, such as holidays, any day during wedding season or a date like 12/13/14, which was very popular last year. As soon as you know this date you need to call venues, churches, photographers... basically locations and people that you need to be at your wedding need the most advance notice. If your favorite place/person is booked ask if there is a waiting list. Tip: Sometimes booking early or paying in full can net you discounts. Ask.
Go to Bridal Shows. They're fun. Usually the vendors all have raffles and you can meet the owners. I won two raffles at these which saved me money and allowed for an item on the "might have" list to go over to the "must haves" side. Tip: local ones are best versus going to a show in your closest major city. Less people are entering those raffles and the vendors are usually more invested in making your big day special. Big shows are good too, but if you have to choose stay local. Boutique bridal shops tend to have the best knowledge on the who/where/when of bridal shows.
The most important thing to remember is that this is your day. Yours and your significant other. No one else matters. Do not let anyone tell you who to invite, what to wear, what to buy or who to be. You can't please every one and you won't. You know your limits, budgets and desires. Just do you.
What are your best money saving tips when planning a wedding? For more wedding planning help visit yoursunnyday.com.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust Bank. The opinions and text are all mine.