As many of us are aware many of the recent brides are on very tight budgets. So the brides have been turning to DIY to save money. Now I am a huge fan of DIY for those who have the time and are creative. But most brides don't realize the time and money that goes into DIY. Especially when mistakes are made.
As vendors what can we do to either embrace this movement or convice the brides they can get what they need with a professional. My initial idea is to encourage couples to review their guest lists. Suddenly a budget of $5,000 can go a lot further when the list goes from 150 to 75.

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I guess it makes me a little sad that a bride can't have all the people they love at their wedding because of their budget. Yes, reducing the budget would make their money stretch further but I also think that they would have better memories knowing that they could include the people close to them at their wedding to witness and celebrate the most special day of their lives.

I think we, as planners and wedding professionals, should work with brides to give them affordable alternatives to consider. For instance, is the candy table necessary? Most brides don't know what to do with all of the leftover cake they have. Or, do they really need ten different appetizers at the cocktail reception? How about just three or four choices? After all, too many people fill up at the cocktail reception and then their entrees go to waste.

Can they do away with the full bar and only serve beer, wine and a specialty drink instead? There are a ton of less expensive alternatives to floral centerpieces. Anything they use as a party favor should be able to serve triple duty as table decor, favor and place card.

Christine, as an invitation designer, you likely can come up with invitations that are creative and less expensive. Do they really need a folding card or would a single card do the trick? How about all of the embellishments to the invitation. Are they necessary? Is a separate card for the reception really necessary? Can't that be put on the main invitation? I know many brides who are using e-mails and phone calls instead of RSVP cards to save printing and postage costs.

Do they need all of the rentals? Can they work with the linens that the venue offers and just embellish those? Or can they get creative with chair ties and find other ways to add color and style to their linens?

I suspect if you ask most guests about the reception, they would be hard-pressed to tell you anything about the linen details or the elaborate flowers or the little details that cost-conscious brides spend too much time worrying about and spend too much money on.

Do they need stretch limos or would a luxury van work as well - one that could transport the entire wedding party to the ceremony. After all, everyone is in the ceremony venue by then so no one sees it anyway. Or maybe the limo is only necessary to transport the bridal party to the reception so you cut down on the number of hours it's needed.

If the music is good, the food tasty and the spirits are high, that's what they'll remember. What the bride will not want to scrimp on is the photography and videography because that's what the couple will have forever.

As professionals, I think it's our job to help them find where to save and where to spend.

It's just something to consider.

Phyllis Cambria
Phyllis makes a great point with this statement: "If the music is good, the food tasty and the spirits are high, that's what they'll remember."

I agree completely. Your guests will remember that you fed them, they'll remember that there were flowers but most won't remember what they ate or what kind of flowers you had. They'll remember the quality of the music but not how many musicians you hired. A solo harpist for all your ceremony or dinner music is all you need, you don't need a string quartet and a small trio for dance music will entertain your guests just as well as a 12 piece band. Live music makes a huge impact on memories but it doesn't seem to matter how big or small your group of musicians is so much as the skill of your musicians.
Barbara, although i respect your opinion , I do not agree with your statements. You can not possibly know what or the detail of what anyone will remember . I may remember one particular dessert i had 25 years ago at a party. a couple doe's not NEED any of us for their wedding- all they NEED is a judge or Officia, and witnesses in the eyes of the law to marry. weddings are about what the couple WANTS. If the couple want the bands for their high school to play for their wedding, and they can afford it- so be it-
You have no authority to decide what is equal entertainment for the couple as you do not know the quality or degree of the service provided. I know nothing about music in regards to what is NEEDED - but i do know if I am a bride and i want a trumpet solo, and I hire a string quartet , for all my music need for my wedding,on the advise of a wedding professional, I as the bride have not respected as the CLIENT.
I'm sorry but I disagree. You don't really need anything more then a visit to city hall getting your wedding license etc'. That is probably the quickest, easiest, cheapest, stress free and the most boring and fun free way to get married.
our society is a society of wealth because of the money spent on things people want. If people would only buy what they need, billions of people would be out of work, starving and fighting for a job.
the same applies to weddings. this is a very special event, for many a one time event, and I think they should get what the want.
In regard to what the guests remember, who cares? the event is all about the bride and groom. They are the ones that need to remember their event, it is a sweet memory to hold on to during their marriage. Their kids will ask about the wedding, the bride and her girlfriends will reminisce over and over their weddings and that is all that's important (that is my own opinion of course:-))
That doesn't mean they can't DIY things, but from my experience, most brides will attempt very few things to DIY in the first place. they appreciate the experience and professionalism of their vendors, and the fact that they want to have a stress free(as much as possible..) on their wedding day.
The DIY bride is usually a DIY person in her day to day life, and it is hard to convince her otherwise, I wouldn't even try.
However, there is a way to combine the vendors expertise and the DIY- I do it once in a while with brides that want to take part in creating their wedding cake. We do a cake sketch together, then I lay down the work involved in the preparation and she decides how involved she wants to be. usually she'll do some decorations, flowers, coloring etc' and I'll fill in the blanks +put the cake together and arrange the cake delivery to the wedding. It works great and we are both happy.

