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how to save money when planning your wedding …

… and other erroneous advice brought to you by ABC News Good Morning America’s Ginger Zee (ABC meteorologist).

Let me preface this blog post before I begin that I absolutely adore ABC Good Morning America and all their anchors and professionals. NBC Today show can suck it as long as they have Matt (Narcissistic) Lauer as their anchor. Also I am proud to be on TV with a local ABC affiliate. So it saddened me deeply to see this segment they did about “saving money when planning your wedding”. Because the “expert” Francesco Bilotto and the information he passed on was a huge pile of  … well, you’ll see.

Here’s the online link to the segment, I highly recommend you click over and watch the video before reading my rebuttal. And in case you can’t watch the video right now, please read on.

I’ve printed out their 7 ways to save a buck at your wedding … my rebuttal is underneath each point.

1. Keep it simple. Don’t reinvent the color wheel with add-ons such as special plates and linens; try to work with the natural beauty of the venue.

Keeping it simple is certainly your choice. I do agree, don’t fight the venue. i.e. Don’t pick a rustic space if you want an elegant type of wedding. Highlight the natural beauty of the venue and don’t fight it. Agreed. However if you are not a flower person, then bringing in colored or textured linens is the least expensive way to make a powerful statement in your wedding decor. Ask an interior designer (not Francesco, apparently), what is the least expensive option to making a bold statement in a room? The answer: paint it.

2. Use a florist that is not on your venue’s preferred list. You could save at least $2,500 that way.

 You should know as a consumer that often venue’s “preferred vendor’s list” is a paid list. Which is not a big deal, but the venue should be transparent about it. They are not necessarily the best vendors around, just vendors that plunked down advertising money. Back to Francesco’s pearls of wisdom: While a vendor may have to pay a venue to be selected as a client’s choice, the average fee would be 15%, typically, not more than that. Perhaps in NYC it is more. Going with what bride Ginger was first quoted for her wedding flowers, $10,000, then that would only be a savings of $1,500 (at 15%).

3. Rethink vases. Adding vases to floral centerpieces could get add at least $100 to the cost of each table.

{Scratching my head} So, walk me through this  …. we are supposed to put green, wet, oasis full of flowers directly on the white poly table-cloth provided by the venue? What the hell is that suppose to look like? When it starts to fall apart and melt everywhere? And where are they getting small vases (shown in the video) that are worth $100 TO RENT? (I know NYC is more expensive than the Midwest, but not THAT crazy. I just got back from Manhattan two days ago and their gas price was only $.15 more a gallon than what we pay locally). Most small, round vases to rent would be anywhere from $4 – $10 a vase.

4. Rethink the flowers you choose, and how you use them. Francesco Bilotto, who is planning Zee’s wedding, is using carnations for her big day. He called it “the forgotten, abused flower.” He also said that not every table needs to have flowers. “Every other one, maybe do an arrangement and sporadic ones in between and some candles,” Bilotto said.

Okay, this I’m on board with. I love carnations, they are a less expensive flower. However you need to use A LOT of them to make an impact. Or you’ll end up with prom centerpieces back in the day (one carnation, one fern and one sprig of baby’s breath). *barf*

And IT IS okay to have tables with no flowers … lots of candles and water in vases. Oh gosh, yes, we’ll have to use vases for this as most venues do not allow open flame. Sorry Point #3, we’re now backtracking …

5. Rethink your wedding photographer. “The best thing to do is contact your local school – find somebody that wants to build a career with their skills,” Bilotto said. “Nine out of 10 you’ll save $8,000 just paying for the cost of their camera, their developing and their time. You’ve made a college kid happy and you’ve got some great photos.”

I am resisting the urge to start cussing like a sailor. In a few instances for our events, we have used second shooters or college students (think a photo booth or montage). Those are set-up shots with easy retakes.

I strongly urge you to use your money that you saved from not having vases on your tables (snicker) to put towards the best professional wedding photographer that you can afford. Please. It will be worth it.

SIDE NOTE: Bride’s do not care if they are making some “college kid happy” on their special, special day. Any experienced planner would know that.

6. Rethink having a formal, sit-down dinner. “I actually prefer you do not do that formal sit-down dinner. No one wants to sit next to your Aunt Sally with horrible cologne all night long,” Bilotto said. “Think about doing a few buffet stations or grazing stations, as the caterers’ call it, and a few hors d’oeuvres. Be careful with that because staff adds in the price again. At the end of the day, it’s about the people you are with.”

Listen lovelies, an hors d’oeuvres dinner will cost you more than a buffet dinner. A sit-down dinner will cost you more than a buffet, because the caterer has to have additional staff to serve. At the end of the day, it IS about the people you are with. But if your guests are leaving to go home to eat because they are hangry, then it will end up being just about you. Side note: go ahead and google “grazing stations” for weddings. Will. Not. Save. You. Money.

(Holy Smokes, we are almost done …)

7. Rethink the cake. (Yes, the cake!) Nowadays, many couples are opting for a smaller cake for cutting at the ceremony and feeding the guests a sheet cake. Or they’re having a “fake cake” made – an elaborately designed cake with several fake layers and just one layer for the couple to eat. And, yes, guests are fed from a sheet cake. Guests don’t need to know!

Late Breaking News: Use a fake cake for your wedding to save you money. {insert the eye roll} Here’s the skinny on this subject. One of the most expensive and luxurious resorts locally, West Baden Hotel, use fake cakes for their weddings. Always. One tier has real cake and that is what the couple cuts into in front of everyone. However, this is not to save you money. Oh, no. They still have to decorate an “elaborately designed cake” which takes time and artistry. And that charge is passed along to you.

