Champagne Wedding On A Beer Budget

Today I’m excited to feature another guest post by the vivacious Daniela Garritano – designer extraordinaire, and one of the competitors on the Ultimate W Expert Challenge. Daniela is available for design consultations (email her here) and you can learn more about her on her Facebook Fan Page. Without further ado, take it away Daniela!

You’re engaged! Congrats!

Soooo… what?

Working together to create a flexible and realistic financial plan is a terrific way to start the planning process! The trick is not only to save, but to know where to save. Read on for 5 great ways to reduce the price of big ticket items, and disguise the fact that you’ve saved hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, yet still look as though you’ve pulled out all the stops!

1) You’re Invited!

Wedding invites always seem to be outrageously priced based on what you’re getting. Aside from the hardship in finding a decent style that really reflects the both of you, inviting a larger crowd can run you an invite price tag of anywhere from $400-$900+!

So, why not make your own? When I design an invite for a client, the best part of it all is not only the incredible savings by the hundreds, but the invite being custom tailored to illustrate and celebrate the couple’s uniqueness. And you deserve no different! So, hit up your local craft or scrapbooking store to start sourcing paper, prototypes and in some cases, free classes to show you how to pull it all off! Plus, it’s a super fun and rewarding project to do with those lovely bridesmaids or groomsmen who will happily help you out!

Daniela’s Pick: Not crafty? Try invitation templates! Just fill in the blanks and print! Try Canadian Bride’s all inclusive invites. $54.99 for a box of 40 sold at Michael’s Craft Superstore.

D’s Tip: Consider investing in an embosser. It can cost less than half the cost of printing address labels and you can use it for holiday cards and invites in the future to keep up the savings! Yay!

2) Stop and smell the roses!

Wedding flowers seem to carry the same emotional price tag baggage as Valentine’s Day flowers – vendors know you need them, so they can often get away with hiking up the price. However, did you know that the floral departments in some of the bigger grocery chains cater to special events, with absolutely stunning arrangements at a fraction of the cost of a florist? (Skeptical? Don’t be! Back in the day, my prom date bragged about my beautiful $5 corsage when everyone else was forking out at least $20 to a florist! Suckers!)

Daniela’s Pick: A&P (or its sister store, Metro or Dominion). Ask for their special occasion’s price listing. Their all inclusive bridal package is priced at $499.99! Get going!

D’s Tip: For added savings, try choosing flowers that are home grown and locally produced.  Anything flown in and grown in exotic places can increase your costs by twice as much!

3) Cut a little rug (and coin!)

Okay, I’ll say it.

Lame music can make a wedding bleak and just plain hurting! The DJ at a friend’s wedding charged them $700 and all he did was click the play button on his laptop. The song list was heinous, and there was no killer mixing or shout outs to the party people in the back. It was painful! Sadly, finding a good DJ can be a crapshoot at best. Until now!

Daniela’s Pick: We all have a friend who was born to entertain (I’m guessing that it’s you Preet within your posse?). You can have the power to create your own sweet play list for next to nothing courtesy of your laptop, ipod and a good friend you trust to act as DJ and Emcee. Plus, just imagine how extra special it will be having someone you both know and adore play a personal role in such an amazing day!  

D’s Tip: Bust it! Try downloading albums from well known club DJ’s. You get a continuous playlist with no mixing required!

4) Tis the Season!

Remember, when it comes to a wedding, almost everything is negotiable! With venue’s, if you can avoid saying “I do” on a Saturday, you can possibly save thousands of dollars on your wedding bill! Most venues charge by way of a “per plate” fee. However, depending on the time of year you get married, along with the day of the week, in some cases, vendors can lower their prices of up to $20 – $30 less per plate – for the exact same menu!

Daniela’s Pick: Peak wedding season typically begins in April ending in October. If you can avoid this window, and brave the cooler temperatures, you can likely negotiate extras into the price!

D’s Tip: The absolute cheapest time of year for most venues? January!

