Planning a wedding on a tight budget can be a difficult task, as costs associated with categories like catering, flowers, decorations, photography, and videography can all add up. If you're finding that you're on track to spend more than you planned to (or perhaps can afford to), it's important to reassess costs. According to Shannon Leahy, a Los Angeles-based wedding planner asking the right questions can ensure you're getting the most for your money from each vendor your work with. Which questions should you ask? Here, she shares three big ones that may help you keep your wedding budget in the black.
Ask if there any in-house items that are free of charge to use?
It may seem like this is a question just for your wedding venue, but Leahy stresses that you should ask it of every vendor you're working with. You might be pretty surprised to learn that your caterer, florist, or wedding planner has a store of items that they may be able to throw in without any added charge. In addition to items like tables, chairs, linens, plates, glassware, and flatware, Leahy says that your pros might be willing to lend out votive candles, table numbers, decorative furniture, cake cutting knives, and even serving utensils at no additional cost to you.
Are there certain wedding dates that you can offer discounted rates for?
Although you may have had your heart set on a spring or summer wedding, there's nothing wrong with at least exploring your other options. Leahy says that asking your venue if there are any off-season or off-weekend wedding dates with discounted rates can help you save big. Perhaps they have trouble booking weddings in the winter, or else know they almost always have an opening on a holiday, like Thanksgiving or July 4th. If you're willing to consider dates that are associated with a lower price tag, asking never hurts. And it's a good question to ask other vendors, too, Leahy adds. Some florists, photographers, and caterers are able to offer discounted rates during their slower seasons.
What would you do with my budget?
Instead of telling your vendors exactly what you want, it can be beneficial to ask them what they can do with the budget you have. "Rather than look for items to cut, I always think the best course of action is to give the vendor a budget that you have, and ask them for recommendations," Leahy says. You'll probably be surprised by the feedback you get. Some popular details—like greenery-covered tables and glowing string lights—will eat up more of your budget than you realize, but your pros might have creative ideas that will give you a similar look at a price you can afford.