100+ BUD­GET TIPS & TRICKS

Herworld Brides (Singapore) - - In This Issue - TEXT STEVE THIO & PRIYA KHAN­DEL­WAL

Here’s how you can save more on ev­ery­thing from wed­ding decor to bridal fash­ion.

Cover all your bases with ad­vice no soon-to-be-wed woman should be with­out.

PLAN­NING • CHOOSE YOUR CEL­E­BRA­TION

Know­ing what kind of wed­ding and/or cel­e­bra­tion you want from the start makes the process a lot sim­pler and fo­cused. When you and your hus­band-to-be fi­nally de­cide, stick to your plan, and you’ll find that you won’t be over­come by stress and the pos­si­bil­ity of wastage and over­spend­ing.

• BUD­GET RE­AL­IS­TI­CALLY

De­ter­mine your bud­get at the very be­gin­ning and be strict about it. It will ul­ti­mately de­cide the kind of cel­e­bra­tion and the num­ber of guests you can have, and so on. With­out one, you risk run­ning into fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties. You should make changes only if you have money to spare.

• PRI­ORI­TISE YOUR PLANS

Just like work, you should take note of the three most im­por­tant el­e­ments – and no more than three – that need the most at­ten­tion, re­sources or help. Once they’re set­tled, you can work on the rest of your funds and time­line for the other as­pects of your prepa­ra­tions with­out be­com­ing over­whelmed.

• RE-EVAL­U­ATE, ES­TI­MATE, CRE­ATE

Along the way, some plans and costs can get de­railed. Take stock of and re-eval­u­ate the un­ex­pected changes. Do you need to spend less on decor and more on your gown? Or can­cel the videog­ra­pher for a bet­ter photographer who’s slightly more ex­pen­sive? Or con­sider DIY to bal­ance your bud­get bet­ter? Re­mem­ber also to al­ways set aside time to

check on the ac­tual progress of things and deal with un­fore­seen is­sues early in­stead of al­low­ing them to turn into ma­jor prob­lems that are hard to re­solve. STICK TO THE BA­SICS Un­less you have ad­di­tional funds to spare, stick to the orig­i­nal pack­ages you wanted and avoid pricey up­grades. Ven­dors will al­ways try to push for higher-priced pack­ages, mer­chan­dise and ser­vices. If you haven’t got the money, say so and you shouldn’t ex­plain why you don’t have it. MAKE TO-DO LISTS Check­lists help to keep you or­gan­ised and give you a bet­ter over­view of your en­tire plan – the bud­get, tasks and ev­ery­thing pend­ing. If you plan early enough, you may be able to ben­e­fit from promotions and sales that can help cut your costs sig­nif­i­cantly. Ne­go­ti­at­ing deals with ven­dors in ad­vance can also get you the best deals, es­pe­cially if your book­ing is dur­ing an off-peak sea­son. ASK FOR HELP Many brides who’ve done it on their own will tell you that man­ag­ing your big day solo is not such a good idea. It will leave you so over­whelmed and ex­hausted that you will not en­joy it. Rope in your groom, close friends and fam­ily mem­bers and, in­stead of im­me­di­ately as­sign­ing spe­cific tasks, ask how they’d like to help or what they are re­ally good at. This way, the right tasks go to the right peo­ple who will not dis­ap­point you. FI­NANCE HAVE A BUD­GET CHECK­LIST FOR EV­ERY­THING If you’re hav­ing a sim­ple cel­e­bra­tion, one should be enough to ac­com­mo­date all your ex­penses. If your wed­ding has many dif­fer­ent as­pects, it’s bet­ter to have a sep­a­rate check­list for ev­ery cat­e­gory, such as wardrobe (your gowns, his suits and gear for ev­ery­one else in your bridal party), decor and flow­ers, food and even favours. This will help you to track your ex­pen­di­ture, and keep you dis­ci­plined. CUT THE EX­TRAS Many wed­ding pack­ages come with ex­tra as well as hid­den costs. It’s best to go through ev­ery item in the pack­age and de­ter­mine whether you need it or not with your ven­dor. Ask for the es­ti­mated bill at the same time and tell him that you ex­pect the ac­tual one to be very close to that. WATCH THE TIME Most ven­dors, as well as venues, will charge over­time rates for their ser­vices. Un­less you’re pre­pared to fork out more money be­cause ev­ery­one is hav­ing such a great time and doesn’t want to leave the party yet, it’s best to avoid over­time charges and keep to your timetable. TRIAL COSTS Most makeup artists, hair­styl­ists and florists fac­tor one trial into their pack­ages; more than

