1 Elegant Event's blog post are usually full of great pictures, but in light of the airing of the Wedding Confidential special that aired January 18, 2013 on 20/20 that pictured wedding professionals as untrustworthy, price gouging, people out to con more money out of engaged couples we decided to do a blog rebuttal. Don't worry it is very nice and very informative.
Rebuttal in italics written by: Cossie Crosswhite
National Event Speicalist and Owner of 1 Elegant Event Wedding & Event Planning Based in Mobile, AL
I wrote a rebuttal to this ABC special not to offend, but to set a few misconceptions straight.
To find out more about 1 Elegant Event Wedding & Event Planning Visit www.1elegantevent.com
The average wedding costs around $27,000, according to theknot.com. In Los Angeles, it's $37,000, and $65,000 in New York City. It's no wonder the wedding industry is a $30 billion behemoth.
It's common sense that such a special occasion -- involving venues, food, beverages and flowers -- wouldn't come cheap, but there are ways to realize your dreams at a price that works for you.
Watch the full story on "20/20: Wedding Confidential" Friday at 10 p.m. ET
(This aired Friday January 18, 2013)
1. Strive for Fun, Not Perfection
"The industry sort of tries to encourage you to have the 'perfect' wedding," said Denise Fields, the co-author of "Bridal Bargains." "Instead, we try to tell people, you need to have a fun wedding, because perfection just doesn't exist. In that striving for perfection, there's this tendency to think that money will get you exactly what you want."
Yes we do believe that couples should strive for fun and nothing is ever perfect but if you hire an experienced wedding planner who is entrenched in there field and knows many professional experienced wedding professional to fit into the budget parameters you set at the beginning of your process, you can have a fun, near perfect dream wedding that you are wanting. Having your cake and eating it too!
2. Pick Your Season
The most expensive time to get married is summer. "If you get married in April, that's the off-season, and you can save 20, 30 percent," said Alan Fields, co-author of "Bridal Bargains." In addition, flower prices fluctuate widely. Roses are outrageous in February; tulips can be pricey in their off-season, which is summer. To stay on budget, stick to in-season blooms.
We also tell couples, to pick wedding colors and not wedding flowers! Many of the floral designs pro-traded in platiumplatinum wedding photo's can and have been recreated with less costly flowers without the look of the design suffering. This can cut 100's of dollars off per centerpiece!
3. Avoid "Wedding" Shops
"Don't shop at stores that have 'wedding' [or 'bride,' etc.] in their name," Alan Fields said. "You can find lots of wedding-related products at other places. I mean, even Costco sells engagement rings."
"White shoes are white shoes," added Denise Fields. "Why do you have to buy them at a bridal shop? You can buy them at PayLess."
This is true when trying to save. Know one knows wear your ring was bought, maybe not even you. Cosco offers a great selection and high grade of wedding rings and bands at phenomenal prices! The only thing you should really purchase from a wedding specific store is your Bridal Gown. By buying your gown in a bridal store and looking for deals check out the sample sale gown area which has gowns at great percentages off. Almost every bridal store has one (even Kleinfields).
4. Don't Succumb to the Mercedes Syndrome
Don't drive your fancy car and wear your designer clothes to your vendor appointments. "We've actually spoken to florists, for example, who say that the price of flowers that they quote to a bride can change depending on what the bride drives up in," said Denise Fields. "Take the bus!"
While this may be true for some wedding vendors, we at 1 Elegant Event pride ourself as an upstanding wedding planning service who keeps a track on the prices of the vendors in our area. We make our clients appointments for them and sit with them at the appointments acting as their advocate and sometimes negotiator of prices to make sure our clients get the best possible price available for the things they are wanting. We keep our vendors records updated regularly and are able to do this because of the relationships we have built with our wedding community.
5. Check Your Emotions at the Door
"Any time you throw emotion into the mix, things can go wrong," said Alan Fields. Realize you are vulnerable and don't let a salesperson convince you to spend more than you can actually afford.
As wedding planners, many feel very uneasy able how up front we are about getting clients to tell us their budget parameter. We can not be your advocate and negotiate to get you your ideal wedding if we do not know up front if the dreams you have can anyway be brought to life in the budget you have. Creating a realistic budget for your wedding from the beginning and hiring a planner that will keep you in that budget while being upfront with you on what you can afford and what may need to be modified will keep you from being vulnerable to up-selling by other wedding vendors.
