Friday, March 09, 2007

6 Easy Ways to Save on Your Wedding Reception Venue

The reception site is indisputably the most important piece of the wedding planning puzzle. Like no other aspect, the venue sets the tone for the day.

You'll find that a large chunk of your wedding budget will go towards the venue, so you’ll need to choose wisely. Based on my personal experience, here are some easy ways to get the cost down - without sacrificing on style.

1) Banish the Rental Fee
A large portion of your wedding reception budget will go towards food and beverage costs – that’s unavoidable. But many facilities slap on an exhorbiant rental fee just to host your event at the location (that’s before you spend the first dime on catering). You can avoid this extra cost by shopping around and comparing rental fees. Many facilities – often just as scenic – charge little or no rental fee on top of your catering bill (you’ll have to use the on-site caterers, but the cost is usually competitive).

Believe it or not – many wedding reception venues will let you bring your own alcohol – which can lead to extensive savings on your bar tab! Liquor store prices are always less, and you can usually return any unopened bottles for a full refund after the wedding. When prospecting potential reception sites, ask whether stocking your own bar is a possibility.

3) Snub Saturdays and Summers
Saturday nights in June command big bucks. Instead, be a little flexible with your date and time, and enjoy big savings. Most reception venues offer a discounted rate for dates that are not as high in demand (vendors too!).

4) Loosen Up
A general rule of thumb – less formal venues tend to lend themselves to more affordable affairs – which is good news for you. A simple beach or garden wedding can be equally chic, and it lends itself to steel drums instead of a 10 piece orchestra, a casual buffet or barbeque instead of a 5 course meal, and simpler wedding attire - all of which can save some serious cash in your wedding budget.

5) Beat the Clock
Trimming an hour off of your reception time will reduce any facility rental fee, along with many other costs associated with your reception – such as transportation and entertainment. Trust us, your guests will be none the wiser and may actually be grateful for the extra time to unwind.

6) Get it in Writing
Hidden fees can accumulate if you are not careful. Avoid any confusion by requesting an itemized list of fees for your specific event. Make sure every item you have discussed or requested is accounted for before signing on the dotted line. For an itemized list of typical facility fees and costs that you can take with you when reviewing potential reception sites, you can visit this Reception Site Checklist at - Elegant Galas Made Simple

-contributed by Joni Lacroix -

Monday, March 05, 2007

Wedding Ceremony Savings for Brides on a Budget

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the wedding ceremony is the reason behind the big party. In reality, the ceremony is one of the few true essentials on the wedding planning checklist, so you’ll need to allot space for it in your wedding budget. Thankfully, vows that wow need not be a budget buster. Heed this advice to walk down the aisle in style.

Site Savings

Two in One
Many reception venues also host on-site ceremonies. The ceremony fee may be built into the cost of the reception or tack on a minimal expense (*planning tip-the ceremony fee is easy to negotiate since you’re forking over so much the reception). Hosting both events in the same location will also save on transportation expenses.

Honor Your Faith
If you have a strong religious affiliation, your house of worship will likely host your wedding ceremony. This is good news for your budget, since members of the organization can usually rent the space free-of-cost (although a donation is a nice gesture).

Décor Deductions

Something Borrowed
Plan your wedding near a major religious holiday when your place of worship is decked with festive décor. “Borrowing” your ceremony décor means one less detail to plan – and one less item to purchase.

Simplfy Your Site
Overdone decorations are unnecessary for a brief ceremony. Keep décor elements simple (and cost-effective), and save the pricey arrangements for the reception – as this is where your guests will spend the majority of time. For example, strategically placed candles set a romantic ambiance and cost considerably less than flowers.

Go Natural
Cut décor costs further by exchanging vows in a naturally beautiful location. A garden wedding hardly needs additional floral arrangements, while an ornate church may be breathtaking on its own (*planning tip - for public outdoor settings, be sure to check the rules and regulations.)

-contributed by Joni Lacroix -
Get even more tips to cut wedding ceremony costs in the wedding ceremony guide at - Elegant Galas Made Simple