Tip of the Day #67: Insider Secrets to Scoring Wedding Discounts

Tip of the Day #67: Insider Secrets to Scoring Wedding Discounts The number one concern I hear about over and over is the crazy price tag on today's average wedding.  A little careful planning and wedding savvy will help you save big on your wedding expenses.  Here are our top tips for cutting costs on wedding expenses.

Attend Wedding Shows and Expos I know the stigma surrounding wedding expos is that they can be cheesy and overwhelming.  If you plan ahead, though, you can score serious deals.  Most vendors exhibiting at wedding shows offer deeply discounted packages or promotions for their products so make sure to speak with as many vendors as possible and add their business cards and marketing collateral to your swag bag.  If you really love a certain vendor's product or service, follow up after the event, sing their praises and try to negotiate a deal for your wedding.

Manage Your Subscriptions Whether you decide to subscribe to print magazines or use digital wedding planning tools, do some research before plunking down your credit card.  Websites like Retail Me Not offer discount codes for just about everything under the sun including discounted magazine subscriptions as well as free shipping on wedding-related products and services.  Many sites also offer free trial periods.

Something Borrowed There is no shame in taking "Something Borrowed" to the next level.  Don't want to shell out $8 grand for a new dress?  Ask to borrow a gown from a friend or family member.  Same goes for wedding decor elements and accessories.  Gently used equates to dollars in your pocket.

Enlist a Planner to Handle the Dirty Work Although it seems counter intuitive, a seasoned event planner will save you money in the long run.  Planners have existing relationships with vendors and will help to get you deals on rentals and wedding services.  In addition, a planner will have all of your "T's" crossed and "I's" dotted in a timely manner so you are not ordering materials last minute and paying a premium for shipping or rush orders.

When In Doubt, Turn to Etsy I cannot say it enough - I want to scream it from the rooftops!  I use Etsy for everything.  Wedding gifts, wedding favors, wedding invitations, wedding decor, wedding fashion.  You name it, Etsy has got it!  I particularly like using Etsy because you can read reviews of vendors and the vendors typically put tender love and care into crafting their custom products.

Buy Local To save on costs, you can buy flowers that are locally sourced and in season or buy online in bulk.  In addition, seasonal and local food items can help to keep your costs down.

Dress shopping I know that a lot of girls dream about the "Kleinfeld" experience for dress shopping.  Don't get me wrong - I love shopping and I love being pampered but there are SO many ways you can cut costs with dress shopping.  If you don't mind foregoing the luxurious dress shopping experience, stores like Off Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's and Lord & Taylor have great wedding dress sections with knowledgeable staff members.  You only wear your dress once so I am in the mindset that a wedding dress (even designer label) should not cost more than $3,000.  Use coupons, shop during sample sales and don't bring a big entourage with you.  You will 100% score a great deal on your dress and accessories with a little patience and creative shopping.

In addition, sites like Etsy and Ebay have deep discounts for brave online shoppers.  Designer sample sales are also a great option but I recommend popping a Xanax or two before embarking on a trip to a sample sale.  Ultimately the score on a designer dud will far outweigh the fight you have with another bride who has her eye on the same dress.

Don't Rent - Buy! Although this tip seems counter intuitive as well, sometimes it is actually cheaper to BUY event materials than to rent them.  Check out sites like Ebay and stores like Homegoods to source linens, chargers, floral vessels, props and accessories.  In return, if you do not need the materials after your event you can re-sell them on Ebay and make back part of your money.

Turn Re-Gifting Into an Art If you are engaged, you are probably in the midst of a handful of other friends' weddings.  As your wedding gifts start to roll in, pay careful attention to what you receive, what you really need and what you are willing to give up.  If you receive items in multiples or gifts that you know you don't need or won't use, re-gift them to other couples, return them to the store for credit or sell on websites like Ebay and Craigslist.  One man's trash is another man's treasure!

Beauty Blitz Let's face it, beauty treatments are expensive and time consuming!  Scour sites like Groupon and Gilt City for deals on hair salons, nail salons, spas and gym specials.  Most spas and salons will extend a special discount to you for large parties so be sure to mention that you plan on bringing in additional business to their establishment.

Piece of Cake Instead of using a fancy cake designer, many local grocery stores have in-house bakeries that create wedding cakes.  You will save on transport costs and inflated design fees by shopping local.  In addition, another trick of the trade is to create a small cake that is intricately designed and then serve your guests sheet cake from the kitchen.  None of your guests will ever know the difference!

Enlist Your Friends There is no shame in asking ofr help!  If you have a friend that is a skilled baker, artist, or someone who is a craft aficionado, let them help out!  Your guest will be excited to play a part in helping with your wedding and his or her service will help to keep costs down.

Get Creative Let's face it, flowers are expensive.  If you are watching your design budget, work with your planner or scour sites like Pinterst to find alternatives to floral centerpieces (petrified wood, fruits and veggies, props, candles, etc.)  The possibilities are endless!

Cash In On Credit Card Points If you're struggling to pay for your wedding, use existing credit card points or miles to help pay for your wedding and honeymoon.

The Internet Is Your Friend I always try to educate brides that they really have to do their own homework!  The Internet is teaming with all sorts of information - and discounts!  Scour websites of vendors you admire and search for discount and promotion keywords for vendors in your area.  Don't be afraid to be upfront about your budget and ask if a vendor can work with you to keep to the allotted dollar amount.  The worst the vendor can say is no.  Become a master negotiator and start clicking your way to savings!

What are your favorite wedding tips and tricks for saving money?  Share them with the WedInsider community!