Money-planning tips for every couple, from the strictly budgeted to the deep-pocketed
Wedding budgets are tricky. From music and food to invitations and table settings, there are dozens of components to consider. Not to mention, the costs of seemingly small details add up quickly, and last-minute additions and fluctuations only complicate things more. With their tips and money-saving tricks, experts weigh in on how to best allocate wedding dollars, whether you have $15,000, $30,000 or $100,000 to spend.Saying "I Do" on a Dime
The most effective way to slash a budget is by tackling the guest list. Reception costs typically account for 50 percent of the total wedding price tag, says Jennifer Kontomerkos, owner of The Finer Things Event Planning. "It's important to really decide who is a got-to-be-by-my-side guest. That'll trim off a significant portion," she says. "Remember that for every eight people you add, that's not just plates of food. That's a table linen, menus, place cards, centerpieces. Just do that math." Another way to trim is to find a venue that permits couples to provide their own alcohol. "That will save you thousands," says Sarah Selhorst, director of catering and sales for Bosc & Brie. "It's just like when you buy a bottle of wine-it'll cost less at the grocery store than at a restaurant because of the markup. Plus, you get to take home or even return what you haven't used."An About-Average Affair
For those with an average budget (in Columbus, that's $30,000), finding ways to save on details like centerpieces and flowers can create extra wiggle room. Kontomerkos suggests reusing ceremony flowers at the reception. Line the aisle with pillow boxes containing floral arrangements and move them to the reception hall to be used as table centerpieces. Making substitutions is another way to save money, Selhorst says. Instead of an "enormous centerpiece composed entirely of David Austin roses, we can do something in the same color scheme with dahlias for half the cost." Instead of a gold-embellished glass charger plate, opt for a gold acrylic one. Choose polyester table linens over satin. "Most people won't know the difference," she says. "It's the same color; it's just a different material."Going for High-End
If cost isn't a major concern when planning an extravagant celebration, lighting is a splurge-worthy way to change up your spaces. Incorporating dimmers and colors into a comprehensive lighting package adds a subtle touch of elegance and style to the reception. "Lighting can make all the difference in the world," Kontomerkos says. "It can really dictate the ambiance during the cocktail hour, dinner and dancing." High-end table linens, seat covers and fine china are other options for wowing guests.