Friday, July 30, 2010

$$$ AND SENSE: SAVING YOUR GUESTS SOME MUCH-NEEDED CASH

Hi guys!

Having just started a new job and being 5 months pregnant (with a little girl!), I have been extremely MIA for a while, and I do apologize for that!

I wanted to get back into the swing of things and talk about finances, as I think that saving money for a wedding isn't just about saving money as the bride and groom-to-be. As a gracious bride, I always ask people to think about how they can keep their guests in mind as they plan.

It may not be as funny and witty as Letterman's Top 10 List, but I do want to give you guys a "Top" list of my own -- the "Top 5 Ways To Save Your Guests Money - And Help Them Maintain Sanity".

5. Choose your Location with Care. If you decide to get married in Tuscany (and most of your friends and family are in the United States, specifically, New York), you can't expect 100% of your guests to be (a) attending or (b) psyched to be attending. A destination wedding can cost at LOT of money for people, between airfare, hotels, and other travel expenditures. So when choosing your wedding location, choose with care. People are likely not able to afford a lavish trip, and doing your wedding more locally - while maybe not quite as exotic as the vineyards in Italy - will certainly save your guests some dough. Not necessarily a reason not to choose that destination, you say? Be my guest - just don't expect all your potential guests to be your guests!

4. No Cash Bars. I cannot speak more plainly. Just don't do them. If you can't afford alcohol, I sincerely believe it's better not to serve any liquor or beer at all. Enough said.

3. Black Tie Optional (Very Optional). A lot of men don't own tuxes. Whenever TallGuy hears that a wedding we'll be attending is NOT black tie, he breathes a little sigh of relief. Even though he has a tux, it's oftentimes crumpled in a ball in his closet, and to have to spend the time and money getting the entire thing cleaned is pricey and annoying. For those *without* tuxes, having to go out and rent one is a major expense. Cocktail attire, or even black-tie optional, on an invitation, gives guests a nice "out" - when a tux is not required, it is oftentimes provides financial relief to your guests.

2. Hotel Blocks or Other Hotel-Related Savings. If your guests will be traveling, definitely make sure that you have done room blocks at several different hotels in the area, in order to make sure guests will be getting discounted rates. And if you know of any good offers or savings your guests can take advantage of, send them along! That's what email is for, and conveying that information informally to your guests is always appreciated.

And, without further ado, the #1 Way to Save Your Guests Money:

1. Don't Overload Your Bridesmaids. There are SOOOOO many financial obligations that come with being a bridesmaid: (1) buying the bridesmaid's dress; (2) pitching in for the bachelorette party; (3) pitching in for the shower preparations; (4) buying the shower gift; (5) paying for extras like hair, makeup, and accessories for the big day.... the list goes on. Bridesmaids are asked to spend a LOT of time and a LOT of money for your wedding. My feeling is that a bride must do whatever she can --- i.e. buying her guests their bridesmaid dresses as their gift, or having a hand in suggesting cheaper alternatives for a bachelorette party -- in order to make finances a bit easier on the wallet.

I hope this list has been helpful and provided some food for thought. I know the pressures of keeping a budget in place for a wedding, so it's often difficult to think about what pressures your guests are feeling. But if you try to keep them in mind, you will also reap the rewards - by having a fun wedding that everyone truly enjoys!

Stay tuned!