The number of couples who married between 2009 and 2010 saw a further decrease from previous years. For all the theories that are advanced towards the relevance of marriage in modern times, the reduced volume of wedding ceremonies is perhaps most influenced by the global economic downturn. With the cost of an average wedding estimated at $20,000, many couples deem it irresponsible to spend that sum of money on one single event in such precarious financial times.
With couples also unwilling to compromise on their specific wedding plans, they are left with the decision to whether to defer their wedding until a later date, or concoct creative solutions to reduce cost without losing quality. Their latter option requires much research, innovation and dedication, but through the application of such qualities it is possible to make a wedding day more affordable and appropriate to the times.
Realistic Budgeting and Responsible Spending
Research has suggested that many couples find the task of financially planning a wedding both daunting and wasteful in the current economic climate. This often means that a wedding concept or plan is shelved without due consideration of the exact costs involved. For couples who are serious and keen to wed, it is a worthwhile exercise to sit together and discuss their plans and expectations for their ideal wedding in detail. From this discourse, a couple can present their ideas and create a notion of what they want and require on their wedding day.
This information can then be compared to a couple’s budget. The budget that they conceive must be both practical and affordable, with an emphasis on being conservative to allow a sum of contingency money if required. There is no point in budgeting with over ambitious figures, as this will only cause a wedding plan to fail at some point during the preparation. An overall budget sum can then be portioned and administered amongst various elements of the wedding, from the brides dress and outfit to the cost of a venue and catering.
These two single exercises allow the couple to not only develop the ideas for their wedding day, but also calculate how much they are able and willing to spend on specific items within the wedding package. How much of a budget is allocated to separate elements is entirely at an individual couple’s discretion, although it must be remembered that certain factions of wedding expenditure are traditionally more significant than others. The brides dress is a purchase that must focus on quality rather than cost, whereas other goods or services that are purchased can be sourced more cheaply and used alongside creative resolutions.
Where and How to Save
Once a couple have decided on the areas where they are willing compromise on cost, then the process of planning a wedding is simplified. Often, service related elements of the wedding day are easier to save money on than those that are specific goods or products, as people are often able to utilize friends, families and contacts to recreate a professional service at a cheaper cost without losing quality. This then creates further flexibility within an existing budget to either be saved or allocated to other areas of the wedding expenditure plan.
An example can be seen in wedding photographers and videographers, whose services can cost anywhere between $1000 and $5000 depending on the package purchased. However, the improved technology now available in digital cameras and high definition video recorders allows people to capture momentous shots and film at a fraction of this cost. A HD video recorder with a recording time of 2 hours and beyond can be purchased for as little as $800, and with a willing friend or relative to operate the equipment a couple can save thousands off their expenditure.
Even for couples who wish to pursue professional services for their wedding day, money can be saved through the art of negotiation. Again, this is easier with the nature of service related costs than single product expenditure. Discussions with venues allow a perfect opportunity to seek bargaining and cost reduction offers, especially as almost all contemporary venues insist on using their own catering in order to inflate the cost to the consumer. This dual nature of the service and bulk catering make the sum charged negotiable, as it is important to remember that venues will charge a fee much greater than the value of the service provided to maximize profit. By making a firm but realistic counter offer to the provider, an agreement can be reached to make the day more affordable to the couple while allowing a service provider to still maintain a profitable margin.
Remain Diligent and Financially Aware
Negotiating is the art of recognizing the core value of something, and paying a price as close that value as possible. By applying this particular concept to securing wedding services, and not being drawn into the romance and mystique of the overall day, a couple can realistically shave thousands off their wedding expenditure. Financial awareness in general, if utilized through the preparation and planning of a wedding day and ceremony, is the core factor to planning a cost effective wedding.
Financial awareness is a concept that features in the creation and implementation of a budget, and also the physical acts of buying goods and securing services. This awareness and comprehension needs to be applied to personal finance and also to the calculation of a products core cost and value. Throughout the process, this knowledge of figures and costs allow consumers to perform correct and sound financial decision making, and help to create the wedding day they desire at an affordable cost.