6. Nix the Engraving
According to "Bridal Bargains," it costs $700 or more for engraved invitations. Thermographed ones are 50 to 70 percent cheaper and look just as elegant.
Shop around period for invitations. You can even buy invitations from department stores that I have seen in the invitation catalogs and have your local copy center print them for you. Also if you have a great printer at home or (at work, but you did not hear this from me) you can print them yourself.
7. Do Lunch
According to "Bridal Bargains," you can save 30 percent or more on your reception by serving lunch or brunch instead of dinner. Save even more money by having an afternoon reception with cake and light hors d'oeuvres.
While that may seem like a good idea, a full meal is actually cheaper than several different hors d'oeuvres. Caterers will charge you $4 - $12 per person (and this is on the low end) for each type of appetizer you may want and many want at least 5 or 6. For that $24 - $70+ per person you can have at the least a basic 1 meat, 2 veggie, 1 starch, house salad, bread, fruit and cheese tray and veggie tray without looking as though you are having cocktail hour without dinner or lunch.
8. Park It
According to "Bridal Bargains," many cities and towns rent out parks and other civic-owned sites for wedding receptions at affordable rates. A city park clubhouse might rent for $125, while a comparable private site would be $750.
This is true, also your parks department may also own Historical homes and rent them for that price and nice community centers have big , blank open spaces to rent with table and chairs included, and they usually have nice kitchens for caters to use.
9. Deal to Die For
The Fieldses suggest you check out funeral homes for the best deals on limousines. Many have limos that sit idle on weekends, available to rent out at good prices.
While this may seem like a good idea, if they get a last minute rush on funeral (because they cannot predict how many people will die that week) they will cancel you maybe a day or a week before your wedding leaving you stuck without transportation. I know this, because a client couple tried this and our company had to pull a in a few favors to reserve a limousine 4 hours away.
10. D.J. Over Band
Instead of a live band, hire a disc jockey. Denise and Alan Fields say bands can cost $1,000 to $2,000, while a D.J. can cost as little as $400 for four hours, can play a wide variety of music -- Sinatra for the Father-Bride dance, James Brown for when the party really gets going -- and doesn't take breaks.
Dj's are great, and a very inexpensive option for wedding entertainment. I would not recommend the cheapest DJ at $400 unless you had seen them in action at another event. While many can just play music, and good professional will play the right music that you suggested to them in your play list given to them weeks in advance to insure that they have what you are wanting. Also a great DJ will have your first dance and other special music queued up so when its time, it is available and have ways to get the crowd up when the dance floor is clear.
11. Be Nice
"Be nice" is the main suggestion from "The B-----less Bride," a wedding planner who provides incognito etiquette advice to brides-to-be on her website. "[For amiable clients] I've been known to throw in top-shelf booze, upgrade the wine...get special linens," she said. "We just want to go the extra mile for the people that treat us with respect."
Being nice does get you far , we have been known to go the extra mile when we can and get things for our couples items or upgrades they really wanted and could not afford, so we pull some strings and surprised them at the wedding. Also being a mean girl may keep many wedding vendors from wanting to do business with you at all. Your local wedding industry is in essence a very small community of professionals and word does get around quickly.
12. Ask Away
"You have to ask the right questions," suggests The B-----less Bride. "You have to ask at the venue, 'Is this inclusive or exclusive of tax and gratuity?' Because if you don't ask that question, you're tacking on between 27 and 30 percent."
When going to venue meeting tours or signing the contract for venues, the venue coordinator as policy reads with you the contract you are about to sign and discusses the fees, taxes and gratuity and then asks you if you have any other questions before said contract is finalized and signed. You should not have any confusion of venue pricing and fees unless you are cold calling for quotes over the phone.
"You absolutely should negotiate," said The B-----less Bride. The venue is the most negotiable expense, she said. But "you have to know when to stop," she added. "You can't expect to pay medium prices for a high-end product."
Many venues will not negotiate the price of their venue but will negotiate on the extras like rentals if offered, bar pricing, catering etc. If the venue does offers catering, bars and etc owned by them that the couple has to use as part of the rental, they may wave the room cost when a certain budget level of the other items are meet.
