For Richer, Not Poorer

Recently I was interviewed by a student at California State University as she was researching and writing a paper on wedding planning. I found out she received an A. Here is her article if you would like to read it!

Almost every girl dreams of her fairy tale wedding with her prince charming who

will sweep her off her feet and into the sunset. But what many don.t realize is that the

prince has a less-than-perfect bank account, and instead of swimming in a sea of love,

the couple will be drowning in a pile of debt once they arrive home. That is, unless the

lovebirds know how to budget their wedding expenses accordingly!

Between the “Yes” and the “I do” comes one of the hardest trials that a couple

may have to endure – the wedding planning process. Many fear this time because of

the stress, the drama, the arguments, and most of all, the spending. There are many

aspects of a wedding that require heavy expenditures, and one of the biggest problems

that couples face is the issue of a creating a sufficient budget and maintaining a steady

cash flow. Sometimes the stress of planning can lead to online couples counseling as they need

a professional to talk to about the new added stress to their lives.

At the beginning of the wedding planning process, couples tend to feel overly

excited about the endless supplies and services that are available to them. This often

causes them to make impulsive purchases on unnecessary things. Then as the day of

the wedding approaches, they find that they do not have enough in their budget to pay

for the things that they truly need or the services that they have already requested.

Sara Ambarian, a wedding consultant and author of the wedding handbook, A

Bride.s Touch, has certainly seen this happen to several of her clients. She says that in

order to prevent this, couples need to prioritize, and even compromise, what it is that

they want most out of their wedding.

“The thing that is most important to you – if it.s your gown, or if it.s a good meal

for your family, or if it.s a certain number of people on the guest list – you work with that

first and try and make everything else fit underneath it,” she said.

Tracie Morris, a certified wedding consultant, also emphasizes the importance of


“We [have to] evaluate, „Okay, what do you really want to make your wedding the

way you want it to be?.” she said.

When a couple is prioritizing as to where to allocate their spending, there are

many prospects that they need to consider. Following are some of the most important

aspects of a wedding that couples tend to focus on and tips on how to save money on



. Venues often have packaged deals for couples who want to host both the

ceremony and the reception at the same location. This gives the venue the

chance to cater for both. The guests will also appreciate not having to go through

the hassle of transportation and parking.

. Many venues also have special discounted prices for weddings held during off-

seasons or on a Friday or Sunday when there is not a lot of business.

Guest List

. Keeping the guest list limited to a small group of people will save money on the

amount of food needed to be catered, the number of invitations having to be sent

out, the number of party favors given, and so on. It will also allow the couple to

book a smaller, cheaper venue, if desired.


. There is a new trend for brides who want a fancy wedding dress without breaking

the bank. Many are beginning to consider preowned dresses from online stores

such as Josie Daga, the founder of the

company, stated in an interview that, “Six years ago, buying a preowned dress

wasn.t an option, but today it very much is. And brides smartly realize that they

can get the dress they really want – for 50% off of the retail! It is smart, it.s eco-

friendly, and it saves money.”

. More grooms and brides are starting to have their dresses sewn and their

tuxedos tailored by friends or family who are good with handiwork. This not only

saves them money on store-bought outfits, but it also gives them a one-of-a-kind



. One type of decorations that Ambarian strongly recommends for brides to look

into is silk flowers. These are artificial flowers (not necessarily made of silk) that

can be found at local arts and crafts stores such as Wal-Mart or Michaels. When

creatively crafted, these flowers become beautiful ornaments that may be used

as bouquets or centerpieces. They are also much cheaper and longer lasting

than real flowers.


. A secret that both Ambarian and Morris shared during interviews was having a

small wedding cake for display, and supplementing it with a larger sheet cake

with the same flavor to cut and serve. “Maybe we can get away with not spending

as much on an elaborate cake,” said Morris. “That.s a good way to shave off

some money if you just ordered those sheet cakes, and no one would know



. One of the biggest aspects of a wedding is the photography, and couples tend to

spend a lot of money on it to ensure the best quality for their memories.

However, it also takes out a huge chunk in their budget to hire professional

photographers or videographers. It is debatable whether couples should ask

friends or family members with good cameras to take pictures for them, but it is

certainly a cheaper alternative. There is also the creative option of giving guests

disposable digital cameras as party favors to use during the wedding and then

requesting that they send the photos afterward.

In today.s media, television shows and movies often feature extravagant

weddings at lavish locations worth a million bucks, but in reality, many couples cannot

afford such venues. However, it doesn.t take a million bucks to feel a million bucks.

More people are finding out that their dream wedding is still affordable, and although

love does cost a thing or two, couples may now proudly declare, “For richer, not poorer!”

Jennifer M. Vu

Green Campus Program – Public Relations Coordinator

Human Services Student Association – Event Planner

California State University, Fullerton