If you’ve begun to research reception venues, photographers, and other “high-ticket” items on your wedding to-do list, you’ve undoubtedly experienced a good case of sticker shock by now. You may find yourself thinking: “How can they get away with charging this much?!!”
It’s a fact. The wedding industry is huge, and anything with the word “wedding” attached to it is likely to mean “expensive”.
So is it feasible to hire a photographer who doesn’t necessarily focus on weddings, or a band that wouldn’t be found in your local bridal magazine? Absolutely!
To get started on this road less traveled, begin by asking recently-wed family, friends or colleagues for any good wedding leads. Perhaps they’ll know of a fabulous bakery that was less expensive than all the larger ones in the area. Or an art student who just graduated from college and is looking for work as a calligrapher. Maybe there’s a friend of a friend who’s an aspiring photographer and would be able to capture fantastic wedding photos for you on your big day.
Next, move your research online and check out the local wedding chat boards in your area at TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com. Look for posts like “Rave Reviews” and “Highly Recommended” – and be sure to also take note of any vendors that received negative reviews from other brides and grooms. Another excellent free resource is Craigslist.com. Musicians, photographers and other artists post their services regularly here in areas across the country. If you see a post that catches your eye, just send a quick email to the poster to get more information, or submit your own ad describing exactly what you’re looking for.
Finally, head to Amazon.com or your local book store and buy at least one good wedding planning book. This will be your trusty reference book and will help you know just which questions to ask, so that you can make an informed decision about a particular wedding vendor. For example, knowing the various costs that are typically associated with catering will allow you to ask for only the items you NEED, and avoid paying for anything you don’t. In fact, knowing a bit about each type of wedding service vendor – caterers, musicians, DJs, etc. – will actually help save you money no matter which vendors you talk to, “professional” or not.
With a little outside the box thinking and basic knowledge about the “biz”, you’re on your way to pulling together a fantastic wedding day that may just cost you less than you think!