We started here, helping guide you through the preliminary tasks of pulling off your awesome wedding. But dear bro, that is but the tip of the "nuptial iceberg." The real meat of things, and hence, the real financial burden, comes with what happens the day of the wedding. So, Manly Bands is back to help with more tips and tricks to keep your wedding budget from becoming a massive monetary hemorrhage. Today: the ceremony.
Tip #1: Location, Location, Location: AKA Pros Cons of Single Site vs. Separate Sites
The first thing you need to concern yourself with when planning the ceremony is this: Where the ever-loving #%@& is it going to be held?
Tradition dictates that many of you will seek to be married in a church or church-like structure. It kinda comes with the territory when getting hitched, and there's nothing wrong with that. Churches come equipped with ample room for your guests, and good acoustics for your officiator's officiating. And, a good church can be reasonably priced, if you have the right connections.
But... Do they have a space for your manly party after the vows? If so, will they let you bring in the copious amounts of booze and dance music you need to truly celebrate said vows?
If not, then you need to find a second locale to hold the reception, which brings about a second reservation expense, additional decorating, and possibly, additional setup (unless the reception venue offers that service... at yet another sizable cost.)
Not to mention the logistical cluster-fluff of transporting every single person from Site A to Site B, especially for a large wedding. Renting a couple buses just is not cost efficient. Even if each person is responsible for transporting themselves, issues remain; it sure would suck if you had to delay things because Uncle Morty couldn't GPS his way to the reception hall, right?
Dollar for dollar, the cheapest bet is a venue that can handle both ends of your wedding for one set price. It gives you the chance to make one set of decorations do double duty (heh heh... Duty...), and can cut down on the setup time and effort. One set of decorated folding chairs can quickly be moved from the ceremony side to the reception tables, especially if you have a quality groomsmen crew at your back.
Just make sure you walk the site and visualize where everything is going to be set up (ceremony, food, tables, dance floor and DJ/band). The downside of a single site option can be the size of the venue, so make sure you have enough space.
Tip #2: Do These Flowers Make My Butt Look Big? AKA Professional Decorator vs. DIY
Flowers and runners and arches... Oh %#@&!
Even if you couldn't care less about how the place you say "I do" is decorated, I'd give 3-1 odds your spouse-to-be does. And without a solid game plan going in, that can very quickly get more costly than your budget allows, before you even get to the part of actually trading rings.
Sure, professional wedding planners and decorators can make this step a rather easy one. Give them a color palette and a few thoughts, and they can run all the way to the finish line without a problem... taking your wallet with them.
A DIY decorating approach is much more budget-friendly. Finding some cheap ribbon in the correct color turns any chair into the perfect wedding seating (with a little effort doing the actual tying). Now, you find some matching table covers and a mass of fake flowers, and you let your spouse-to-be get the girls together for some arts and crafts (but don't forget to offer help... Trust me.) Jars with five-and-dime candles, some simple streamers, and making the decorations by hand can turn cheap material into gorgeous decor at a fraction of the cost. You can even throw together your very own wedding arch, flowers and all, for less money than you will drink away at your bachelor party. People even sell their used wedding decor online, so check here for some great ideas.
Now, remember that whole "Single Locale/Double Duty Decorations" thing? Yes, "heh, heh, duty." Also, "sweet, extra savings!"
Tip #3: Should You Really Be Doing This in Public? AKA Pros and Cons of an Outdoor Ceremony
To marry outside, or not... That's the flippin' quandary.
The out-of-doors is indeed a beautiful, magical, wonderful place, where dreams really can come true and gorgeous weddings can take place. It's also where you find copious amounts of insects, squirrels, torrential downpours and blistering summer heat.
I'm not going to say you shouldn't have your ceremony outside. But I will tell you to put as much planning into your Plan B as you do Plan A. It's just too risky not to. You see, you need to have most of the ceremony planned weeks ahead of time, and you just can't be certain of the weather that far in advance. And it would be a disaster to have your groomsmen running everything back inside as the skies open up on them, only to find out there isn't room to set things up inside. Not to mention wasting money on an outdoor event permit (if applicable), that you won't even be using.
If you do choose to plan for an outside ceremony, keep it simple: chairs, arch, sound equipment, maybe a runner for the center aisle. Unless you plan to rent a massive (read: expensive) tent... In which case, why are you reading a wedding budget-saver post? Go browse the Midnight Collection, dude!
See you next time, when we offer up more money-saving tips!