8 Ways To Save On Wedding Costs and Avoid Debt

Today’s blog post ‘8 Ways To Save On Wedding Costs, Avoid Debt’ comes from Dawn Papandrea and creditcards.com.

save on wedding costs avoid debt

We recently posted an article with tips for funding your wedding where the topic of using your credit card was briefly touched upon. The following article by Dawn Papandrea goes further in depth on what to look for (and what to avoid) if you do choose to pay for any of your wedding with a credit card, as well as other great money saving tips.

Ask any soon-to-be bride about her wedding plans, and she’ll pull up elaborate Pinterest boards on her smartphone. With so many amazing ideas accessible at your fingertips, it’s no wonder why today’s engaged couples are under pressure to spend more than ever on their big day.

According to The Knot 2016 Real Weddings Study, the average wedding in 2016 cost $35,329 (and that’s not counting the honeymoon!). Besides rising prices, part of the reason may be the desire for custom guest entertainment has more than tripled, from 11 percent to 41 percent since 2009, with couples adding special touches, such as photo booths (78 percent), games (18 percent), musical performances (12 percent) and even fireworks (8 percent) to their events.

With good planning and creativity, however, it’s still possible to have a Pin-worthy wedding without going into debt (or over the top), as these experts reveal.

Take a look at some frugal chic strategies to help you save money on your nuptials:

1. Say ‘I do’ to credit rewards.
If you’re a couple with strong credit, the pre-wedding period is the best time to open a rewards credit card . “If you don’t have a credit card that offers hotel discounts, airline miles or other rewards you should get one,” says Anne Chertoff, WeddingWire’s trends expert. “I signed up for a cash back card before I got married and put everything on it from lunches to bigger ticket items like my photographer,” she says.

Some things to keep in mind: You’ll need a good to excellent credit score to qualify for the most generous rewards credit cards. When comparing cards, look for ones that align with your spending style, and that have good sign-up bonuses (you’ll have to spend a certain amount within a time frame, such as $1,000 in three months, in order to get them banked). Then, figure out what type of redemption will benefit you the most. If you don’t travel much, look for a card with points that can be redeemed for anything from rental cars, hotels, airfare or gift cards instead of one just focused on airline miles.

Here’s an idea: “You can use points to purchase gift cards for stores that carry products and supplies you might need to create the centerpieces for your wedding reception, or to buy bridal party gifts,” says Dawn-Marie Joseph, president of Estate Planning and Preservation, and founder of Williamston is Your Wedding Destination, a group of wedding vendors in Williamston, Michigan.

Of course, rewards cards only benefit you if you don’t carry a balance month to month. Once you start paying finance charges on purchases, you’ll cancel out your earnings.

If you can’t pay off the balance right away, you or your intended may want to look into getting a card offering an extended 0 percent promotional rate on purchases; just be sure you have a repayment plan set up to get the balance paid off before the promotional rate expires.

2. Minimize wedding-day travel.
If you find a venue that provides space for both your ceremony and reception, you can save a lot, says Sharon Naylor, author of 35 wedding planning books including “1001 Ways to Save Money and Still Have a Dazzling Wedding.” “For instance, your floral designer will only need to travel to and from one location, so that cuts down on their travel charges,” she says.

It might also mean that your photographer and videographer will spend fewer hours with you. Also, paying for an officiant is often less pricey than ceremony fees in a house of worship. Plus, if it’s all in one place, you can reduce your limousine costs, or maybe not hire one at all.

3. Scale down the food.
You don’t want to risk your guests going home hungry, but you might be able to lower the menu price per head by working with your caterer, says Naylor.

“You can skip the raw bar and just have seafood accents on some dishes, such as a lobster topping for the mac and cheese station. Or, instead of offering a buffet bowl of shrimp cocktail, have shrimp cocktail hand-passed by servers,” says Naylor. You can also opt for noodles, salads, pastas and other lower-cost selections and reduce the number of meat-carving stations.

For your cake, stick with simpler designs and classic cake flavors and fillings. “Some cakes triple in price when you opt for specialty ingredients,” says Naylor.

