Sunday, June 1, 2014

Saving on Your Wedding

Welcome to Debt-Free Wedding, the blog written by a father of the bride and author of Before You Say "I Do", Your Beautiful Wedding on Any Budget, 300 Money-Saving Tips, and more.  Visit often for more money-saving ideas on your beautiful day.

At a recent wedding I noted three money-saving ideas.  After asking the father of the bride to comment on these, I offer them here for your consideration, too.  Great ideas, all.

1. Suits instead of tuxes.  Yes, tux rental seems to be on the way out.  Have noted an increasing number of weddings that, though formal, don't require tuxedo rental for the groomsmen or the groom. Dark suits are in again, as well as gray.  And listen, suits look great if you can find matching neckties.  Hundreds saved here, especially if the father is paying for the rentals.

2. Natural table decor.  Yes, at my most recent wedding, I noted that the bride had decorated the tables (an outdoor wedding) with simple white table cloths with wooden centerpieces (natural wood) and flowers from the garden (not the florist shop).  Savings?  Tremendous, considering that there were nearly 25 tables and, with floral-cut centerpieces, would have cost hundreds if not a couple grand.  Elegant. Natural. And beautiful.

3.  Thursday night instead of Saturday.  Again, off nights can save big money.  This venue would have costs a few thousand, but having the wedding on an off night saved considerably...according to dad.  And because the wedding was held over a holiday (four day weekend) the Thursday night held up very well on attendance. In fact, it was a smash hit...and a savings.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Making You List . . . Checking It Twice

Welcome to Debt-Free Wedding...the blog written by a father of the bride and author of Your Beautiful Wedding on Any Budget.  Drop by often for more money-saving tips.

A recent excursion into a bridal shop confirmed the importance of making a bridal list.  Without a clear plan it is easy to become overwhelmed by the array of choices and challenges of bridal shopping.  This isn't just true of attire, but every aspect of the wedding planning.

A list is essential for those brides who are looking to save money (and perhaps have a more robust honeymoon or even a down payment on a house).  With the average credit card debt now topping out over $10,000, brides can very easily enter into marriage with cumbersome debt. 

List-making is very helpful for decor, accessories, travel arrangements, reservations, and even those odds-and-ends that might sneak up at the last minute.

Most helpful is the list that can be shared with family and friends.  Many items you may need could be donated, borrowed, or even shared.  Try it.  Don't feel that you have to purchase everything to make your wedding beautiful. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Time Savers

Welcome to Debt-Free Wedding...the blog written by a father of the bride and author of Your Beautiful Wedding on Any Budget (Sourcebooks) and Before You Say "I Do" (Perigee).  Visit often for more money-saving tips for your beautiful day.

As the old adage goes:  time is money.  And when it comes to planning your wedding, your time can indeed translate into dollars.  So you need to have sense when it comes to time-management.

A few tips that might help save you time and money:

* Create a master list of the items you will need for your wedding and, when you are ready to purchase these, create a driving route and a time frame for this work. Don't spread this out over days or counties . . . that's a lot of gasoline and a lot of time, which translates into more money spent.  Rather, finish your work on time and in time.  Money saved.

* When at all possible, look to shop online.  Amazing what you can find now (with great photos) on web sites and stores overseas.  My daughter purchased her wedding dress (made outside the U.S.) but saved hundreds of dollars (even with shipping included).  The dress fit perfectly, by the way!

* Look to buy a honeymoon package from a well-established travel agent.  Agents can find superb deals and also get you top rates for airfare, lodging and side-excursions.

* When at all possible, take the advice of someone who has been there before you.  Whether it be a location, your dress, or finding the best deals on decor, you are likely to know someone who can save you lots of money via their advice.

Stay with it . . . your time is precious.  And as you know, your time translates into money.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Farm Fresh

Welcome to Debt-Free Wedding . . . the blog written by a father of the bride and author of Before You Say "I DO" and Your Beautiful Wedding on Any Budget.  Visit often for more tips on saving time, money, and stress on your special day.

Increasingly, brides are discovering the beauty and savings to be had from outdoor weddings.  And they are also discovering that a farm wedding isn't about cowpies and chicken feathers so much as it is about spacious surroundings, plentiful parking, low stress, and a unique venue that offers beauty and brawn along with less hit on the pocketbook.  In short, a farm wedding can be anything you want it to be, and you'll have no trouble finding equipment and catering services that will bring a panache to your party.

