You’ve accepted the proposal and now what?
Here comes the make it or break it decision in every couple’s relationship: Should you have a big wedding or hop into an Uber to City Hall? In other words, to be extravagant or to be practical? THAT is the question.
After I got married five years ago, I created a now-dismantled blog dedicated to giving blushing brides and grooms advice on planning their wedding. All these years later — insert a divorce — and the advice is still relevant. I planned a modern wedding with 150 guests in a beautiful hall in Long Island, N.Y. To this day, the guests still tell me it was the best wedding they ever been to. Really, I wanted to go to City Hall, but I digress.
Every year the wedding industry earns over a billion dollars in revenue. That’s right, over a billion dollars or The Carters’ combined income. Why is that?
Easily in New York, a couple or their parents can spend on average of over $35,000 for 150 friends, who put $25 as a gift in a card and relatives you will never talk to again, to eat, drink and be merry at an elegant banquet hall.
But, do you really have to spend so much money before officially joining forces with your partner?
This may seem like an easy answer, but not really.
Ideally, before the proposal, couples (hopefully) have already discussed their expectations to conclude that eloping or having an intimate gathering simply won’t cut it.
You think Meghan Markle and Prince Harry could have eloped and not have at least a large reception back at Buckingham Palace? Nope!
So if you can’t avoid an intimate gathering in Las Vegas or your local City Hall, here are five amenities your wedding day can do without.
Wedding Programs & Menus
There’s no need to spend over $250 to print out the run-of-show for the wedding day or the food menu. If your guests are highly allergic to certain foods, let’s hope they will alert their waiter before biting into a walnut crusted salmon dish. As for the program you don’t want to have each and every item listed and ruin the fun of the day. Most of the time, things do not go as planned and you don’t want the evidence memorialized.
If your venue’s atmosphere or overall natural decor is breath-taking or doesn’t need extra decorations like flowers, then save yourself $3,000 or more for decorative centerpieces. Purchase bouquets and boutonnieres for yourself and wedding party. Create or purchase non-flower centerpieces and ask your venue manager if uplighting is included in the package. Let’s face it, flowers either go to waste or there’s that one guest at the table plotting to take it home for their dining room decor.
Yes, a bridal party. This will eliminate the couple’s frustration in many ways. In numerical terms, without a bridal party, you only have to pay for one bouquet and one boutonniere and in some cases only the gown and suit. If the couple has children or other children in their lives, just let them be the bridal party and call it a day. Let’s see any Petty Patty argue with a 3-year-old for being the maid-of-honor.
Technology has really taken over the elimination of human contact in many areas and music is not excluded. Create a playlist, request your Maitre’d to press play at certain portions of the event and you’ll be set. Save yourself more than $800 on this expense.
Although the cocktail hour gives the bride and groom time to take photos and make wardrobe changes, it’s a cost that can get cut. To most guests, the cocktail hour is the “best part” of the event, but it also gets them stuffed on circulated appetizers, anti-pastas and hot stations. All that food before dinner. If the couple is already having an open bar, keep the cocktail hour to just that, cocktails and a few elaborate cheese spreads. This can cut out approximately $5,000 depending on the types of services your venue provides.