19 September 2011

How To Save Big On A Wedding or Event Budget

Happy Monday. Hope you had a great weekend. The weather here could not have been more fantastic yesterday and we took a lovely little bike ride through our neighborhood. Love my bike!

Now that I've been wedding browsing for a few weeks I've learned and relearned some great event planning lessons. Let me just say now that if you are someone who plans weddings or events on an unlimited budget you will not need to read any farther. This will be of no matter to you. But if you are someone who likes to live a gorgeous life and needs to live within a budget, this baby is for you.

Lesson Number 1: Always check competing vendors and non-wedding industry vendors for comparable prices. Found an awesome sight for sandals but realized that all the prices were up to $50 higher than what the same shoe went for at other outlets.

Lesson Number 2: This is the basis for the blog post - When buying anything in multiples, the difference between a couple dollars more or less really affects your overall budget. Here's my example. I fell head over heals in love with the green and white floral paper lanterns from Luna Bazaar. Seems like a reasonable price to pay $11.50 each for say 24 of them. Total price = $236.00 Not terrible. When you look at a wedding budget, it's a pretty tiny expense compared to things like catering, photography and dresses.

But start considering how lots of little $10 items, when purchased in multiples, will affect your budget and it can make a big difference. Looking at other lanterns I realized I could buy the plain square green ones for $7.75 each x 24 units for $186.00. I could easily stencil these with the awesome leaf stencil I bought last week or with the fantastic stencils Martha Stewart recently released. That would save some money.

But if I really want to cut the budget back I could get the no frills round green lanterns for just $1.10 per lantern. At 24 lanterns that is only $26.40. That is more than $200 less than the favorite lantern. I could still fancy up these lanterns, but probably wouldn't go to the trouble to stencil them due to the varying curves.

I started to realize that it's okay to spend more if you feel really passionate about an item once or twice maybe, but you need to consider how these decisions will hammer your overall budget if you go that route multiple times. It only takes a few dollars here and there per item to really see the budget skyrocket. Think of how many other things I could buy with a $100 or $200 savings on just one area of the budget -- or just keep that money in my pocket - even better!

Lesson Number 3: Another thing I've learned is that there is a healthy market for stylish used wedding decorations. No matter which lanterns I were to buy, I could easily resell them which will bring even more savings on the back end of the wedding. That goes for cake stands, candle holders, linens, dresses and just about any item that can easily be reused for a wedding.

If your goal is to have a wonderful event for your family and friends and spend time with them on your wedding day, that goal will much more likely be realized if you are not stressed out about how much you've spent and how you're going to pay it all off.

While the look AND feel of your wedding are important, be sure to look at more options than just your favorite, most expensive ones. Your guests have not seen all the options you have shopped out and they are going to love your wedding because it's beautiful to them and because it's your wedding and represents you. Saving small amounts with budget-savvy decisions, in lots of places will allow you a beautiful wedding with big savings.

I have a budget in mind and if I really want to pull off a fantastic wedding on an amazing budget, I have to be thinking about every area where I can cut a dollar or two or ten, especially when buying multiples. So we'll have to just see where it goes with these paper lantern options. I'm not saying scrimp yourself out of the wedding you want or have a junky wedding just to save a few bucks. But it seems wise to be really clear on what you're spending on small items and how they impact the big budget in the long run. You may find ways to save more than expected.

This post is linked to Good Life Wednesday at Beach Cottage blog. This week Sarah has posted photos of the most beautiful flowers from her garden. A lovely peaceful online walk.

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