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A Penny Saved

Planning a Wedding on a Budget.

It's sad but true: Your flowers are probably going to cost more than you ever dreamed possible. If you go with one of the pricier local designers, one centerpiece alone can easily set you back $150. Do the math: One for each table at your reception plus bouquets for the ceremony and additional blooms all around add up to a very expensive investment in decorations that may well wilt before the end of the evening. To make the expenditure more manageable, work with your florist to design arrangements for the ceremony that can be reused at the reception. Have friends grab them as they leave the first venue and put them on the tables when they arrive at the second. That way, you can spend half the money and your guests need never know the difference.

You may have decided to indulge in a high-end beauty makeover for the big day, but there's still no reason to spend an exorbitant amount of money. Regular, nonbridal salons tend to tack on unbelievable surcharges for wedding work, even though it often takes the same amount of time and energy as a standard job. Many women have their hair styled for swanky affairs; they don't always tell their stylists exactly where they're headed when they leave the salon, so why should you? If omitting that information feels uncomfortably misleading, be forthright about your intentions but push for a reduction in the surcharge-or ask what other pampering they'll throw in to account for the inflated price.

If the groom and his groomsmen have no desire to hold onto their tuxedos after the ceremony, they should be sure to report en masse when picking out their rentals, as many stores offer a significant discount to groups who do so. Dante Zeller, for example, offers one free rental for every five that are ordered. For larger groups, Baldwin Formals offers the eighth tuxedo at no extra cost. And while many of the higher-end boutiques don’t advertise discounts, they have been known to cut deals, so remember: It never hurts to ask.

Kids Clothes
Of course you want your flower girl and ring bearer to look like little angels. But there’s no need to break the bank on something they’ll grow out of in mere months—not to mention find itchy and uncomfortable for the duration of the day. For an early-fall wedding, summer suits and frocks are still entirely appropriate—and available at a fraction of their original cost at end-of-summer sales. Bonpoint has two sales each year: one in June and one in January. The same time frame applies to Children’s Place (and likely many other shops). Ibiza Kids’ summer sales start halfway through the season. Call your favorite store and you may be pleasantly surprised by the bargains you’ll find.

No matter how determined you are to stick to your budget, it's easy to be distracted by the myriad extravagant options available for your wedding invitations. Luckily, standards have relaxed enough that you can afford to have beautiful invitations without breaking the bank on all the little extras that were once mandated by tradition. Of course, you'll have to order invitations, and RSVP cards are still de rigueur (although it's perfectly acceptable to use postcards to save on the cost of envelopes and postage), but anything else you choose to include is largely up to you. Skip the official reception note and print up an insert yourself; the same goes for directions. If possible, include the reception and ceremony information all on one card. Stuff your own envelopes. And if you absolutely must have flourishes such as tissue paper and ribbons, consider adding them yourself for a fraction of the cost.


From the Fall 2005 New York Wedding Guide


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