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A Penny Saved

If you’ve always dreamed of having beautifully hand-lettered invitations for your big day, hiring a calligrapher may seem like an extremely expensive necessity. But luckily, technology is on your side. Computer calligraphy is much cheaper than the old-fashioned kind, and in many cases it’s almost indistinguishable from the real deal. Ask your stationer if they have the tools to do your invitations, or buy the software online to do it yourself ( has a well-reviewed model). Your invitations could cost as much as seven times less than they would have if done by hand.

Professionals in almost every field charge more for wedding work than they do for regular affairs, and bands are no exception. To avoid paying an unfairly inflated fee, scout out your own talent. Websites such as offer recordings by tons of local musicians and bands, some of whom would probably jump at the chance to get paid to play. And don’t forget to ask around: A co-worker or friend of a friend might play with a group that suits your needs perfectly—and they’ll likely be a lot more reasonable than a wedding band when it comes to the price.

Hiring the perfect D.J. for your wedding can be time-consuming, expensive, and, frankly, a bit of a gamble (some people just don’t understand that when it comes to the Macarena, no means no). Beyond that, your guests will remember the music you played at your wedding, not the person who spun it, so consider skipping the D.J. altogether. Preprogram an iPod with hours and hours of your ideal wedding music; you can even plan the entire night song by song if you so choose. Or burn a bunch of CDs with the same goal in mind. Either way, corral one or two of your more music-savvy friends to mind the proceedings so you won’t have to worry about technical glitches.

Digital Photography
When in doubt, go digital. You probably won’t be able to notice the minor difference in quality unless you’re a fine-art photographer yourself, and it’s an easier and cheaper option. Because the photographer won’t need to print traditional proofs for you—he can simply e-mail you high-quality jpegs that simulate the real thing—you’ll save on the cost of paper and printing. Tech-savvy brides shouldn’t assume they can just burn their own copies, though—copyright laws dictate that your photographer retains the rights to the images, unless you negotiate otherwise before or after the wedding.

If you’re getting married in the city but the rest of your family lives elsewhere, the first thing you have to accept is that there are very few good cheap hotel options. Even with group discounts, New York prices are simply astronomical when compared with the rest of the country. Unless you’re planning to pay for all of their rooms, you might want to take your guests’ budgets into account when choosing the date for your wedding. Rates at most major hotels vary greatly by season, and it’s not always an intuitive process: November can be an expensive time, as it precedes the holidays and brings in tourists who want to shop. Summer can be cheaper than you’d think, thanks to the heat and humidity. Bottom line: Call the hotels of your choice as early as possible for estimates. And be sure that your wedding doesn’t fall over the holidays or on the same weekend as any of the city’s big annual events—such as Fashion Week— which could turn making hotel arrangements into costly headaches for you and your guests.


From the Fall 2005 New York Wedding Guide


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