4. Fine-tune your flower budget.
“The majority of people don’t know how much flowers cost,” says Joseph. While she recommends going online to get ideas about the bouquet shape and colors you like, don’t get hung up on particular types of flowers unless they have a special meaning to you.

In fact, ask your florist to recommend “nonwedding flowers,” says Naylor. “Gardenias, stephanotis, callas and some other traditional bridal blooms cost a bundle. Your floral expert can suggest some blooms that are not only in season and more affordable, but are super-pretty and can often be acquired in larger masses for more effect,” she says.

Bonus tip: Bridal bouquets can pull double duty as centerpieces or to decorate the head table when placed atop clear cylinder bases or pedestals, says Joseph, and florists often have these inexpensive items on hand.

5. When it makes sense, do it yourself.
“A lot of people think they can save with DIY, but test before you invest,” says Chertoff. She’s seen many brides attempt to do their own wedding accents, and end up paying for professionally designed items at the last minute.

Here are some DIY dos and don’ts:

Do consider DIY favors. If you have an idea that’s nonperishable or can be done well in advance of the event, go for it. Whether it’s creating a custom USB of music or packaging up food that will last (like chocolates), you can find discount supplies and enlist your bridesmaids to help you package them up, says Chertoff.

But don’t … try to DIY anything that needs to be done during wedding crunch time. Making baked goods or trying to create your own bouquets the day of the event can turn into a disaster.

Do a DIY photo booth. Guests will have a blast if you put up a backdrop poster, and set up a prop table with a few selfie sticks (Etsy.com has lots of customizable and affordable ideas). Then, you can ask guests to use a custom wedding hashtag when they post photos so you can see them.

But don’t … try to get away with not hiring a professional photographer or videographer, says Naylor. “Your wedding photos and video become so much more important in the years to come. Hire a reputable pro, even if prices are higher than some hobbyists you may see advertising out there,” she says.

Do create your own signage. There are lots of great ideas online to create customized table seating cards, table numbers, and ceremony and reception signs. If you’re crafty and have the time, you can pull these off with low-cost supplies.

But don’t … think that doing invitations or programs on your own will save you money. “You might not be aware of just how much ink goes into your invitation, program and other print items until you get started, and by then it’s too late,” says Naylor. Still, there are large price variations based on types of paper and print processes, costs for inserts, and whether you bundle your invitations with your programs, so shop around.

6. Don’t be a designer snob.
For many brides, it’s all about the dress, but finding one that flatters you is more important than the name that is on the label. “There’s nothing wrong with looking at stores like David’s Bridal. Dresses are totally affordable and fashion forward. And high-end designers are creating selections that are stunning,” says Chertoff.

She also recommends shopping sample sales, but only after going dress shopping to try on different styles and see what you like. Otherwise, you’ll end up settling for a gown you’re not crazy about, and cave in to buying a second dress you find later on.

Although it’s unconventional, Joseph says it’s possible to save a lot of money by considering a consignment dress purchase, which is sometimes offered in her boutique, The Wedding Gallery. “I just took in a $2,500 ballgown dress in perfect condition – there’s not one bead out of place,” says Joseph. If you can get past the fact that the dress was already worn – literally for a few hours – you can save a lot.

7. Learn how to manage extras.
Many couples go over their wedding budget by at least 10 percent, says Chertoff. To not have to rely on credit cards, she recommends putting $1,000 into a do-not-touch fund for last-minute surprise costs – such as having to buy large umbrellas if rain is in the forecast, or items for guest hospitality baskets in the restrooms.

Of course, don’t forget that extras are optional. “Your wedding is not the last party you’re ever going to throw,” says Chertoff.

8. Read your contracts carefully.
Another way to get in over your head with wedding spending is by ignoring the fine print. “Make sure you know what’s included, such as if you have to pay extra for valet service; what the payment schedule is; and if credit cards are OK, or do they charge a processing fee,” says Chertoff.

A bit of haggling can go a long way, too. “Ask for a discount if you pay in cash, or are buying in volume,” Joseph says.

There’s no getting around the fact that planning an elegant affair is expensive, but by employing some of these frugal tactics and sticking to your budget, you’ll start your new lives together with not only a grand celebration, but on the right financial footing.

