You may accuse me of cynicism, but I am convinced that some suppliers put their prices up as soon as they see an engaged couple on the horizon. They know it’s the couple’s first time (or likely to be), so they assume the pair aren’t very savvy in this area.
On the other hand, a lot of specialist knowledge, experience and ability is required, and they, deservedly come at a price.
Of course, what is “expensive” to one couple may be “reasonable” to another, so I am not going to put figures in this blog. I assume you will do your due diligence and compare suppliers in the various fields.
So what are you paying for?
Different suppliers may need different skills. Your photographer may come singly, or be inexperienced. In such a case, I’d look elsewhere, because the photographer has a lot to do and can’t afford slip-ups. Your caterer must surely be prepared to offer alternative menus (eg vegan or gluten-free). Your wedding planner will have to be available all day and absolutely know what they are doing and talking about.
As I’m a celebrant, I’m aware that a good one needs a lot of skills (some which are not commonly combined). These include being a good questioner-cum-listener, being a good writer and being a good presenter. Naturally, I have committed time and money to training and development, belong to professional associations that insist on high ethics and standards. Most of all, I have experience, as well as the personality that many find highly suitable for the job.
Consequently, I feel that I have a lot to offer my couples (and others too!) and it’s right that I should be remunerated for what I offer.
The same (or similar) applies to other suppliers. They may need other skills, but they are professionals. Many are experts in their field and can guarantee an excellent job.
So, although not all suppliers may be worth it, the vast majority are. Make sure you are clear on what you are expecting from them and read their Ts and Cs to ensure you understand what they will, and will not, offer.
Two mini-tips, if you want to save a bit of money: avoid extravagance (so don’t buy flowers out of season, for example) and think about the date of your wedding. It will cost more, if it’s on a special day like Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Day, and if you hold it in the morning, say, you should have some bargaining power.
Come what may, work out your budget first, speak to lots of suppliers and settle on the team you want to have around you. If that costs a bit more (and you can still afford it), then go with them.
Peace of mind will be (almost!) assured, then!
Now you’ve decided to consider a vow renewal, how can you save money on it?
The good news about vow renewals is that they tend to be a lot cheaper than weddings! However, nobody wants to spend more than they need to, so here are some suggestions that can lighten the load.
If you opt for a building or place of worship, you’ll find you’re in competition with people looking for a wedding venue. That means that the need to book early – and prices – will reflect the demand. What about holding the ceremony in your garden? It will take some time and effort to clean it up and prepare it, and a little imagination and expense to decorate it, but it could work very well. (Remember to warn the neighbours, though!)
You might be able to hold your ceremony in a public place like a park – but you may still need permission from the landowner (and there may well be a charge).
If you still have the clothes you were married in, why not wheel them out again? You may have changed shape a bit in the intervening years, so do try them on well beforehand. A tailor’s alterations may save you a lot compared to buying a new outfit.
If you do want to buy from new, you may be able to find suitable attire at a good price online, or wait for sales’ season.
There’s nothing to stop you from having a casual ‘do’, so you can use clothes already in your wardrobe.
You could always compromise by buying a couple of items – shoes for her, and a tie for him, say.
I always advocate a professional photographer for a wedding, and the same applies for a vow renewal. However, you can often get a cheaper rate, if you find a photographer just starting out. You might be able to enquire from a nearby college whether there are any photography students that they could recommend for you.
You can advertise, of course, although this can add quite a bit to your costs. Craigslist is seen by many photographers.
There’s much to be said for professional caterers, but they do add a lot on to the price. A sit-down meal is complex as well as dear, but, provided you have places to sit, a buffet will work really well. If preparing it yourself, you could ask family and friends to bring a dish. You might be able to buy from wholesale cash and carries, if you’re buying in bulk, and save money that way.
Note that fruit and vegetables that are in season are likely to be cheaper.
I haven’t mentioned the civil celebrant, but their ceremonies usually cost a lot less than weddings.
Using this advice, you should be able to plan a lovely ceremony without too much work or expense. As you would with a wedding, make sure you and your partner are in agreement about all the arrangements!