Looking for the best way to get the most bang for your buck out of your wedding? Make planning it part of the fun.
“It should be more than one fabulous day,” says Lisa Lewis, co-founder of Live It Up Events. “The planning process can be pretty amazing as well.”
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But before you even set a date, examine your budget says Lewis. “The earlier you start, the longer you have to save and spread out your payments.”
She suggests saving for at least a year-and-a-half to two years for those trying to keep costs down.
“Once you have your wedding budget, calculate how much you could reasonably save on a month-to-month basis. Then push the big day back far enough so that you can give yourself enough time to pay for it.”
Now hit the fair.
With Christmas and New Year’s being the biggest time for engagements, its no coincidence that wedding shows start popping up in January.
“I believe in entertainment,” says Mark Kovacs, president of Canada’s Wedding Expo Inc.
“You pay $15 at the door to walk in, (and) yes, you will find vendors that will provide a product or service for your wedding — but you need to be entertained while you’re there.”
Fashion shows, live musicians, food sampling and gift bags are all part of the fun. “It’s like Disneyland,” he says. “You go from one theme park to another.”
But in all the excitement, don’t forget to plan the wedding. “The shows are phenomenal for ideas and information,” says Lewis, “but I do suggest hiring a planner, a competent, certified planner — someone who will get to know you and your partner, who can take the stress from you, look after you, bring you ideas and guide you in the right direction.”
With more than 300 vendors at his wedding show, Kovacs agrees. “Walking into a wedding show with a planner doubles one’s effort in finding what they need.”
This includes savings. “Everybody thinks that they’re going to save money by not hiring a planner,” says Lewis, “but in fact, your planner can actually save you a lot of money.”
She stresses the importance of not making rash decisions. “Recognize that what worked for your friend, cousin, sister, et cetera may not necessarily work for you.”
A planner can offer alternatives to the norm. “Your wedding doesn’t always have to follow the classic format,” she says. “You can create something wonderful without diving deeply into debt.”