I hope you found this information useful! To see the original article, or for more of Dawn’s credit card tips/suggestions go here.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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For planning help and unique ideas for your wedding call or text me at 937-581-3647, or email me at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net!

3 Ways To Keep Your Wedding From Emptying Your Bank Account

Money-Saving Tips - 3 Ways To Keep Your Wedding From Emptying Your Bank Account

When it comes to the big purchases that you expect to make in your lifetime, there are few that spring to mind faster than your wedding day. With many weddings costing in the tens of thousands, many couples worry about how it’s going to affect their finances from the moment they start planning.

Which begs the question: does it have to be that way? Does a wedding have to be something that completely drains your bank account?

Of course not! The truth is that weddings have so many details and “moving parts” (ex. special decor, food, entertainment, photographers, etc.) a great deal of money is often spent. However, if you have a lower budget in mind, there are plenty of ways to help keep costs down for your big day. Here are 3 money-saving tips to help from emptying your bank account.

1. Keep things simple

One of the major things that causes weddings to be so expensive is when couples (and their parents) insist on inviting everyone – the co-workers, the second (and third) cousins they haven’t seen in years, the neighbor whose wedding they attended 5 years ago . . .

By keeping things simple and small with your wedding, you can save huge amounts of money. You don’t need to invite everyone you’ve ever known (the bigger the guest list, the bigger the price tag). Instead, just include the people that you really care about.

Another thing that can quickly cause a wedding budget to get out of hand is when couples go overboard on the endless details that they really don’t need.

Things like complex flower arrangements with imported flowers, an unusual venue, pricy favors, elaborate paper goods (such as menu cards and individual escort cards for each guest), and all kinds of decorations might be nice, but they don’t necessarily add to the specialness of your wedding when you get right down to it.

2. Try something different

Of course, if you want to get married without having to spend huge amounts of money then you could try something a bit different. Eloping is never going to be the most common or popular style of wedding but going away and having a quiet ceremony without too much fuss can be incredibly exciting as well as being easier on the wallet.

Think what you want about the stereotype around Vegas weddings, but places like the Little Church of the West offer lovely, intimate ceremonies that aren’t going to cost an arm and a leg. It’s certainly not going to be for everyone, but if you want a wedding that won’t be too expensive, then it’s at least worth considering.

3. Go the homemade route

Of course, if you really want lots of detailed decorations, food, and place settings, there is one thing that you can do instead of spending money on buying them or hiring someone to do them: make them yourself.

Taking a homemade route with your wedding can save you huge amounts of money. Just be careful that you aren’t planning on too many DIY wedding projects, which can end up making life more stressful and gives you a lot more work to do. Get your friends and family involved to help so that you’re not dealing with all of the work by yourself (you can “pay” them with a pizza lunch or dinner).

A lot of couples don’t like the idea of having to make compromises on their wedding plans because they feel like they won’t have a “real wedding” unless it has all of the bells and whistles. It’s important to remember that the most important part of any wedding is getting to promise yourself to the person you love most in this world. That’s what makes it a “real wedding.” As long as you have that, just about everything else is optional.

* This is a contributed post

I hope you found this information useful!

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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For planning help and unique ideas for your wedding call or text me at 937-581-3647, or email me at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net!

10 Easy (and Invisible) Money Saving Ideas

 

 

 

 

 

Planning a wedding requires more than just money. What gets remembered is creativity and the unusual that is meaningful to the couple.

We can help you plan a memorable event without putting dents in your budget. Here are some tried and true budget savers:

  1. Avoid peak season dates. Being married mid week instead of a weekend or in less popular months can save upwards of 20% off location costs.
  2. When you make adjustments to the guest list, make cuts in groups. For instance, if you are planning round tables that seat 8 or 10 guests, cut by that number or multiples of that number.
  3. Try to find a venue that hosts both ceremony and reception events in one place. Look for an all inclusive venue.
  4. Have a smaller wedding party (VIPs) – have two instead of six bridesmaids.
  5. Serve four appetizers instead of ten.
  6. 11 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding That Actually Work

