With all the websites, magazines and reality shows aimed at newly-engaged couples, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with your wedding plans. And although these resources often suggest “must-haves” for your Big Day, releasing live doves at the end of your ceremony may not fit into your budget.
So step away from the bubble machine, Akron Life is here to save your special day (and your bank account.)
We’ve asked several local wedding experts to share their money-savviest tips because, when it’s all said and done, you’ll still need to afford a mortgage for the home to hold all the toasters you’re going to get.
If you didn’t happen to inherit an engagement ring to use when you pop the question, and your two months’ salary won’t buy a glimpse of that sparkler at the mall, you’ll be happy to hear there’s a new trend that’s helping thrifty couples save a lot of money.
Pre-owned engagement rings are becoming popular, and one of the largest U.S. retailers of these rings is called Have You Seen the Ring.
According to Have You Seen the Ring:
In 2010, $9.6 billion was spent on wedding and engagement rings in the U.S.
The Association of Bridal Consultants estimates that, on average, brides- and grooms-to-be will spend $4,500 on their engagement ring and wedding band.
On average, one in four grooms spent more on an engagement ring than they originally budgeted.
In addition to providing reasonably priced rings, niche retailers that sell pre-owned engagement rings have become a trustworthy source of money. Rather than go to a pawn shop to sell their rings, today’s divorcees are looking at sellers of pre-owned rings so they can get more bang for their buck. Sellers on Have You Seen the Ring can receive up to 60 percent more money than they would if they went to a pawn shop, local jeweler or online auction.
Behind the Lens
Shane Wynn, owner of Shane Wynn Photography, says hiring an experienced wedding photographer whose style speaks to you is of utmost importance the day of the wedding.
“There’s no way to re-enact the actual emotions and events of the day,” she says. “Capturing them requires a varied skill set that is specialized for the industry.”
Having your snap-happy uncle do the job for free is a common mistake. But, Wynn says, couples can cut corners by booking the photographer for the ceremony and formals, and then ask several friends or family members to take candid shots at the reception.
“Granted, professional shots are preferable because receptions can be darkly lit and fast paced, but I think the ‘mantel’ shots are generally the formals,” she says. “It’s a good compromise and a smarter one than paying less for a photographer you don’t love and not having any images that are truly flattering.”
Another way to cut costs is to find a photographer who will sell the rights to the images and avoid pricey up-selling on the back end.
Wynn says many of her clients purchase the CD of wedding photographs so they always have the images, and then they contact her on their first anniversary to create an album. “It offsets some of the cost after recouping from the pricey wedding,” she adds.
Shawna Rollheiser, owner of A Cupcake A Day, says when couples are planning the elegant desserts for their wedding reception, they often select only the premium and embellished selections.
But, she adds, “It’s important to remember that sometimes simple is better, and you don’t have to go way over the top.”
Couples on a budget should consider Rollheiser’s words of wisdom: “Stick to the cupcakes and forget the rest!”
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” she says.
Stan Hywet Hall and Garden’s Donna Spiegler says the beautiful gardens and historic Tudor Revival Manor House in Akron provide a timeless backdrop for wedding ceremonies and receptions.Spiegler and her rentals team at Stan Hywet have some advice for couples during the wedding planning phase:
Make a list of your priorities for your wedding. Decide what’s important to you on your special day.
Do your research on vendors. Learn about florists, photographers and musicians, and you’ll become an educated consumer.
Start your planning early. It’s less stressful and will make wedding planning less overwhelming.
Because catering is often the biggest portion of the overall wedding budget, Bob Pacanovsky, owner of Robert J. – Events and Catering, suggests that couples sit down together and discuss how much they want to spend on their reception and how important the quality of food is to them.
“Some may not have an exact figure, but they should have a range in mind,” he says. “Once they have a range, we can better direct them to one of our current menus or customize one for them to fit both their budget and their taste preferences.”
Pacanovsky says it’s also very important that couples ask their caterer for a complete menu proposal showing all the pricing, including sales tax and the service or staffing charge. Couples should know what other services cost ahead of time, like rental items such as specialty linens, glass barware and catering items.
“We find that with this approach, couples don’t feel that they are being ‘nickel and dimed’ with every small charge that a caterer forgot to tell them about,” he says.
E-mail them to managing editor Abby Cymerman at email@example.com.