It’s June and wedding season is here. With so many consumers worried about the economy, couples planning for a wedding may be stressed about building a mound of debt while creating their new lives together. In an effort to help consumers avoid this debt, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas (CCCS of Greater Dallas) teaches budget-friendly wedding tips in its free wedding seminar, “Wedding on a Shoestring.”
“We see so many young couples start their lives off together in debt,” said Todd Mark, vice president of education for CCCS of Greater Dallas. “We advise couples to think about what they truly want out of their big day, and remember that it doesn’t take a lot of money to create lasting memories.”
In addition to the free seminar, the nonprofit agency shares the following tips for creating a budget-friendly wedding:
1. Figure out what’s important to you as a couple and only you. Sit down as a couple and discuss your ideas for the perfect wedding and don’t worry if you’ll impress others. Do you care little about the ceremony, but want a big party? Do you prefer an outdoor ceremony or the traditional church wedding? Think about what really matters when it’s all said and done. Discuss everything from location, flowers, attire and rings to entertainment, food, photography, transportation and honeymoon. There are most likely budget-friendly options for each.
2. Ask around to find quaint, inexpensive wedding locations. Checking with the local chamber of commerce or convention and visitor’s bureau is a good idea for finding beautiful wedding venues. Locations such as a women’s club, a beautiful old courthouse or the pavilion at a park can make breathtaking spots for a ceremony.
3. Hold your wedding on a Friday or Sunday to save on rental fees. Whether you’re renting a banquet hall, civic center or restaurant, most of these venues will charge a higher fee on Saturday. Check with your favorite locations for the ceremony or reception. You might get a better deal on an off day, and are more likely to avoid booking issues.
4. Hold your rehearsal dinner at home. Have a backyard barbecue so friends and family can take the time to enjoy each other. It’s most likely several of your guests haven’t seen each other in ages. Holding the rehearsal dinner at a family member’s home can save a lot of money and allow more time for visiting.
5. Use flowers sparingly. You don’t need an abundance of flowers to make a beautiful presentation at a wedding, especially if the venue is already picturesque. Order one feature arrangement for photographs, and make sure to choose flowers that are in-season. It has also become very popular to use a single flower rather than a mixed bouquet for the bridal or bridesmaid bouquets. One hydrangea or Cali lily can be just as beautiful as a large bouquet. Also check with discount club stores for great deals on flowers.
6. Shop small town bakeries. Cakes are typically more expensive in large metropolitan areas than small towns so research cake shops in smaller suburbs to find better deals. Cupcakes have also become very popular and can be ordered or made for much less. Many retailers also sell beautiful cupcake stands.
7. Get creative with your dress. If you’ve always wanted the big bridal gown, try shopping bridal outlets or an online auction site to find the best deals. If you’re not so traditional, check out special occasion dresses at department stores. You could find a beautiful ivory or white dress for less than half the cost of a traditional bridal gown.
8. Forgo the bridal party. Couples often end up with a dozen or more people in their bridal party because they don’t want to leave anyone out. The costs for thank-you gifts and bridal lunches can add up, and your friends and family might just appreciate not having to purchase a dress or rent a tux.
9. Take advantage of the digital age. Ask your friends and family to take photographs and video throughout the wedding and upload the files to a digital sharing site. You can also place disposable cameras on all tables at the reception. With the number of photographs that are taken, it’s likely you can get the photos you want without renting a pricey photographer. If you prefer to have a photographer, check with local colleges. Many photography students will staff a wedding for a fraction of the cost.
10. Make inexpensive table decorations and party favors. Instead of setting out a party favor for each guest, place a bowl of packaged candy or personalized match books next to the guest attendance book or at the bar. And rather than paying for expensive floral centerpieces, use floating candles and berries in glass bowls or fun photographs of the two of you together in pretty frames surrounded by flower petals or confetti. You can find hundreds of ideas for inexpensive decorations online and making these items could be fun for you and your friends.
Using one or many of these helpful wedding tips can help couples save thousands when planning a wedding. To find out more about CCCS of Greater Dallas’ free wedding planning seminar or for more information on free budget and credit counseling and financial education, visit www.cccs.net or call 1-800-249-2227.
About CCCS of Greater Dallas
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas, Inc. is a nonprofit, community based credit counseling and debt management service. Established in 1974, CCCS Dallas and its affiliate offices provide financial education and counseling to consumers in-person, by phone, or Internet through their 24 locations in four states. CCCS Dallas is a HUD accredited counseling agency and serves as one of nine counseling agencies supporting the 888-995-HOPE Hotline. The agency is also a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), the nation’s largest and longest serving national non-profit credit counseling network. To learn more about CCCS Dallas’ free seminars or the agency’s services, visit www.cccs.net.