Cutting costs for your wedding … what’s first to go?

You’ve spent hours and hours of envisioning… and brainstorming… and pinning… and planning for your wedding. You’ve upgraded your wedding binder from a .5″ spine to a whopping 3″ and it’s stuffed with: contracts, to-do lists, inspirations galore, a bit of rookie scrapbooking, brochures – scribbled notes flood every page and it’s all stained with tears (both happy and sad). Your fingers are sore from texting your girlfriends for opinions on just about everything, and your ear hurts from talking to florists, DJs, officiants, caterers, bakers, and everyone in between. After this whirlwind of “happy-stress” let’s call it – BOOM your wedding is finally planned! Now comes the part when you total up all of your costs, take one look at the figure and sprint straight back to the drawing board – you ask yourself; “What can I cut?”. Even if it’s just shaving off a thousand bucks it will help you sleep better at night.

So what’s first to go?

Let me briefly delay the answer to this question to  share a fun fact with you. The ladies at Lionsgate (sounds like a burlesque show huh?) recently came to a realization that collectively we have 75 years of experience in the wedding industry! Neat huh? We’ve done a lot of weddings, and for most of us a typical weekend isn’t going out for happy hour or catching a movie – it’s going to YOUR weddings! 🙂 And we love what we do. Ok, back to it.

Nix party favors for your guests.
In no way are you breaking any wedding etiquette rules by skipping out on party favors! Guests anticipate some good food and drink, and to see a pretty lady in a dress, but in no way are they expecting to walk away from your event with a gift. Here are some additional reasons why you’ve got the “okay” to ditch the favor:
1. Favors add up quick.
Say you order customized M&M’s in a little tin for each of your guests. These are $4.19 a pop x 120 guests – you’ve just spent over $500 to give out candies with your face on them.
2. There will be wounded soldiers.
In our experience guests pick at favors and leave parts behind. Especially if your favor is edible, our clean & set crew rounds up a lot of discarded favors. And think about it – your guests are too wrapped up in the fun of your event to make it their #1 priority to remember to bring home a little nic-nac that will collect dust on a shelf.
3. They’ve got the memories!
You’ve worked really hard on making your wedding a delightful experience for your guests and even if things don’t go exactly as planned, your guests are too busy chatting, drinking and dancing to notice! Guests don’t need to walk away from your wedding with a keychain frame of the bride and groom to remember your event. They’ve got it all stored away in their brains (assuming you didn’t pass tequila shots at your cocktail hour).

Ditch the Disposable Cameras
No matter what design your wrap a disposable camera in, it still looks disposable. From a quick Google search I’ve derived that
you can spend anywhere from $2 to $25 on these paper and plastic picture takers. And as with everything in your wedding things can add up quick! Here’s some more to think about:
1. Don’t step on your photographers toes.
More than likely you’re paying a professional photographer some good money to capture special moments from your day. If guests are busy snapping photos, the photographer will be capturing photos of guests taking photos…not such a frame worthy opportunity.
2. Don’t obligate your guests.
When your cousin Sally uses your disposable camera to snap the most hilarious candid photo of the little ring bearer holding a beer she has to set down her own camera. And once the picture is snapped, the moment has passed – and who has the picture? The bride & groom do. Sure, it’s not the end of the world, but Sally is the mother of the little cutie and she’s a little disappointed she’s missed out on the picture. Don’t obligate your guests to set down their own cameras for yours!

If you really want your guests involved in picture taking check out this new app: Our Photo Opp!  When you download this app all of your guests with smart phones can share photos from your day in real time. When they snap a pic it will be uploaded to an album that everyone can see – and you get to keep it! With this app all of your guests are walking away with a collective photo album of your event, and so are you! Win-win!

Cut the Champagne Toast
We don’t have anything against the champagne toast, but if you’re on a budget let your guests toast with their drink of choice. Rather than add an additional alcohol to your bar list, stick with what you’ve got got. Your guests won’t give your wedding a bad review because they didn’t feel the bubbly fizz of champagne in their tummies.

Pitch the Programs
Programs are a
great idea for the first 5 minutes that they rest in your guests hands, but after that it’s highly unlikely that your guests will take them home and paste them in a scrapbook of your wedding (unless your guests are as craft-happy as I am… then there actually is a chance of that happening). There’s no harm in letting your guests sit back and enjoy the ride rather than fill them in with a detailed outline of events. The only reason you should hold firm to the program is if there’s going to be a portion of your event where the floor drops out and dumps you into a pool and you need to warn the non swimmers in the crowd. You know –  unusual things that guests might want to be forewarned about. And yes, programs can be fun if you personalize them – give your bridal party the chance to write a blurb on why the bride and room are perfect for one another, honor a mom or dad who couldn’t be there that day, etc. While the program can be fun, it’s really not necessary – so we’re throwing it on the chopping block!