You can try to stay on budget by trimming some of the extras, but the only way to truly cut the cost of your wedding is to trim the guest list. The cost of any wedding directly relates to the per-person cost.
Size of wedding
The size of the wedding depends on who’s picking up the bill. If costs are being shared (say, one-third paid by each set of parents and one-third paid by the bridal couple), call a meeting and have approximate costs on hand.
Those costs break down into meal prices per head at various reception sites, estimates of liquor/wine, flowers for both reception and service site, invitations, photographer, cake, limousine, gratuities, clergy, costs related to the site of the service (such as a church) and any other items you plan on having.
Finally, add on taxes and tips and then give a copy to each contributor.
Limit extra people
You may choose to have an adult wedding. You don’t have to invite your friends’ kids, therefore, unless you choose to make it a family event.
You don’t have to permit your single friends to bring a date, either (unless they’re in a committed relationship or living together).
Here’s the kicker: you cannot – must not – make any exceptions or you’ll irritate all those who weren’t allowed to bring their dates or their children.
When they pick themselves up off the floor, reality will sink in and it’s time to talk about who’s prepared to pay what.
A word to the wise: It’s better to have a wedding with 50 guests and do it right than have 150 guests and start skimping.
This initial meeting is the time for everyone to say their piece about exactly how, when and how much they will contribute.
Armed with this information, the decision is made about how many guests you will have.
After the meeting, someone should be designated to set up a budget, with the payor’s name beside each item.
Send a copy to those who are opening their wallets.
It’s helpful to send out save-the-date cards four to six months before the wedding because friends likely will let you know if the date doesn’t work for them. This allows you to add a few relatives or friends who didn’t make the original list.
The information on save-the-date cards should be minimal. (Save all the interesting details for the invitations.) You can be visually creative, but the wording can be limited.
Save the Date
April 10, 2010
Vancouver, British Columbia
Sara Jennifer Jones
and Mark Smith
Assume everybody has agreed that there will be 100 guests and also all agree that it will be an adult wedding (no kids) and that singles will come alone (no dates).
Who gets the lion’s share of the invitations?
If the wedding is entirely hosted by the bridal couple, it’s their wedding and they call the shots. The parents are, in truth, honoured guests (although they may have a couple of very close friends they hope you will include).
If the hosts are the parents, it is usual for the two families and the bridal couple to each get one third of the invitations. If one set of parents lives out of town and have few friends able to attend, they will give up their share of their invitations which can then go to those most in need of a few extra.
It takes discipline and the ability to make hard decisions when paring down the final list. You start, of course, with close family and personal friends. But who gets invited from your office? How about the people you’re friendly with at your gym? What about those second cousins you rarely see?
You have to make your own determinations because there are no rules.
People you work with may be limited to your own department, or only those you see outside of the office, or just the boss who will represent the office.
Relatives you rarely see may take precedence over friends, depending on your family dynamic – this is where parents sometimes get pushy.
It’s never easy.
But just wait until you have to do the seating plan!