helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank

When planning a wedding, there’s a lot to know in terms of etiquette – and when it comes to money things can get pretty dicey. I recently chatted with Lizzie Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post – and she shared some advice with me on behalf of the The Emily Post Institute – the go-to resource for all things etiquette. I found our chat very interesting and I know that her wisdom will help you all navigate the tricky waters of planning a budget wedding with regards to keeping things classy. There’s also some great tips in there for our readers who are in the wedding party. Read our interview below!

etiquette advice

 

The Budget Savvy Bride:

So, let’s start at the beginning, Lizzie. Say you just got engaged and you’ve yet to begin planning- my advice to a bride is always to find out how much you actually have to spend before you start booking anything. How do you suggest broaching the subject of financial assistance with your respective families? That can be kind of a tricky thing.

 

Lizzie Post:

Sure, there are two things that I think really do a wonderful job in terms of getting a bride and groom off to a good start, a comfortable start, with their wedding budget, and the first is to have that candid, respectful conversation with both sets of your parents, or, you know, it might be an aunt or uncle or grandparent, whoever it is that’s kind of offered and said, “You know, I really would like to contribute to your wedding.” If nobody has said that, then start with your parents. It’s something that you need to find out – how much will people be contributing? What are they willing to contribute to? And once you know that, you and your groom can figure out a number and that number is something that you want to stick to as best as possible.

 

The Budget Savvy Bride:

What if a couple is paying for the entire wedding, or even portions of the wedding themselves? What tricks or tips do you have for couples for actually saving money for their wedding?

 

Lizzie Post:

I’ve partnered with Bank of America because one thing I suggest to brides is that they set up an account just for their wedding budget. That way you’re not accidentally dipping into other funds and when you use the Bank of America mobile app to check what’s left in that wedding fund, you’re not getting confused by seeing car payments, or bills, or other things in between, you’re looking at just the things that you’ve paid for specifically for the wedding, and I think that does take a lot of the stress and the anxiety out of it, it makes it a lot simpler for brides to manage that budget.

 

 

The Budget Savvy Bride:

What are some of the biggest no-nos when it comes to saving money on a wedding? Obviously we’ve heard tips like don’t have a cash bar, but are there any other big ones that come to mind?

 

Lizzie Post:

The cash bar is the really big one, and it’s funny because I think that people get a little bit confused and they automatically assume “Well, the bar is the one place that people could pay for it and that’ll be good because I can save money on the caterer.” I actually heard from a colleague the other day of a really wonderful way to save a bit of cash when it comes to the bar, and that was that she and her husband used their Bank Americards to purchase their beer and their wine for the wedding.

And they did it by setting a budget. Monthly they would go to the grocery store where they’re automatically getting 2% cash back onto their card, and they would spend a specific amount on beer and wine, and they sort of stocked up over the course of a few months and by the time the wedding rolled around, not only had they earned all this cash back because of their 2% earnings, but they’d also stocked their entire bar for the wedding. And there’s nothing that says that you have to have a certain type of alcohol at a wedding, you don’t even have to serve alcohol at your wedding, but I love that idea finding a way around it so that you’re still providing for the guests, but you’re doing it in a way that works for you.

 

 

The Budget Savvy Bride:

Exactly. I love that! I know there’s a few financial gurus and conservative money guys who are decidedly anti-credit card. BUT – if you use them wisely and responsibly they can really work to your advantage by earning those rewards and it can help you save money in the long run. Thank you so much for sharing that.

Next question: Do you think it’s rude not to serve a full meal to your guests, if it’s maybe not in your budget? Like, would you suggest maybe cutting your guest list or cutting back on other amenities, so you can provide a full meal? What’s your take on that?

 

Lizzie Post:

I think that you definitely want to decide what’s most important to you. There’s nothing that says that your wedding can’t just be heavy hor d’oeuvres- there are plenty of weddings that are just cocktail party-style where there is no sit-down dinner. A lot of weddings in the south just have wonderful buffets and not as much a moment where everybody’s seated and you begin course by course. It’s more like get in there, get drinking, get dancing, get eating, have fun, celebrate! So I think that it really depends on your wedding style but I would not feel bad at all opting to serve heavy hor d’oeuvres – it’ll still be a fun night!

