Readers on Heartlandboy would have noticed that articles dried up immensely during the month of April and May. This was because marriage preparation kicked into full swing and the task was made harder with Heartland Boy being based in Jakarta. Well, despite being geographically apart, the Heartland Couple also struggled with planning their wedding budget. In particular, Heartland Boy was very surprised at how expensive it can be to hold a wedding ceremony. It also didn’t help that every awesome suggestion Heartland Girl had only seemed to add to the wedding expenses! Having finally concluded the wedding ceremony, Heartland Boy would like to share some helpful tips for future couples on how to reduce their wedding expenses.
Wedding Tip 1: Determine your budget and prioritise your needs
Typically, there is a standard set of items when planning a wedding checklist:
Certainly, it will be good to have everything on the wedding checklist. However, if that is impossible, it becomes important to allocate your wedding budget well. When the Heartland Couple first started discussing about their wedding needs, Heartland Boy almost fell off his chair when he heard about Heartland Girl’s idea of a perfect wedding – a funfair carnival complete with with viking ships, bouncy castles and a mini petting zoo!
To bring her back to reality, Heartland Boy decided to show her the estimated budget of her dream wedding. With Heartland Girl convinced, they went through the list thoroughly to see which item was a need and which item was a want so as to reduce their wedding expense. The trimming of wedding costs was necessary to fit into their pre-determined wedding budget.
For the Heartland Couple, they assessed that pre-wedding photos was not a necessary wedding expense. They found it hard to justify spending a good $3,000 on a set of photographs that would probably only enjoy its glory during the cocktail reception before it gets chucked into the drawer. Well, to be fair, this decision was also made easier because their appointed photographer, Alex Goh, was willing to take some complimentary photographs around the lush and scenic environment of Tangerine.
Photo 1: Complimentary pre-wedding photoshoot by Alex Goh
Oh, by the way, did anyone read the article on Sunday Times where the bride rented a $6000 gown to kick some soccer ball in her pre-wedding photoshoot?
Another item that was an unnecessary wedding expense was the bridal car. Since the Heartland Couple decided that everything would be held at the restaurant, including the traditional tea ceremony event, there was absolutely no need for a fanciful bridal car! That’s at least a good couple of hundreds saved that went a long way to reduce their wedding expenses!
Wedding Tip 2: Shop around so that you can negotiate from a position of strength
From the shortlist above, it is very important to shop around. The more vendors you meet, the more information you gain on the package being offered. This allows you to ascertain whether they are indeed value for money. Heartland Boy cannot emphasise more on the importance of doing your own due diligence, and perhaps you may attribute this to occupational hazard, but the extra homework certainly allowed Heartland Couple Heartland Boy to negotiate from a position of strength.
You see, when it comes to negotiations, Heartland Boy is always the bad cop while Heartland Girl is always the good cop. This is not a deliberate situation, but rather a natural scenario given that Heartland Girl doesn’t like to negotiate. She is born to think that negotiations strain relations between both parties. That is OK, because Heartland Boy’s professor for Negotiation in SMU faced the same situation. And he gave a damn good piece of advice- he simply left the missus out of the negotiation process!
Here is a good rule of thumb you can adopt when negotiating with your wedding vendor to reduce your wedding expense- Vendors are generally more receptive to requests that do not create a significant dent to their bottom lines. So rather than always aiming for their top line and reduce the asking price, try to ask for freebies so that you need not engage another vendor for these items. For instance, requests such as floral arrangement, complimentary parking coupons, complimentary wedding invitation cards, door gifts, alcohol corkage waiver etc. definitely can be worth negotiating for.
For the Heartland Couple, they managed to get complimentary room upgrade, an increase in complimentary parking coupons, an increase in corkage waiver, free hand bouquet and matching corsage, free make up for both set of parents, free 3 hour scenic photoshoot at Tangerine amongst other items! In this way, they need not hire a florist, an extra make up artist and a pre-wedding photographer. These reduce their wedding costs significantly.
Wedding Tip 3: Do-it yourself to reduce your wedding expense
To give credit when it’s due and being the artistic one out of the 2, Heartland Girl created the wedding invitation card and the wedding favour. They looked amazing and she may have even received some free-lance offers for her artistic work after the wedding.
Photo 2: Wedding Invitation Card Designed by Sophia Goh
To an even more extreme extent, the Heartland Couple decided to emcee the whole event themselves. This not only reduced the wedding expense, but it actually allowed them to bond better with their guests in the cosy environment of Tangerine restaurant. Although it was hard work, this was perhaps the best decision they have made because they had so much fun interacting with their guests and thoroughly enjoyed themselves!
While you may now be busy taking in Heartland Boy’s useful tips on reducing your wedding expenses, do note that these must be done in conjunction with the parents. The last thing you want as the latest family member of the household is to piss off your in-laws with your extreme cost-cutting measures!