We first posted this blog a few years ago… but the busters remain the same! Krista Chapman is a long time friend and is extremely familiar with this industry after spending more than a decade hip deep in it. These days, you can find her on Twisted Crow, for success and soul styling.
By Krista Chapman
DIY Projects: I am borderline crafty at best. Anything beyond a glue gun and I take my cue to hand things off to the nearest professional. Remember, having a fiancé does not make you Martha Stewart. Be realistic about your crafting skills (and available free time) when taking on a DIY project. While a hand-stenciling ceremony program for 200 guests seems easy enough, project costs quickly add up with extra supplies to make up for your mistakes. In the end would have been cheaper and easier to hand off this project to a pro. Look to the internet for crafters selling their goods… my favorite site is Etsy.com as it brings together great vendors from across the country at reasonable prices.
Dummy Cakes: Brides may think they have landed on a million dollar idea with a dummy wedding cake. A bait and switch, wedding guests are served from ‘less’ expensive sheet cake from the kitchen, while layers of decorated Styrofoam sit in the place of the bridal cake. Sounds ingenious, right? Wrong. Dummy cakes assume cake costs are most impacted by the amount of sugar, flour and eggs. In reality, the time and labor to decorate and build the cake, regardless as to whether your baker is decorating Styrofoam or real cake, have the most impact on costs. Instead, opt for a simpler design or overall smaller production to save money.
Heavy Hors d’ oeuvres Wedding Menu: Similar to the dummy cake, heavy hors d’oeuvres are labor intensive requiring a kitchen staff to spend hours meticulously creating the tiny edibles. Often this makes a selection of appetizers as costly as a full meal (even if your intention was to offer light refreshments). If your aim is to keep your catering cost at a minimum, ask the chef for the more economical menu options. The more choice you can give a chef to use seasonal foods or follow a special deal from a distributor, the lower your per person price.
Insider Tip: Economical or not, be realistic about food costs. How much does it cost when you and your fiancé go out for an evening of dinner and drinks? Just because you’re working with a larger crowd, doesn’t mean bulk rates make that much of an impact. Food still costs what it costs. Most caters can’t do much with $10 per person when you consider taxes and service fees.
Skipping the Wedding Planner: When my sink is leaking, I call a plumber. When my oil needs to be changed, I swing by Jiffy Lube. I have learned the hard way that jumping headfirst into a task in which I have no business often results in high levels of stress, repeat trips to Home Depot (battling crazy Nashville drivers, nonetheless) and spending way more money than initially planned. More often than not, brides regret not hiring a planner to help with all the details that seemingly come to a head leading up to the big day. Planning a wedding is no easy task. Take my advice; consult with a wedding planner about having him or her take over some of these details. In the end, their insider knowledge will likely save you more than invested in their services.
Have you found other wedding savings that turned out to be a bust? Leave a comment below! Images courtesy of Getty Images.
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