If you’re a soon-to-be bride, you’ve probably noticed that it’s wedding expo season.
But before you grab your BFF, MOM and HTB (husband-to-be) and head to one of the many wedding extravaganzas over the next few weeks, heed these money- (and sanity-) saving tips from celebrity wedding planner David Tutera.
Tutera, host of We TV’s “My Fair Wedding” and his upcoming “Dream Bigger Tour,” travels the country talking to brides. Their No. 1 question: How do I have the wedding of my dreams without breaking the bank? “It is the question consistently asked,” Tutera said by phone.
While industry figures for the cost of weddings have increased overall, the average price of individual weddings is down from $32,000 to $22,000, he said.
And though many people see the grandiose weddings Tutera plans on his television show, what they don’t see are the ones he plans for folks on a budget.
Atlanta brides (and Southern brides in general), he said, tend to be more traditional. They typically have longer lead times to plan their weddings – at least 12 months – and more time to plan may mean more time to save.
Tutera has a few suggestions for using your planning time wisely:
• Simplify. “Simplifying the details doesn’t mean you’re doing a less than over-the-top wedding,” Tutera said. It means getting the details just right and not overspending on things that are not as important to you.
• Less (money) can be more. “I just did a wedding a couple of months ago that was $2.5 million,” Tutera said. “It was an amazing wedding. Have I done weddings that are a teeny percentage of that that were better? Absolutely.” It is not about the money, he said, it is about the energy of the event.
• Trim the guests. “If you have 150 guests, really look at the list and see if you can scale it down to 100,” he said. His rule of thumb? “When you look at the photos in 10 years, will you know who these people are?”
• Downsize the drinks. Choose a specialty drink and serve wine and prosecco instead of champagne, he said. But never have a cash bar. “I never have cash on me, so I would be (very upset),” Tutera said.
• Cut the cake. Do you need a $2,000 cake? Really? Maybe you and your HTB met over ice cream – have an ice cream bar and a small cake instead, Tutera said. Which brings us to ...
• Be a trendsetter. The biggest trend going forward is being you and not copying someone else, Tutera said. “(Couples) get lost in all the craziness. They are so blurry-eyed by too much information, (the wedding) loses the personality of who they are. If you can remind yourself that there are two of you and you need to tell the story of who you are as a couple, you set the trends.”
• Get the right dress. Tutera launched a line of bridal gowns to address one of the biggest problems in the industry: “Girls don’t have a good place for solutions. They go to the places that have the worst product,” he said. “Brides now more than ever are doing this without their moms. They don’t know fashion; they don’t know their body types.”
• Take advantage of bridal shows. The shows are a great place to understand industry pricing and learn what you don’t want, Tutera said. They can be overwhelming, but if you weed through and find a vendor you fall in love with, it is well worth the time.