Wedding Cakes In Israel
By Sharon Peled
"In regard to what the guests remember, who cares? the event is all about the bride and groom. They are the ones that need to remember their event, it is a sweet memory to hold on to during their marriage."
How selfish. I could not disagree more. It's like giving someone a gift. Giving, for the giver, is a gift in itself. Any Bride who does not really care if her guest leave with fond memories, is not a client I would want to work with. It doesn’t take a lot of money to have everyone enjoy themselves and feel like they were part of something special.

I advise every B&G to wait a few seconds before they walk the recessional (after they are presented at the end of the ceremony as husband and wife) and just look at those friends and family who came to witness their exchange of vows. Simply share a smile, acknowledge there presence and just let it all soak it all in. That moment will be in you memory bank and theirs forever and it will be recalled whenever you have reason to think of those friends and family.

The same goes for the reception. I costs no more to insure the guests feel they are a special part of the event but it raises the value of the day in a way one can’t put a price on.
Phyllis, all of your points are great. I'm sorry if you took it as I am encouraging all couples to cut their guest lists. This was simply one example of ways brides can save money. My best friend is getting married and her fiance wants to invite people that he is not realted to that he hasn't seen in 8 years. His list of these kind of guests is 20 people long. At $20 per plate that is $400 they could use towards other items. I would never encourage couples to cut out the important people in their lives. But when a bride has a guest list of 350 people I find it sometimes hard to believe 350 are all important guests.
Christine, I hope I didn't offend YOU. :)

I know most guest lists can be cut. It just seemed that cutting it in half was a little drastic. But where can a bride find a $20 meal these days anyway?!?! LOL

But you're definitely right about looking at the guest list. At my wedding, there were probably two dozen people that my husband and I didn't know. They were friends of our parents. But in those days, it was more common to have friends of the parents than your own friends at weddings anyway especially when they were picking up the tab.

I was watching a show one day and the groom had to give his fiance his guest list. And one of the people on his list was "the guy from the donut shop." She said, "Uh, no, if you don't know his name, he's not getting on the list." LOL

Phyllis Cambria
Some venues are inclined to pay a planner for bringing the business to their place, which you can use as a bargaining tool to off-set your fee
I really am surprised that you think a bride can't get a nice and creative menu for around $20! I have been in catering in both So. Florida and now Denver for over 25 years and it depends what the bride is looking for.

I create every menu around personal preferences and budget. It's my job to know food and labor costs and create a menu she can afford and something that will 'pop'!

As you suggested in one of your other tweets, the reception can begin with one or two knock out hors d'oeuvres as a 'taste' of things to come. We then create a menu with flashy salads like Strawberry and Spiced Pecan Spinach Salad w/Poppyseed Dressing, portion control proteins i.e. tenderloins not full breasts and pasta/rice/potato dishes that cause lots of comment. We do a Smashed Potato Bar with
all the toppings...3 different potatoes: Homestyle, Red Skin and Sweet with toppings to match. What a conversation peice!

If the caterer cares and is creative enough the bride can have her cake and a great meal too!

Jerri George
Stacey, that is awsome! Now that is DIY I can handle.
Hi Stacey, Have you seen my Do It Yourself Wedding Flower Guide (workbook and 5 DVD's) showing brides how to do their own wedding flowers? Visit my website for details: I'd love to work with you to help your DIY brides with their flowers. I am in California...maybe an expansion???? Give me a call at 916-941-1171 to discuss options. I'd love to hear how this business structure is working out for you!!!

Angie Zimmerman
The Wedding Flower Diva
I just got married in August. We hired a planner, but she was a friend and gave us a great deal. My best friend and I have done a bunch of weddings because of our friends being in different businesses and helping them out. We catered weddings as waitresses and got to pick a lot of ideas from that. But even hiring the planner she helped to cut the costs but I had to be on top of lots of things, and we did most of it ourself. It was a lot of work, even printing our own invitations. Everything turned out great but I do feel from my experience that there are a few things that shouldn't be left to yourself. Two things from my wedding was the photography and videography. One was a gift from a friend and didn't quite turn out how we would have wanted, the other was the videography. We do videography so we just had our friends do it, but it's sort of the thoughts of the hairstylists family never has a haircut. It's been several months and I still haven't even seen our video, because I'm working on others.

For ideas to help, we usually try to work with the brides budget. Do what we can, maybe even help them with what you think they could cut out to fit their budget. It's a sad thing when you're a bride and you feel that you're not going to be able to get what you want. It's their day, we're all here to make it just right. With the economy too we have even been thinking of some packages that really cater to that.


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