At last count, I had counted over a dozen farm venues in my county alone, and that number is growing.  Increasingly farmer Johns are opening up their barns for large groups, and offering the homestead for photos and tents as well as corn.

Check with your local chamber of commerce (first option) or seek out brides who have used an outdoor venue.  In short order you'll have a short list of farms in your area that would welcome your group--and some with amenities that you will surprise you.

Go ahead . . . think green . . . think farm fresh.  You'll save (yes!) when you consider how much it's going to cost to rent that hotel plaza or wedding facility.  And once you factor in the single location for both wedding and reception, those savings will land squarely in your bank account . . . and what couple couldn't use some more cash for the honeymoon or a downpayment on a farm of their own?

Friday, February 21, 2014


Welcome to Debt Free Wedding, the blog written by a father of the bride and author of Your Beautiful Wedding on Any Budget and Before You Say "I Do".  Visit often for more money-saving tips for your special day.

It has been years now since the money-saving light has blinked at, and it is safe to say that brides can find most any item on the Amazon site.  The Amazon bridal accessories, in particular, offer many savings.  Purses, veils, stockings, gloves, even shoes . . . it's all here.

Brides should not overlook the savings to be had in other areas of the Amazon site, however.  For example, there is an Amazon bridal registry.  Brides can set up their gift list here--not much different than any department store.  Only drawback to Amazon, of course, is that brides aren't handling the merchandise first . . . they aren't holding it in hand when they make their selections.  Still, Amazon offers remarkable savings for those who know what they want.  And don't forget the free shipping.

And, as Amazon began principally as a book seller, don't forget that there are many books and magazines that can offer additional savings--resources that can help brides to find those money-saving ideas from housekeeping to honeymoon.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentine's Day

Welcome to Debt Free Wedding . . . the blog written by a father-of-the-bride and author of Before You Say "I Do" and Your Beautiful Wedding on Any Budget.  Visit often for more money saving wedding tips.

Many couples are discovering that Valentine's Day weekend is a cost-savings bonanza.  In addition to sales and savings on many love-related items, there are also wedding related opportunities to be had. 

For example, a growing number of pastors and churches are offering Valentine's Day weddings (for free).  I've read about several of these opportunities for those couples who would like to get married on Valentine's Day and don't really go in for all of the frills and spills of the traditional wedding (and the related costs).  The Day itself makes the wedding special and memorable, and couples that don't feel the need to buy into the traditional wedding madness can take advantage of these savings (and memories).

The idea here is that couples can get married in a church venue, take their vows, sign their license, and be on their honeymoon way . . . and most of the time pre-marital counseling is included (and that's extremely valuable).  Couples can slate a time, enjoy the already decorated church, and not have to worry about all of the other amenities that consume their time and money.  Invite friends and family and, viola!, wedding. 

It's probably too late to take advantage this year . . . but if you are looking ahead . . . well, book ahead. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Airport Answers

Welcome to Debt Free Wedding . . . the blog written by a father-of-the bride and author of Before You Say "I Do" and Your Beautiful Wedding on Any Budget.  Visit often for more money-saving ideas.

Recently a friend invited me to a wedding in the airport.  Now, this was a new venue to me.  Sure, I considered the airport for my flying needs, but for a wedding? 

What I learned, however, is that most airports do have large meeting rooms.  Most of the time these rooms are used for corporate gatherings, but can also be rented out for other occasions.  Including weddings.

What this bride and groom loved about an airport wedding was the convenience of it.  Evidently, their idea was the get married, host the reception (in the same room), and then, afterwards, catch the first flight out to some tropical destination for the honeymoon.  All in all, not a bad set of ideas. 

I'm not sure about the cost of an airport wedding (as far as rental goes) but I can see the benefits in terms of parking (always available in the large garages), food, practicality, and timing.  For couples who are pressed for time, an airport wedding offers ceremony, reception and travel in a one-stop atmosphere.

I'd love to hear more from other couples who took advantage of this option.  Anyone else out there ever participated in, or attended, an airport wedding?

~Todd Outcalt