  7. Have your photographer stop at a specific time. Tell him when the formalities are done and the party is underway rather than expect him to stay till the last guest turns out the light.
  8. Make a grand entrance or a grand exit but don’t pay a limo to stay for both.
  9. Consider earning extra cash to assist in paying for the wedding. Get a part time job, sell some items on EBay or Craig’s List. Don’t use plastic!!!!
  10. Save on postage by including a post card RSVP.
  11. Make choices based on your personal style – choose a cocktail party reception rather than hosting a sit down dinner.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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Do you have questions or are looking for unique ideas for your wedding? Weddings From The Heart can help. Contact me at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or by phone at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Photo credit: rich piggy via photopin (license)

3 Ways to Manage Your Wedding Budget and Cut Costs

wedding budget money

You do have a wedding budget established don’t you?

If not – stop right now and seriously work on it.

Establishing a wedding budget and sticking to it will help you organize, produce and deliver a wedding that is beautiful and yours. On the offside chance that you’ve gone over that budget in some area(s) here are some tips from experts on places to trim those costs.

  1. The guest list. The number of people you invite to your wedding will contribute to a major component of expense – the cost per guest measure. It is reflected in the cost of food, beverages, invitations, reception site and postage. One way to control those costs is to carefully watch the number of “plus ones” you allow. The basic rule is a simple one: If couples aren’t married or in a serious, long-term relationship, “plus ones” are optional invitees for the bride and groom. The same rule should apply to your wedding party and their potential “plus ones.”
  2. Feeding the band. If your dream is to have a band play for your wedding dance in place of recorded music, one place you can save some green is in what to feed the band. Yes, it’s likely that the band members be counting on grabbing a bite to eat before they play or something nourishing between sets – or both. But you don’t need to offer them the same sit down dinner you are serving your guests. Ask your caterer to provide a less expensive (and easier to handle) alternative.https://weddingsfromtheheartblog.net/2017/06/06/45-ways-save-money-wedding/
  3. There is no rule that says you need to have an open bar for guests at your reception. In fact, you can serve only beer, wine and punch or other non alcoholic beverage at your cocktails before dinner. Some couples have a signature cocktail as an additional surprise for guests, but no open bar will save you big bucks. Remember that it is your reception and if you don’t want alcohol served, that’s fine. You get to decide what you’ll serve. Most experts will agree that having a cash bar is a definite no-no. Guests are guests. That means that they don’t have to pay.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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To see how Weddings From The Heart can make your wedding day stress-free, enjoyable, and just the way you want, contact me at 937-235-2586, 937-581-3647, or jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net and schedule your free, initial appointment!

photo credit: MoneyBlogNewz via photopin

20 Easy Ways to Cut Your Wedding Budget Without Cutting Back On Style (#11 – 20)

Are you looking for ways to cut your wedding budget without sacrificing your wedding vision and style? Check out 11 – 20 of these 20 easy tips.

11) Use Non-Floral Elements in Your Decor

Vintage-Travel Themed Wedding Centerpiece

Non-floral items such as pinecones, twigs, berries and feathers are inexpensive ways to enhance your bouquets and other floral arrangements. Christmas bulbs, paper or fabric flowers, crystals, and seashells add inexpensive, but fun touches.

Bowls and vases filled with brightly colored seasonal fruits are fun and festive, but less costly than floral arrangements. For an Autumn wedding, try bowls of acorns or fall leaves.

12) Order Additional Cakes
Instead of having your wedding cake large enough to serve all of your guests, order one smaller display cake for pictures and your cake-cutting ceremony, and have extra cakes out of sight in the kitchen. You will save money since the ‘kitchen cakes’ aren’t as elaborately decorated. And once they’re all cut and plated, no one will be able to tell the difference.

11 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding That Actually Work

13) Have a Signature Cocktail
If you want to serve something more than just wine and beer, why not try a signature drink. You can choose a favorite cocktail, or try one that coordinates with your wedding theme – Pina Coladas for a tropical themed wedding or a Gin Gimlet for a Great Gatsby theme.

14) Shop Around for Your Bubbly
Champagne is a sparkling wine produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France. It’s a festive way to celebrate, but can get pricy. Check out this list of several sparkling wines that taste just as wonderfully, and cost less than $20 per bottle.

