Happy-go-lucky grooms may think their work, expense, and effort is done after they buy the ring and pop the question. In truth, their expenditures, both emotional and financial, have most likely just begun. In modern times, the idea of a bride's parents paying for everything is about as old-fashioned as a guy giving a herd of cattle in exchange for his bride's hand. The days of dowries, hope chests, and arranged marriages are over. Tribes will not be united by you and your lady's nuptial acts, nor will epic battles be ended. Therefore, in the new world of just-you-and-me modern marriage, the expense of a wedding often lands primarily on the bride and groom themselves, with both sets of parents pitching in to some extent.
Therefore, be advised grooms, it is a much better idea to involve yourselves in the wedding planning, lest your blushing bride wreak havoc on both your bank accounts.
Rather, being the traditionally stingier sex, it is a groom's responsibility to be involved in creating and adhering to the wedding budget. But don't panic guys. There are a few simple ways you can accomplish this that doesn't require you attempting to superglue your bride's veil to her head. Here are a few non-emasculating, hands-on ways a groom can help save money during his wedding so there's enough money left over for decent groomsmen gifts. We'll call it a groom's guide to cutting wedding costs.
One: Just say "when". One huge wedding cost-saver that doesn't involve hours of shopping in Brenda's Bridal Bargain Basement is simply expressing a desire to have a fall or winter wedding. To your bride, this suggestion will seem sweet and romantic. Little does she know you just saved a bunch of money by switching to a cheaper wedding season. Because spring and summer are peak popular times for weddings, there is much more competition for reception & ceremony sites, bands, caterers, wedding cakes, you name it. In the sunny seasons, costs skyrocket as couples vie for top notch wedding supplies, so save a little dough by having a beautiful wedding amid autumn leaves and pine forests, or frosty white mountains and barren snow covered fields. Bonus points for combining your bachelor party with Oktoberfest.
Two: Location, location, location. All this talk of mountains and forests brings us to our second wedding cost-saver, choosing an inexpensive wedding location. Outdoor venues such as mountains, meadows, cliffs, and clearings make for beautiful natural ceremony sites, without all the extra costs. Factor in a fabulous wedding reception in a nearby lodge, barn or beach and you have the makings of a sensational and cost-efficient wedding, and there are no better groomsmen gifts than promising your buddies they won't have to drive far to get to the ceremony, especially in this day of pricey destination weddings.
Three: Rehearsal "Party". One sneaky cost, traditionally paid for by the groom's parents, is the rehearsal dinner. Since it's your folks that are paying footing the bill, you are perfectly within your rights to suggest a few cost-saving alternatives to the traditional rehearsal dinner. Instead of a fancy sit-down affair after the wedding rehearsal, select another one of these super and significantly cheaper ideas, and label it a "Rehearsal Party". One way to do this is to tie your rehearsal event in with your wedding theme. If you are getting married in a barn, how about a rehearsal hay ride, with all the wedding party piling in for a fun-filled romp under the stars. Finish with apple cider and pumpkin pie at the groom's parents home. Or how about a rehearsal drive-in. Rent a big projector and invite the wedding party over to tailgate for a fun night of watching wacky wedding movies, like "Wedding Singer" or "Father of the Bride 2". Get your bride's annoying younger brother and friends to serve as waiters, handing out cups of gourmet popcorn and bottled cokes to your guests by bribing him with baseball cards or booze, depending on how old he is.
These are a couple fabulous and financially manageable ways to save money on your rehearsal dinner and consequently, your wedding. Note: save the serious speeches, sentimentality, and stumbling drunkenness for the wedding night. The wedding rehearsal should simply be a night to relax, have fun and blow off some wedding stress.
Four: Never say "Wedding." When shopping around for a tux, flowers, groomsmen gifts, cake, or honeymoon accommodations, it is in a groom's best interest to never say 'wedding'.
This is a duty better suited to the groom, since ecstatic brides generally cannot resist blurting the details of their impending nuptials to anyone who will listen. Being the strong and silent man of few words that you are, it is the groom's jobs to cajole the caterer, intimidate the organist, and flatter the florist into giving you the best wedding deals possible, playing hard ball the way only a genuinely indifferent groom can. This is best accomplished by never letting on to these greedy salespeople, waiters, and entertainers that it is your wedding day you are planning. To the sales industry, a wedding is a perfect chance to exploit jittery fiances into paying much more than they should in order to ensure that their wedding is "perfect". Being the more cool-headed sex, it is the groom's job to casually inquire about "special occasion accommodations" and "banquet servers" never once mentioning the big W. If caterers think you are planning your son's bar mitzvah, they won't be as anxious to sell you on the 80-foot ice swan and ballerina-shaped butter pats.
Five: Wholesale is your friend. Admittedly, this step of a groom's guide to cutting wedding costs does involve a little shopping, but it's the fun kind. Stores like Sam's Club and Costco sell wine, liquor, lights, food, and even flowers in bulk, which can save you big bucks on wedding expenses. Stock up on vino, sodas, snacks and more, then reward yourself with a stop in the electronics section for groomsmen gifts and something nice for yourself, too. If this sounds daunting, just imagine your bride's face when you come home laden with armloads of white votive lights and Lilly of the valley. Okay, so you might have to make a little room for the lilies in your walk-in lobster freezer, or clear out some Christmas decorations to make room for a thousand tiny tea lights, but hey, marriage is all about compromises right? Just as long as they aren't compromises to the wedding budget.
Six: What to Wear? Many brides are catching on that there are great wedding attire deals to be had online, at consignment stores, and even at costume shops, and these new cost-cutting trends can apply to grooms too. Of course, renting a tux is the obvious money-saver, but what if you could buy a tux on Ebay for the same cost as a rental? Or maybe find an antique morning suit at a local thrift store for half the cost of a tux. If you and your bride are having a theme wedding, renting or buying wedding attire from a costume shop is often a cost-cutting and creative way to dress for the big day.
Seven: Do it yourself (or get friends and family to do it). All men know when it comes to home projects, it is an insult to a man's pride to call in a professional when he is certainly capable of doing it himself. Try and adopt this manly attitude towards wedding planning, because way too much wedding money is often spent on the middleman. Forget the wedding planner, forget the wedding plan's assistant, forget the professional cake taster, and don't fly in the Chinese calligrapher that specializes in authentic Asian wedding invitations. No, groom, like so many things, the time has come to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself. You might be surprised how much fun you actually have in the process. Have a blast with your bride, putting together a special CD mix of your favorite songs for the reception in exchange for great groomsmen gifts. Make your buddy's day by electing him as DJ. Spend a delicious day tasting cake with your loved one, and then consider finding a like recipe and having family members recreate the cake for your big day. Enlist your groomsmen to help with set-up and teardown of the ceremony and reception in exchange for great groomsmen gifts, and enlist the same pesky brother-in-law to valet with more bribes. By putting in a little personal elbow grease and getting some help from your friends and family, you can save significantly on wedding costs.
By following these seven simple steps, you will save yourself post-nuptial financial ruin, and all the while your bride will be thinking what a sweet, thoughtful, and involved groom you are, and how adorable it is that you are finally bonding with her brother. Now, instead of worrying about how to repair the financial havoc wrought by your wedding, you and your new bride can focus on things much dearer to a groom's heart, like the honeymoon.
Some cost-cutting suggestions courtesy of www.sideroad.com., www.suite101.com, www.weddinglocation.com