We’re in a recession after all. It may not seem like it when you still see scores of people (ok, they’re all from the Motherland) queuing up to buy Chanel handbags or when restaurants are fully booked more than a month in advance, but we have to face the fact. You cannot afford to celebrate like it’s 2006. Sorry to hit you with the hard truth. Having said that, it doesn’t mean your wedding has to be a non-event because there are so many ways to save and still make it memorable. Hey, the most important thing is you’re getting married to your true love, not whether your table flowers are the perfect colour, right? So, here’s how to cut costs.
1. Hold your ceremony and reception at the same location. Not only will you save money on hiring two venues and on transport, you’ll also save on the stress of figuring out how to get everyone from Venue A to B. One extra tip, if the ceremony is right before the reception, you’ll also make sure that the dinner can start on time as most of your guests will have attended the ceremony. You know, HK people love to arrive fashionably late.
2. Hold your wedding on a weekday, in the Summer or during the day. Some guests might moan about having to attend a wedding on a school night but it’s impossible to keep everyone happy. HK Summers are hot and humid so fewer couples choose this season to get hitched but if you’re going to have it in the ballroom anyways, who cares what the weather is like outside?
3. Re-use the flowers from your ceremony and the bridesmaids’ bouquets for your reception. You may want to keep your own bouquet for sentimental reasons. Honestly, who will remember what your flowers looked like?
4. Skip having a wedding band during the reception and use your iPod to play music or hire a DJ who is a lot cheaper (you’re paying one person as opposed to five member of a band. When guests are eating and talking, they’re not going to care what the background music is. Just make sure you’ve chosen neutral songs, not some heavy metal music that’ll send the older guests’ hearts racing or opera music that’ll send the young ones to sleep.
5. If the venue (in HK, it’s most likely a hotel) includes table flowers in their package, use it. If not, be imaginative with your table centre-pieces. Skip the flowers and decorate with plants that guests can take home as wedding favours, mini-dessert table bar so guests can indulge however and whenever they like or old ‘empty’ wine bottles if you’re a wine aficionado. Remember, there is no right or wrong way.
6. Many production houses encourage the couple to set up a photo backdrop or stage even in the reception room. Tell them no and use the money you saved on the lighting instead. It’ll instantly transform the mood.
7. Leave out the pre-wedding photos. Why would you want to trape around in a rental wedding outfit in the whole of Hong Kong or even worse, in the middle of the piazzas in Europe with a forced, exhausted smile whilst strangers stare at you, just so you can tell others how much money you can spend?! Shouldn’t the most important and special photos be ones that are taken on your wedding day, candid shots that truly portray your happiness?
8. Have just one Maid of Honour and one Best Man and skip having any bridesmaids or groomsmen. That doesn’t necessarily mean you only have one best friend and if they’re really your friends, they’ll understand. Less outfits to pay for is a good thing. Get your friends to do some readings at the ceremony or plan your hen night or stag do. That way, no one will feel left out.
9. Save costs and save the environment. Send paperless save the dates and invitations. You can use online sites such as Cocodot or Paperless Post or even create your own video. Be creative.
10. Buy your dress on sample sales or online. Most often than not, you’ll shed a few pounds and the dress will need to be tucked in anyways so whether the dress fits at the time of purchase doesn’t make much difference.