More budget tips from wedding planner Donnie Brown
I wrote about Brown’s budget-saving ideas in today’s Life section. He also said linens can make a big difference in the feel of a room. If a venue doesn’t provide linens, he urges brides to rent them. Many rental companies offer them for $25 to $37 each; if there are 10 tables, it can cost as little as $250 for a lot of look.
“You can’t beat that to totally transofrm the room. Celebrities have theirs made, but who is going to know the difference?”
Brown’s clients include singer LeAnn Rimes. Brown is also on Style Network’s “Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?”
While even most celebrites have a budget in mind (it’s just much bigger than most brides), the easiest way for brides to get the wedding of their dreams and save money is to hire a wedding planner.
“Don’t ever consider a wedding planner expensive,” he said. “Consider them an expense you can’t live without.”
Wedding planners can save money on flowers because they use florists regularly and can buy at wholesale. They know the trends, the different ways to cut expenses, the small things you can do to make your wedding different.
“You want your wedding to have an edge to it,” he said. ” Hire a wedding planner so they can help you make your wedding fresh. Girls want all their girlfriends to say this is the nicest wedding I’ve been to … they want that response.”
Other budget-cutting ideas to think about:
* Buffets can be more expensive than seated dinners because buffets must be constantly replenished so guests can eat to their heart’s content.
* Consider European dining service, one of Brown’s signatures. Have wait staff bring mutliple entrees and courses on a platter to the table. Guests can select fish, chicken or beef, but when the food is gone, it’s gone.
* Or opt for dual entrees — instead of 8 oz. of fish, give them 4 oz. of beef and 4 oz. of fish.
* Forget national averages for the cost of a wedding. You don’t have to spend $15,000 on a gown. Consider one of last year’s styles at a fraction of the cost. They’re still beautiful gowns, and who really is going to know that it was in last year’s collection. What’s the point of spending all your money on a gown if you can’t afford flowers or food, he said.
* Use a credit card (one that’s different from the one you use on a regular basis) to pay for your wedding. Pay it off each month, and make sure it has a bonus program (air miles, hotels, etc.) so you get a benefit from all the money you’re spending on your wedding.
* Whether you use a wedding planner or not, determine what percentage of budget should go into each category — food, flowers, lighting, etc. Meet with each vendor with a dollar figure in mind.
* A simple wedding can be just as beautiful as an elaborate one.
* Remember, the reception is where 80 percent of the money goes.
* Eliminate problems. Think smarter, not harder.
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