There's no doubt about it-weddings consume quite a bit of cash. For engaged couples, cash is a precious commodity since there are so many other things to budget for after the wedding such as: the honeymoon, the purchase of a house, apartment rental, living expenses etc.
In fact, on average, most weddings I've heard about nowadays can range between $20,000 to $200,000 or more. Of course, this is just a range, gleaned from feedback from visitors to www.trinidadweddings.com
The figures may vary, depending on the type of religious ceremony, wedding accoutrements chosen, reception venue costs and so on.
However, even with the escalating costs (prices can increase as much as ten to 15 per cent annually for some wedding services), it is still possible for couples who would like to go the more economical route and stick to a tight budget.
Here are some tips: Gown shopping
Check out the bridal classifieds online at www.trinidadweddings.com-from time to time, these classifieds feature gowns from brides whose weddings have been cancelled or from newly-weds trying to sell their attire at reasonable prices.
Go off the wedding racks. Search for a beautiful, white evening gown in place of a wedding dress or ethnic wear that's not located in the oftentimes pricey bridal section of stores. You may be surprised at what you find.
Spruce up an off the rack dress. A simple sheath dress can be a show-stopper if you can find the right person who can embellish it with your choice of pearls, crystals, the right touch of lace, a silk sash, elegant brooch or even fabric flowers.
Go shopping for bridesmaids' dresses after New Year's Day. Prices are usually much less than at other times of the year. Avoid shopping for bridesmaid dresses, fabric or shoes during graduation or the Christmas season, unless you can take advantage of sales.
Select a plain fondant wedding cake and let your florist decorate it with fresh flowers, leaves, vines or fruit.
Have chocolate or sponge cake layers. Although these will have a shorter shelf life, it will be a cheaper alternative to fruit cakes.
Use tiers of beautifully decorated cupcakes. This can double as dessert for your guests or they can be used as wedding favours.
Try to hire one person or company that does both hair and makeup. You will get a better package deal and sometimes, a more cohesive look.
Order a plain invitation from a company and decorate it yourself using paper punches, ribbon, charms, seashells, raffia, dried flowers, crystals, faux pearls, sequins or other baubles.
Can't afford a pricey decorator? Consider having the ceremony and/or the reception in a beautiful garden. You won't have need for much balloons, fabric or lights, since the natural ambience will suffice.
Need to save money on an escalating florist's bill? Then, buy your flowers from a wholesaler and your containers from a discount shop; and find a florist who will only charge you for arranging and delivering them.
Food and beverage
Book a venue that allows you to bring in your own liquor versus having to pay high bar prices, or settle for the venue's selection of beverage brands.
If you're having a small wedding, consider having your reception at a restaurant. You will avoid rental costs for tables, chairs, cutlery, and perhaps, if the restaurant is nicely decorated, you'll even reduce your own decorating costs, too.
Hire your photographer only for the important hours such as to cover the major ceremony and reception events.
If you would like to have a videographer but you find the prices a bit steep, enquire about going with one-camera coverage, instead of multiple cameras. Naturally, this will reduce the ability of the videographer to cover every detail but it will cut your costs.