15) Beg, Borrow, (Don’t Steal!)

Borrowed Wedding Cake Topper

Special keepsakes such as a cake knife/server or toasting glasses are a nice touch, but in reality, after the wedding day most couples just end up putting these items in the attic. They never see the light of day again. Save some cash by borrowing your keepsakes and accessories from family and friends. You’ll also be getting your “something borrowed.” By the way, this little cutie was the same cake topper the bride’s parents had on their wedding cake!)

16) Keep Your Bridal Party Small
Keep the number of your attendants to a minimum. The fewer the people, the fewer attendants’ gifts, bouquets and boutonnieres you will need to buy.

17) Have Your Centerpieces Do Double-Duty

wedding cake centerpiece

Think about using an alternative to traditional flower centerpieces. Your wedding favors grouped together in a pretty bowl, or individual tiers of wedding cake on a cake pedestal make pretty centerpiece presentations.

18) Downgrade the Fancy Ride
Limousines definitely look elegant, but you’re only going to be in for a short time. You can save money by getting a town car instead of a 6-passenger limo for the bride and groom’s getaway at the end of the evening.

Or rent a premium or luxury vehicle from a car rental company such as Avis or Hertz – you can have it for the whole weekend for a cost comparable to a renting a limo for just a few hours.

19) DJ vs. Live Musicians
Simply put, DJs typically cost less than a live band.

20) More Music Money Saving Tips
For a ceremony and reception that are at the same location, consider hiring a DJ provide music for both. However, if you prefer live ceremony music, choose a smaller combo such as a guitar/violin duo or string trio instead of a quartet, then have them provide the music for the cocktail hour. On the other hand, if you want a live band for your reception, hire only the keyboardist for the cocktail hour.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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For more money saving tips and planning ideas contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Photo Credit: Use Non-Floral Elements: Washington DC centerpiece openField photography

20 Easy Ways to Cut Your Wedding Budget Without Cutting Back On Style (#1 – 10)

Are you looking for ways to cut your wedding budget without sacrificing your wedding vision and style? Check out 1 – 10 of these 20 easy tips.

1) Choose Flowers That Are In Season

wedding bouquets with flowers that are in season

Many popular and beautiful flowers are available year round. However, there are some — peonies and lilies of the valley, for example – that have a limited bloom season, and quite expensive out of season. So choose flowers that are in season.

Also consider using flowers with a similar look. Cabbage roses resemble the pricier peonies and are available year round. Other year-round flowers include: Carnations, Baby’s Breath, Sunflowers, Asiatic Lilies, Dendrobium Orchids and Spray Roses.

2) Put a Limit on the Alcohol Choices
You can save money by serving just wine and beer, instead of having a full open bar. Your guests will be happy and so will your wallet.

If your reception site allows you to bring in your own alcohol, purchase wine by the case as many places offer a case discount. You’ll pay your caterer a corkage fee to pour it, but wine purchased through him can cost twice as much. Most merchants offer a 10 percent discount for buying wine by the case.

3) Let Mother Nature Do Your Decorating

Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

Choose a naturally gorgeous site and save on decor – such as the well-manicured lawns of a country club, or beautiful gardens for outdoors, and an art gallery or historic home for indoors.

4) Have Your Flowers Do Double-Duty
Your ceremony floral arrangements can be re-used at your reception. Pew décor can dress up a seating card or favor table. Bridesmaids’ bouquets look pretty on the cake table. An altar arrangement is perfect sitting in front of the head table.

5) Offer Champagne for Just the Toasts
Only serve a glass to each guest for the toasts. Or just provide Champagne for the head table and parents only. The rest of your guests can toast with whatever they are drinking. Make sure you also offer some sparkling grape juice for the under-21 crowd.

6) Have Your Wedding Earlier in the Day
Breakfasts, brunches, and afternoon teas are delicious and fun, and they usually cost less than evening receptions. The menu usually consists of lighter fare which doesn’t cost as much as a typical reception dinner. Also, they don’t usually last as long as an evening event, so you may save some money on your venue; and people typically don’t drink as much alcohol earlier in the day, so the bar tab will be less.