The real reason they use a fake, ahem, excuse me … faux cake is so their guest service is not compromised. Couple cuts the cake on the dance floor, it is wheeled away … minutes later, the wait staff is serving cake table side to guests. This is of course from sheet cakes that were cut and plated earlier. Guests think the wait staff service is awesome, there are no delays and the meal service is completed quickly for dancing and other festivities.

THAT is why, Francesco, the fake wedding cake is a good idea. Wrap that up and stuff it in your pocket square.

I’m exhausted. My own final thoughts to this debacle of a segment:

  1. I bet Ginger is getting free wedding planning services from Francesco for media promotion. Can’t wait to see photos of her wedding from her university student photographer and loose carnation centerpieces.
  2. ABC should look into hiring university students to forecast the weather. I’m sure they could get them for $1,000 a month, a savings of ….
  3. Why show photos OF LAVISH and beautiful weddings while talking about cutting back on flowers and having no vases? (yeah, okay, I’m stuck on the vase thing, because it’s weird). It doesn’t make sense. Show photos of pretty budget weddings.
  4. Finally, we advocate and help our clients save money on their wedding day. This rant blog post was NOT about spending more money on your wedding, instead, knowing realistically and more importantly, accurately where you can save a dime.

ps I know you have opinions on this, so let’s do it. Come on’ …. post a comment.

plan on!

 

is the wedding industry ripping you off?

This may be a potential controversial blog post, yet hopefully a teaching one. Then we’ll get back to other wedding goodness.

Why is there a perception that the wedding industry is there to rip you off? Are we?

I get it. It’s one day. And to invest that kind of money, for just one day, to some, may seem unreasonable. Then there are others that have dreamed of this day and either have or will find the financial means to make sure it is a day for them to remember.

It’s all relative.

What is expensive to me, may be inexpensive to you. What I find what is important to me to spend my money on, may not be what you feel is important.

Remember Mrs. Field’s cookies when they first came out? Seriously, that was one expensive chocolate chip cookie. Flour, sugar, chocolate chips and an oven. But they flew off their counters because consumers deemed them to be something they wanted, needed and enjoyed.

Have you considered that your wedding is actually assisting with stimulating the economy? Mostly stimulating local businesses that EMPLOY people in your area.

Listen, whatever the budget amount you spend on your wedding is absolutely at your discretion. Just please don’t buy into that hype that wedding vendors are all here to “rip you off”. We serve a purpose for those that wish to purchase from us and we’re just like you. We have families, bills and a passion for weddings.

featured image credit: pfe iPhone

plan on!

 

 

flower power :: we love carnations

Carnations have gotten a bad reputation over the years. These hardy little flowers can come in all sizes and colors. They are simple, but can be used very creatively. The trick is not mixing a sprig of baby’s breath and a fern stem (circa 1980).

Take a look at this lovely bouquet we created for last year’s Super Bride Sunday show ….

SO many brides picked this bouquet up not even realizing that it was mostly comprised of carnations. Mixing tulips around at the edge gave it a really interesting touch.

Need to fill up some serious space? How about using carnations for your wedding cake, like seen above? Those are A LOT of flowers and traditionally carnations can be budget friendly.

I adore the bouquet on the right. GREAT use of variations of colors to create a soft bouquet that can give almost a “peonies” look.

photos: planning…forever events, manolo brides and wedding bee

how to financially enjoy your wedding day

Making purchases is exhilarating, but writing checks to pay for those purchases is financially draining (in more ways than one).

Many vendors such as entertainment, transportation, ceremony soloists and pianist  will accept  their last payment installments on your wedding day. You certainly don’t want to be carrying around your checkbook, it probably won’t match your wedding dress!

Create a list of those vendors and write out checks on the Thursday before your wedding. Give them to your planner and she/he will hand those out for you so you’re not having to worry about making sure everyone is paid.

In addition, if you can wait to pay your catering bill on the day of your wedding (room rental, food, taxes, gratuities and other fixed costs) that would psychologically be a good thing. That’s going to be a big check; and one you won’t want to write after your reception is over. It can be a huge let down after a fabulous day. The only last bill to be paid should be your beverage/bar consumption to the end of the evening.

Some caterers/venues have other dates that they require to be paid in full, so you’ll have to check your contract with them. The idea if possible, is to NOT be paying large invoices after your wedding. It’s a downer after a wonderful day.

 

the skinny on your wedding taxes

Taxes. A four-letter word? Obviously not, but it feels like it.

As with any big purchases, taxes will affect your final sales price. Your wedding is no exception. Remember to include your state taxes on projected expenses, such as:

invites
photography albums/photos
dress and tuxes
florist
venue (we’ll talk more about that…..)

Make sure you have a clear estimate from your venue on how much they tax their services and product. For example, some venues here in Evansville, tax their gratuity.

So, here is what your final bill will look like:

19% gratuity

6% gratuity tax

7% sales tax (goes to the state)

1% food and beverage tax

= 33% total possible taxes

What does that mean to you? That $19.95 per plate meal that you are deciding upon, because you thought it fit within your budget, is now $26.53 per plate!

Staggering isn’t it? That’s why you want to really have everything in writing and ask question after question if you don’t understand. There are no stupid questions! Or hire a wedding planner. Either way…get the skinny on the true tax picture!