This weekend my wedding planner dragged me downtown for a bunch of vendor appointments she had scheduled. I was totally apprehensive about these meetings, to say the least.
First of all, I am not a hands-on bride. Send me some pictures, throw in a Skype conversation, and I am good to go. For example, I haven’t tried on a single wedding dress yet–and I don’t plan on going shopping anytime soon either. I bought my dress online from Etsy.com and that was the end of gown searching for me.
I just don’t need an in-person meeting. Maybe I’m a bit of a troglodyte, but my confidence in your abilities is not improved with a face-to-face. In fact, I think I am more likely to enjoy your company if we converse mostly through electronic correspondence. Wedding planning is stressful enough without taking me out of my my element!
Secondly, and most relevant to everyone, I was worried about spending money on gas to drive up to Toronto and parking (ew). We ended up spending around $30.00 for the entire day, so that was a bit of a downer.
Top Five Ways to Score Cheap Wedding VendorsOkay, here’s the juicy wedding insider information you’ve been waiting for: how to get cheap stuff. Or, in particular, how to get cheap wedding vendors.
1. Go to a wedding showWedding shows are probably one of the most popular ways to score free swag and scope out deals for vendors. Brides usually get in for free, or heavily discounted prices, and the savings are completely worth the trip. One of the biggest savings I scored this year from the wedding show was a $40 dollar off coupon (for each groomsmen tuxedo rental) and a free tuxedo rental for the groom from Moores. Not too shabby! We’ll end up saving around $360 on attire alone.
2. Bring in your friends
If you are lucky enough to have talented friends, you can commission out some of the wedding roles to them (if they’re willing). A friend is less likely to overcharge you for their services, and they’re more likely to throw in extras too. Another nice thing about suckering in your friends is: they know you and they probably know your vibe. This dynamic can go a long way in making your big-day feel more personal.
Our disc jockey, wedding planner and florist were all friend hook-ups. I can’t even describe how awesome it’s been so far knowing your vendors have more than just a financial reason to keep you happy.
3. Trust a newbieI think 4 out of 5 of my main wedding vendors are complete beginners. Most of them have just started in the industry and for one or two, I am their first wedding ever. I know this sounds like terrifying, but it’s saving me a fortune.
Once a vendor gets established in the market, their prices, consequently, start going up. You, the buyer, will likely find most of your vendors at this stage in their career if you go through a web search or the wedding show. At this point, they are too expensive. Trust me.
My advice is to check colleges in your area and get in contact with professors/teachers for any of the wedding-type courses. Mention that you are a newly engaged person and that you are looking for fresh meat (or new talent). Some vendors are even willing to do your wedding at cost and, since they are trying to build a portfolio, they will go the extra mile to make your day even more awesome. Mutual benefits for all!
4. Help a vendor out (do-it-yourself)Some vendors are awesome and will let you cut costs if you’re willing to do some of the work yourself. This is especially true when it comes to decorations. If you are able to provide your own props, vases, vessels, typewriters or armchairs–you can save a bundle by not having to rent them.
My florist/decorator is going a step further and even doing the DIY for me. All I need to provide are the materials. He loves crafts, so it’s almost like I’m doing him a favour. Almost.
5. Ditch vendors all-togetherThe best way to save money on your vendor is to eliminate the vendor completely. Do you really need a videographer to capture your big day? Or will you love your Uncle Tom’s home-video recording just as much? Not big on flowers? Use balloons or paper windmills instead.
You might not need a wedding planner. Coordinating your own wedding, while seemingly the bravest thing on earth to me, is actually not all that hard for the organized person. My best friend planned her own wedding and thus saved $500 more than me on that vendor.
As always, this is a personal choice. I am not suggesting you axe all your vendors and commission your Roomba and pet dog instead. Basically, my gist is, if there is something you can do without: I say, do without. On the flip side, some vendors will be worth their cost and more because of the value they add to the wedding. Hold onto them for dear life.
How I snagged (mostly) free onion rings
After opening the fast food flood gates on Thursday at McDonalds (and with office sponsored KFC lunch on Friday), I figured it was only fitting to keep the greasy train going. Not wanting to spend any money though, I set out for a DIY alternative.
Lucky for me, I came across Joe’s blog, Timeless Business, just in time for the weekend. Just recently, he posted a totally radical entry about making his own onion rings. Isn’t that just swell?
I thought so, at least.
In fact, I was so inspired, I decided I would bite the bullet and try it out for myself.
How much did these free onion rings cost?I didn’t have to buy anything to make these onion rings, so they were kind of FREE. Just a little bit.
If you actually add up the cost for making these though, it’s still pretty low.
Onions x 2 $0.12Oil (1 quart-ish)
$0.20Flour (1¼ cup)
The price of onion rings varies from restaurant to restaurant in Canada, but on average a medium package (5-8 rings) can cost anywhere from $2.00 to $5.00. For the sake of figuring out mark-up, let’s just say $2.30 (tax in) to be conservative.
It cost me a total of $1.68 (not including electricity) to make 50 onion rings. If I were to purchase 50 onion rings in store, it would cost me around $15.00.
As much as I love onion rings, I doubt I would ever purchase that many in one go. To level the playing field, I calculated the cost of making a single order of onion rings; it came to $0.27.
These took me approximately 25 minutes to make (cooking time included), and that is roughly 5 minutes longer than it would have taken me to drive to the nearest fast food joint.
Now that we’ve got some common denominators, we can finally calculate that we saved $2.03 by making our onion rings at home.
Two bucks is a lot of cash! Especially if you’re easily blinded by the Onion Ring Effect.
I’ll be checking out more DIY options in the future; things just taste better when they’re free*