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Beth S. Bernstein

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Simple Is Not Always So Simple

Posted: 03/14/2013 1:03 am

When I meet with a prospective client, I always ask them to choose three or four words to describe the vision for their wedding. I didn't do an actual scientific poll, but it's safe to say that about 98 percent of the time, the following words are used:

Simple.

Elegant.

Unique.

Well, that's great! I don't know about you, but I would really hate to go to a complicated, classless, and cookie-cutter wedding.

All kidding aside, there has been a very big shift in weddings away from the over-the-top, "look-how-much-money-I-spent-on-my-wedding" days of the 1990s and early 2000s.

However, "simple" does not necessarily mean less expensive.

I cannot tell you how many couples have described their dream wedding to me as "simple." Just white flowers. Low arrangements. No design on the invitations (other than a custom monogram). Just a simple cake -- one flavor, one filling.

These couples also are quite surprised when I explain to them that this won't really cost them any less.

White flowers don't cost less than pink, purple, red, or any other color. It is the species of the flower that determines the price the wholesaler sets. Those flowers still need to be cared for, cut, arranged, and creatively displayed by talented, professional florists. The "simple" cut-crystal vessels you selected actually cost more to rent than the tall ones, typically because those are just clear glass and not vintage finds the florist spent hours hunting down at antique shows in his or her "free time."

Soft, amber lighting is the same price as purple. (Changing the color of the lighting is actually just turning a knob. Really.)

Letterpress invitations are almost the same cost as thermography these days. Sure, you will save if you don't embellish them with ribbons and bling, but not adding a monogram, icon, or floral border is not going to cut costs.

Bakers still need to bake a cake for 150 guests and make sure it doesn't topple over, even if it's a plain yellow cake with buttercream filling.

I love the look of simple, elegant, and classic weddings. They stand the test of time. But they are not going to save you money if you do them the right way.

The biggest misconception about how to save money is serving dinner buffet-style versus a sit-down plated dinner. Couples tend to think this is more casual and "simpler." However, buffets may actually be a little bit more expensive than a plated dinner.

Buffets need to be replenished constantly (you don't want it to look like you've run out of food), which means more food needs to be prepared than just one serving per guest. Multiple plates, forks, napkins, etc. must be rented since people going up for more may not re-use what they took the first time around. Some stations require a chef to man it, such as a carving station, pasta station, etc. I'd suggest only doing a buffet or stationed event only if that's the vibe you want for your wedding -- not as a way to save money.

The only way to truly save money on your wedding is to invite fewer guests. Fewer guests mean fewer mouths to feed, fewer tables to decorate, and fewer invitations to send.

That's the simple truth.

 
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