3 Money Saving Tips Without Sacrificing Style for Your Wedding

7) Cake and Punch
A cake and punch reception can be quite inexpensive. This style of reception usually takes place in the late morning or afternoon, and is simple and elegant. You can change it up by serving several cake flavors and designs, and serve a festive punch. Here’s one of my favorites (which I found at Razzle Dazzle Recipes).

Tastes Like Champagne recipe

8) Avoid Costly Entree Choices
Instead of serving pricier entrees or cuts of meat for dinner, incorporate them into your hors d’oeuvres. You may love lobster, but it will be pricy to serve lobster tail to all of your guests. Instead, serve lobster puffs during your cocktail hour.

9) Have Your Cake and Eat It Too
Serve your wedding cake as dessert instead of ordering a wedding cake AND serving a separate dessert.

10) Simplify Your Wedding Cake
The biggest cost of a wedding cake is in the labor – so choose a less elaborate design. Use less costly embellishments such as ribbon or fresh flowers.

Tomorrow we’ll conclude with Tips 11-20.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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For more money saving tips and planning ideas contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Photo Credit: (Choose Flowers That Are In Season: Bridesmaids’ Bouquets) Brian James Photography

8 Money Saving Tips for Your Wedding Décor

If you need to save money on your wedding budget, your wedding décor is one of the first things couples think of. Here are 8 easy ways to cut costs, yet still have a gorgeous wedding.

1. Pick flowers that are available year-round. Not only are year-round blooms, such as roses, stock, & carnations more affordable, they also come in many different colors.

hydrangea centerpiece

2. “Something Borrowed” – borrow unique vases, bowls or pitchers. You’ll get a more personalized look, and save by not having to buy or rent vases.

3. Use bigger blooms. Larger flowers like hydrangea and peonies are money-saving since you’ll need less to make a beautiful arrangement.

simple floral centerpiece with pink peonies

3 Money Saving Tips Without Sacrificing Style for Your Wedding

4. “Go Green” – Save money by incorporating greenery into your arrangements. Eucalyptus, lemon leaf, or pittosporum are great fillers, and look great.

5. Have your arrangements do double duty. Reuse ceremony pew decor, altar arrangements and even your bouquets at the reception.

6. Instead of having a variety, only use one type of flower for all of your centerpieces. This allows your florist to buy in bulk, thereby saving you money in the end.

7. K.I.S.S. Choose simple arrangements such as a loose grouping of flowers, or just a few blooms in small bud vases instead of large labor-intensive, time-consuming centerpieces.

floral centerpiece in bud vases

8. Be open to the types of flowers used in your arrangements. Instead of insisting on a specific type of flower, tell your florist the colors and silhouette you want for your bouquet and arrangements and have him suggest budget-friendly options.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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If you want more ideas, or need help with your wedding plans contact me at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Photo credit (hydrangea): Melinda Young Stuart via photopin cc

5 Easy Ways to Save Money on Your Bar

Bar at a Wedding Reception

Most brides and grooms want to have alcohol served at their wedding. A cocktail or glass of wine, or maybe a cup of your favorite draft beer adds to the celebratory vibe of the day. But having a bar at your wedding reception can be pricy. It’s not unusual for the bar tab to exceed the food bill.

Follow these tips so you can have a fabulous wedding AND save money at the same time

1. Instead of a champagne toast, have your guests drink whatever beverage they already have.

2. Provide beer and wine only instead of a full bar with hard liquor.

5 Easy Ways to Save Money on Your Bar

3. If your venue permits, bring your own alcohol. Keep your eye open for sales or markdowns. Many places offer a 10% discount if alcohol is purchased by the case. Also ask about any return policies. Some places will allow you to return unopened bottles for full purchase price.

4. Tell the staff to ask before clearing any half-empty glasses.

5. Stretch what you’re serving. Serve sangria instead of simply a glass of wine. It’s festive, you’ll use less wine per glass, and can use a less expensive wine.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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Do you have a wedding dilemma or question you need answered? I’d love to help. Contact me at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Photo credit: Images by Christina