Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What's a bride to do in a recession?

I was hesitant to do a "recession-themed" post since it seems everybody else is doing enough talking about it. But after I had two of my brides try to cancel their weddings on me in the last 24 hours, I thought I'd share my perspective.
Think carefully before you cancel your whole wedding. I am not a financial advisor, and I have seen sad situations where it's better for the couple to cut their losses and lose deposits than spend even one more dime on the wedding (think "major medical emergency"), but in many cases an extreme money-saving measure can backfire. Read your contracts. You might get a few of your deposits back, but the "biggies" like your reception venue, your dress shop, and your caterer probably won't give you a refund, especially if it's late in the game. I don't give refunds and it says so right on my contract. Even if you cancel two months out, my helpers and I have still put hours of work into your wedding, and two months isn't always enough time to get another bride to fill your place.
What's a bride to do? Downsize. As long as you haven't mailed your invitations, you can cut that guest list and save big on catering costs. Many reception venues charge by the person so you will save there too--at Deejays banquet halls in Raleigh, cut your guest list from 300 to 100 and you'll save more than 50%. With fewer tables to decorate, you will also save on tablecloths, decorations, and flowers.
If you've downsized and you're still in trouble, downgrade. If you can't cancel, call your vendors and see if you can switch to a cheaper package. Most will oblige; I have found that as long as you don't cancel your wedding entirely, the majority of vendors will work with you if you give enough notice. Sit down with your caterer and discuss less-expensive menus; buy fewer prints from your photographer and skip the album; fewer and less-elaborate flower arrangements from your florist; a smaller and plainer cake from your baker, and so on. If you've already ordered your dress from a shop, you're out of luck, but if you're having your dress made, you may be able to simplify the design and save some money there.


  1. wow, two brides canceled in the last 24 hours, that's craziness! great tips about downsizing and downgrading instead of canceling

  2. Only one actually cancelled (she'd been having money problems for quite some time). The other had just caught recession fever and I was able to calm her down.