Weddings can be quite expensive. Some people have to save for years and some people have to max out their credit cards. Since weddings have become so depersonalized and indistinguishable some people are choosing to have either small personal weddings and or weddings in which they know most of the people serving as vendors. One way to lower the price tag of your wedding and make it more personal is to hire people you know to help. You probably know a few people with talents, like a cake decorator or a photographer. Often when you hire a close friend or family member you can pay less for their service. You also may feel more comfortable with your aunt as DJ because you know she is funny and really knows music or your best friend’s mom as the caterer because she made the best food every time you visited as a kid. But you do have to be aware of the problems that could come up. If the person doesn’t do a good job it could damage your relationship. Make sure not only that the individual providing the service is excellent in their special field, but also that they are a responsible person. Talk to others they have worked with and for. Also look at, listen to, or taste examples of their work.
1) Cake. If you know someone who makes cakes you can save a lot of money. Depending on the ability of the baker you could get a large professional looking cake made with fondant, a thick sugary paste, that could be shaped into anything, such as ribbons, flowers, or other three dimensional designs. Some cake decorators are artists. If you know someone who is an advanced artist with fondant have them make a unique idea like a Lego or Dr. Who cake for a Geek Wedding or a stack of books cake for a literary wedding. But most likely your baker may not have these talents. There are many ways to have a beautiful cake even without cake decorating skills. Fresh or faux Flowers, Pinecones, dainty plastic pearls, fruit or berries all make great cake toppers. Make sure the person you hire can make a cake to feed all of your guests. If the person can’t make a big cake you could opt for several small cakes with different creative flavors or even cupcakes which are becoming more popular. While the look of the cake is sometimes more important to a bride, it’s still good to taste the cake. The guests are going to want a cake that tastes good.
2) DJ or Band. Make sure the DJ or band has, or has access to, all the right equipment. Make sure they know what they are doing. If it is a DJ make lists of some of the songs you want played and let them know what genres of music you want and do not want played. Also decide if you want the DJ to play requests. Guests might like this, but on the other hand songs that you, and probably others guests, don’t like may be requested. If hiring a band, make sure they play the type of music you like. Decide if you want them to only play cover songs or if you want them to play their own music.
3) Venue. The Venue can be quite expensive. The least expensive option would be to use the back yard, or even the house of someone close to you. This would probably only work for small weddings. Make sure to ask the person about decorating. Don’t assume they will decorate. You can decorate, have the person help, or better yet, have several of the wedding party do it the morning of the wedding. If you want the wedding in the backyard make sure to have an alternate plan in case it rains. Though you have probably invited trustworthy guests to the wedding you won’t know all of the plus-ones so it would be best to advise the person providing the venue to lock up their valuables.
4) Catering. Catering is also one of the most expensive parts of the wedding. If you are having a large or formal wedding you will probably want to hire caterers. But having someone you know cater the event will not only save money, but will make the event more homey and personal. A buffet may be easiest for a small wedding. Knowing the caterer may provide the bride and groom with more options than hiring a caterer would. You can choose a menu that fits with your theme, like Caribbean food for a beach theme, or pumpkins and squashes for an autumn theme.
5) Photography. I have spoken to several people who were disappointed, after having people that they knew take pictures at their wedding. One person never got their pictures back and another got pictures back that were blurry. Wedding pictures are possibly the most important part of a wedding and it is one of the most important days in the couple’s life. Be wary of getting pictures taken by a friend or family member. But if you do have a very trustworthy person in your life, who has a great talent for photography, it can save you a lot of money. It can also give you more of a say in what your want from a photographer, and give you more freedom in how you will be able to use your pictures. Some photographers give you a disk of your pictures to look at online, but you are not legally allowed to use them online for social media or other purposes. Also, get an estimate of when the pictures will be ready.
With a team of vendors you know, your wedding can be unique and personalized, as long as you make sure the vendors are talented and reliable.
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