 

 

The Budget Savvy Bride:

What are some ways that you’ve seen brides cut back when it comes to their wedding expenses? Like, what other ways do you think are appropriate in terms of etiquette that you can also cut back?

 

Lizzie Post:

Well, nobody says that you have to have a brand new wedding dress, so I think it’s perfectly appropriate to either borrow a friend’s dress that you love if you’re the same size, or if she’s okay with altering it if she’s not attached to it. I think that wearing something that’s not maybe a traditional wedding dress is another way to go with that. I also think that considering things like your flowers- do you absolutely need to have flowers that are shipped in and need so much special care, or can you and mom grow a lot of wildflowers in the backyard this year and cut and use what you can for the wedding? It’s a little bit risky, because you don’t know what the weather is gonna do, but I do think that there are ways that you can save like that. In the end it’s really about what’s most important to you. Is a band the most important thing, or could you get away with your iPod? It’s up to you, but I think that there are ways that you can do it– just pick those two or three or four really important things that matter the most to you, and then let yourself relax about the rest of it and get creative.

 

The Budget Savvy Bride:

Totally. Totally. I love that. Um, so I guess um, one, one other thing that I’ve had questions about from our readers is on the other side of things, if you are in the wedding party, such as like, a bridesmaid or a maid of honor, or even a groomsman, there can be lots of expenses involved in that. As a member of a wedding party, do you think that you should be expected to A. Attend every pre-wedding event, and B. Purchase gifts for the couple at each of those events?

 

Lizzie Post:

No. You attend the events that you can attend, and you purchase gifts for the events that you do choose to attend. So, if you’re going to the shower you should purchase a shower gift. However, because you’re also probably contributing to a bridal party gift, then you don’t need to purchase something that’s a large gift. I mean, I remember when my best friend got married and I was her maid of honor, she and her fiancé are both Cancers, that’s their star signs- and their symbol is the crab. They got married in a place where the crab was the little symbol of the town, so I went out and found these two little iron hooks that had crabs on them that were really sweet so I got that for her. That gift was not an expensive gift, but it was just something that I knew she would look at as a cute memento from the wedding. So you don’t have to do things that are big expensive gifts for every single party that you have to attend. You can think small and then contribute to that group gift, or the bridal party gift for the, the bride and groom.

 

 

The Budget Savvy Bride:

Well that is a relief. I have to tell you, because I feel like in the South especially so many people have multiple showers and engagement parties and everything else. It gets so overwhelming, you know? So that’s a relief to me, firstly, and I’m sure to the readers as well. And is that something that brides should be careful of as well when it comes to inviting their friends to events?

 

Lizzie Post:

Yes, it’s something the hosts should be careful about. Couples shouldn’t be inviting the exact same people to their different showers every time. It just gets a bit repetitive, and it could make you seem like you’re just asking and grabbing for gifts, so it’s important to spread that out among different friends and family.

 

 

The Budget Savvy Bride:

That’s really great advice. Your story about the personal, meaningful gift you got for your friends actually leads me into another question I had: If you don’t have much money to spend – do you have any other suggestions on some unconventional, interesting, more personal gifts – or perhaps things that can be divided up amongst a group to reduce everyone’s individual expense? 

 

Lizzie Post:

One of my favorite gifts to give is to take a collection of recipes that are your favorite recipes and make your own recipe book! You can print them out, maybe even laminate them somehow so that the pages don’t get ruined with splatters in the kitchen, and then have them bound together for a couple. I think that it’s really cute to include notes in the book like ‘make this chocolate cake when you’re celebrating a promotion’ or, ‘this recipe is great when you want a warm meal on a cold day when you two just wanna snuggle up’ or ‘this is the meal you prepare when you’re having everybody in the world over and you have no time.’  I just love the idea of thinking about when you might crave certain meals or certain dishes, and sort of applying that to the theme of this recipe book that you would gift. It wouldn’t cost much to create and it would be so personal and thoughtful that the couple is sure to love it.

 

 

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To learn more about etiquette and to read more great advice from the Emily Post Institute you can visit EmilyPost.com

 

 

 

 

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About Jessica

Jessica is the creator of The Budget Savvy Bride; she launched the site in May of 2008, shortly after becoming engaged. Jessica has been recognized as a budget wedding expert by various media outlets and continues to share realistic inspiration and actionable tips to help brides save money on their weddings. Google

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