Thursday, May 12, 2011

Down The Aisle, Down With Debt

I've been thinking a lot about my wedding and all of the planning that went into it and it reminded me of something I wrote while I was in the middle of it. Just like most women out there, I wanted a beautiful wedding but being the bargain shopper that I am, I wanted to get the best price on everything and not spend a fortune. Now I have to admit that my parents paid for 100% of our wedding and then some but it was still important to me that we got the most for their money. Here is what I wrote a few years ago hoping that it would one day help other Brides to be. I actually feel a little embarrassed sharing this but here goes...

Down The Aisle, Down With Debt

Who says the elegant wedding of your dreams needs to cost you the down-payment for a home? Sadly, for many this is the case. But why start your marriage off with a bad start? And by bad start, I mean in debt. It’s proven that most divorces were the result of financial difficulties. Knowing this, every couple who is brave (and in-love) enough to head down the road to Holy Matrimony should take the necessary precautions to avoid a bank-breaking wedding. Here’s how.

First you need a plan. You and you’re fiancé should sit down and discuss how much money you can really afford to put into a wedding. And be realistic. If you always dreamed of a 35,000 dollar wedding with 300+ guests but you will have to take out a loan to get it, forget about it. Instead, consider different options like a wedding on a beautiful cruise ship. The good thing about it is that you can get the royal wedding feel without having to shell out a ton of cash. Chances are that only the people who you are really close to will attend, making it extra special. Later on you can always throw a party for everyone who missed it, and since it’s not an actual wedding the price tag will be significantly lower. Think local restaurant instead of the city’s best caterer for your food. Other decisions you should make include whether or not you want a lavish location, large guest list, or a drool-inducing menu. Decide which one you cannot live without and sacrifice in the other areas.

Now that you have your basic ideas for your wedding, get savvy.  It will be easier to get wedding vendors to give you deals once you’ve figured out your definite budget. Just throw a few offers and counter-offers out there. Even if they refuse to meet your price request they will almost always come somewhere in the middle in order to keep your business. Instead of using highly advertised companies, look for the little guys by surfing different search engines. There’s sure to be a few good ones that have fallen through the cracks.  Plus, the less people they have knocking at their door, the more likely they are to do whatever it takes to keep you. Offer to speak about their business with everyone you know who is getting married. You can even see if they will slash prices if you are willing to put up a small sign at your wedding with their info. Again, this works better with smaller companies who may not be able to afford good advertising. Don’t be afraid to let them know that they need you and that other companies are competing for you. You can say things like, “ABC catering told me to give them your prices to see what they can do”.  At that point, 123 catering may make you an offer that is too good to refuse so that you can walk away with a signed contract. Also, rental facilities may be willing to lower prices if you are picking an off month or day; such as, a holiday, a Sunday/weekday, or even better a Holiday that falls on a Sunday or weekday. This is a good option since most people will be off work or out of school. The key idea is to ask.

Finally, stick with it. Whenever the temptation to add something that is sure to crush your budget comes up, get rid of it by reminding yourself of the most important thing. That is- when your wedding day is over and 90% of guests don’t remember which invitations you used or if what they ate was filet mignon or just plain beef, you will still be married to the same person and it is now your job to make your relationship work.
So when you think of the wedding of your dreams, think of the moment that you and the love of your life will kiss for the first time as husband and wife. Think about the fact that when you walk down the aisle to your groom, the flowers you are holding will hold no significance and no amount of money in the world could amount to the feeling in your heart. When thinking of your wedding day, make it your goal to take, have and hold, all the while, ridding yourself of potential debt.


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