14. Get It in Writing
Chris Evans, the founder of Evans Sales Solutions, trains wedding professionals to grow their business. "You want to get everything in writing," he said. "I mean, every single thing. And anybody who won't put it in writing, run."
This is true. Make sure you have copies of everything and make any and all changes in writing or if you have hired a wedding planner they will have copies of all of your receipts and contracts on hand for you to view at anytime in your wedding planning process.
15. Get References
"And don't just take the ones they give out," said Evans. "If you're looking at images in a [photographer's] book, you say, 'What's her name and what's her phone number, I'm going to call her.'"
This may seem like a good idea, while wedding professionals keep a list of number of references to call they keep these because many do not have any other services to refer to the past clients to keep up with changed contact information. A great idea is to call other random wedding professionals in that area not in their field to see what they say or heard about that vendor. (If they are a photographer call a florist or wedding planner about them or if they are a wedding planner call caters or photographers to ask about them and so forth.) Other wedding-related vendor tend to be honest about who they refer and do not refer because they do not want anyone's with a bad reputation staining their image.
16. Less Is More
Don't be afraid to edit down your jewelry, for instance. Julie Sabatino is the owner of The Stylish Bride and The Stylish Dresser, a bridal fashion styling company. "Earrings highlight your face more than a necklace," she said. "Pick one piece and make it your statement." Consider skipping the handbag as well. "Some of my brides like having a handbag," said Sabatino, "but others find they don't even use it."
Less is more , even when you look at the celebrates on the red carpet many opt out of necklaces. Do concentrate on a great pair of accent earrings and you only need a purse to hold touch up face power and lipstick unless you hired a make-up stylist to be with you all night. Even though your dress may be long people will and do see your shoes. So if you like splurge on them or at the very least make sure they are very cute while being comfortable.
17. Rent A Dress
Julie Sabatino specializes in helping brides select their dream designer dress. If you are determined to have a designer dress on a tight budget, she says one idea is to rent a wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses. "It saves your wedding party some money," said Sabatino.
While renting may be an option, going to a sample sale, tag sale, upscale consignment stores, on-line and at Discount Luxury Designer wedding gown outlet stores like “Vows”, you can purchase your luxury gown for the price it may cost to rent. Then you can sell it a week after the wedding to the next cost saving bride. Also with bridesmaids gowns, try your local Upscale department stores like Macy's, Dillard's, Von Maur. They sell formals all year in many sizes, carry the same product all over the US for your out of state maids to find, and offer incredible sales and coupons!
18. Build Up a Plain Dress
"A great way to save money is to buy a more plain dress and then accessories it," suggested Sabatino. "With a simple nice blank canvas, you can add your spin and style -- adding belts, accessories, a really cool hairpiece."
Adding a great bridal belt, a cool hair piece, adding applicate or brooches to plain wedding gowns styles will upgrade your dresses look if that is what you are wanting, but just because you picked or see a plain dress does not mean the tag on it will be cheap. Also make sure you look at the tag of the bridal belt or other accessory because while it may look like a perfectly innocent belt or brooch it could cost you well into the $1000+ for each!
19. Cheaper May Cost You
Don't buy a wedding dress just because the price is attractive. "There are people who buy something wrong for them for the price," said Sabatino. "Then they hate it and have to get another." Even if you keep it, that inexpensive dress might require pricey alterations.
This a a very true statement and should not only be for wedding attire but this policy should carry over into your own wardrobe. Just because it is cheap you do not need to buy it if its going to sit in your closet unworn or if it looks really bad on you! Aways try it on first, because these super sale items are usually non refundable items!
20. Quality Not Quantity
If you can't afford a top photographer for your entire wedding day, hire one for less time. Jason and JoAnne Marino, destination-wedding photographers for imaginephotoaz.com, said it's important to hire a photographer you trust and whose company you enjoy -- even if it's for less time than you wanted.
"Maybe we can't get the early-morning wedding photographs or the drunken antics after the reception," said Jason Marino. "But we'll get the meat of what is going on."
I so totally agree with this! Never ever skimp on the photographer the holder of all of your wedding memories. Hire the best photographer you can possibly afford and just cut down the time they will be there. Then to get all of the “ early-morning wedding photographs or the drunken antics after the reception” as Jason Marino stated, get everyone to download one of the many free or low cost phone apps that consolidate all of you guest pictures into one big wedding album to print or view for years to come.