5) The Centre of Attention!

A centerpiece is what truly makes your table shine! They can cost hundreds so try collecting pictures of your favorite looks in order to recreate them on your own.  It’s a great way to showcase your personality and it can really up the ante when it comes to faking the look of an expensive show piece.

The illusion of a really expensive centerpiece comes from its height and colour. The higher the piece, and the more intense the colour, the most extravagant the table will look. An elegant mixture of candles and flowers is a perfect way to not only make a beautiful ambient statement, but also add instant glamour!

Daniela’s Pick: Try placing pillar candles of different heights and widths on mirrored plates or coasters in groups of 3 or 4. Then scatter some rose petals along the tabletop focusing on the centre. Try using Crafts Brand pillar candles, mirrored coasters and large bag of faux rose petals available in a variety of colours. $1.00 for each item! Available in the craft and candle aisle at Dollarama!

D’s Tip: Hands full with the DIY invites? Some venues even offer standard centerpieces that can be rented for the day as a part of your package for a small added fee. Just ask your vendor!

In the end, with all of the rigmarole in planning a wedding, it may seem like extra work to take on these projects yourself. However, with a little patience, and the right resources, you’ll not only stick to your budget, but the wedding itself will reflect the most important thing of all – the two of you.

To the happy couple!

Next time from Daniela – In renovation hell? Affordable finishes that really go the distance!

…and remember: Daniela is available for design consultations (email her here) and you can learn more about her on her Facebook Fan Page.

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Showing 9 comments
  • Cam Birch

    Excellent tips. Even though these are a little late for my wedding (a few years too late) I actually used them to save a bundle.

    For #2, if you didn’t already know. Costco actually has a florist who can be talked to about purchasing flowers for your special occasion at the listed times (good deals). Not always the best price (though usually) it is just another excellent option.

    For #5. We actually got married near to Christmas so to save on centerpieces we actually purchased super cheap Christmas wreathes and then redid them as we wished. Completed and amazing looked it cost around $15 a piece, the equivilent in the store would have been not less than $100.

  • Madeline

    What fantastic tips! I had no idea that some grocery stores actually sold flowers for special occasions. I also didn’t realize that some banquet halls charge cheaper rates at different seasons. My fiance and I would love to get married in the summer, but after reading this, perhaps a winter wedding wouldn’t be so bad? And it will certaintly give us a little extra money to play with for bigger and better things – like a downpayment on a house. Thanks Preet for featuring Daniela…she really does have some excellent and realistic tips!

  • Annoymous

    My girlfriend wanted me to read this as a way of hinting towards an engagement ring. I really have no interest, and no intention of proposing soon, but the tips were good, and this girl is super cute to look at. All in all a pleasant experience.

  • Kiki

    Even though I’m already married, I really enjoyed reading Daniela’s article. I have a couple of friends who recently got engaged so I will definitely be passing along some of these ideas. And yes, summer weddings are incredibly expensive. I got married in July and paid top dollar for every single little thing. Thanks for the great tips and keep the articles coming… they’re fun :)

  • Mandy

    Another great post! I’m really enjoying Daniela’s guest blogs. She has some really great tips that are so much more realistic than some many other “budget” friendly ideas. There’s a difference between being smart, and then being just plain cheap and Daniela really knows where to draw the line. I will definitely be passing these tips onto my best friend who will be getting married next Spring. Thanks Daniela!

  • Tresa

    This girl is so refreshing! I am an avid online reader of anything to do with making your life easier, and I like how Daniela lays it all out for you. She’s so clear with her recommendations which is perfect for people like me who are not exactly up to speed with all of the latest trends. She makes it easy for people who truly have no clue. Keep the posts coming. I’d like to see what else she has to say

  • WeddingFlowerPrices

    At most weddings these days a champagne toast is very common and you will find that more often than not, there is more than one champagne toast happening. This is the time when friends and family get a chance to give their regards and best wishes to the newly married couple. Thanks for great post!

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