one will cost you more. How­ever, if you can do with­out one, ne­go­ti­ate for a cheaper pack­age. UN­FORE­SEEN COSTS Al­ways set aside money for un­ex­pected costs that may pop up at the last minute, like tips, trans­porta­tion costs for guests who’ve had too much to drink and can’t get a ride with any­one else, ad­di­tional items to get at the last minute, and if your party runs into over­time. If you plan your bud­get well, you may not have to fork out any­thing ex­tra and this sum of money will end up as sav­ings. GIFTS ASK FOR HELP OR MONEY If your friends should ask what you’d like as a wed­ding present, don’t be shy about ask­ing for a red packet or a voucher from a store you’re plan­ning to buy things from for your home. Al­ter­na­tively, tell some close friends that the best gift they can give you is their time and help with the prepa­ra­tion. PER­SONAL FAVOURS Most ho­tels and wed­ding venues now pro­vide small favours as part of their pack­ages. If you al­ready plan to have your own favours, ask if the cost for their favours can be sub­tracted from your pack­age. Favours that you make your­self are sig­nif­i­cantly more mean­ing­ful. SKIP THE GIFTS Buy your bridal party a meal in­stead of get­ting them gifts. It will also be a great time to catch up with them af­ter the wed­ding. VEN­DORS KEEP MUM ABOUT YOUR WED­DING Ven­dors have been known to raise their prices when they know it’s a wed­ding. So when talk­ing with them for the first time, don’t say the ”W” word! SEARCH FOR DEALS Once you’ve short­listed your pre­ferred ven­dors, fol­low them on In­sta­gram or Face­book. You’ll be the first to know when they post their promotions and spe­cial deals on so­cial me­dia. TES­TI­MO­NI­ALS COUNT Ev­ery smart busi­ness­man will know the value of a good tes­ti­mo­nial on­line. If the ven­dor is par­tic­u­larly pleased with what he/she has done for you and asks for a tes­ti­mo­nial, see if you can get a dis­count in re­turn. KEEP A DIS­TANCE Try not to be overly en­thu­si­as­tic when you’ve found the right ven­dor; most ven­dors will try and cut their prices if they think you have other suit­able op­tions. IN­VITES EDIT YOUR GUEST LIST Rule of thumb for your guest list: fam­ily first, close rel­a­tives and best friends sec­ond, of­fice col­leagues third and dis­tant rel­a­tives and ac­quain­tances last. Once you’ve reached your quota, no more in­vites! And that goes for your par­ents’ guest list too. ONE OR TWO? Al­ways be clear if the in­vite is for a sin­gle guest or with a plus one – you don’t have to in­clude the plus one if you’re not fa­mil­iar with your guest’s part­ner. WED­DING IN­VI­TA­TIONS & STA­TIONERY MAKE YOUR OWN IN­VI­TA­TIONS With so many on­line apps, you can cre­ate your own unique in­vites in a jiffy! This will cut out costly de­sign fees and you can ei­ther bring yours to a printer or if you’re not too fussy, print them from home. EARLY RSVP DATE Get your in­vited guests to RSVP early so that you have more time to re­ar­range and as­sess your in­vi­ta­tion lists. DIG­I­TAL IN­VITES Do your bit for the en­vi­ron­ment and send dig­i­tal in­vites in­stead of printed ones. Be­sides sav­ing tons, you also get to have fun in­vites with a host of dig­i­tal fea­tures! Just check out the nu­mer­ous apps on­line. Re­mem­ber to get your guests to RSVP dig­i­tally too – ei­ther through e-mail or through a site you set up spe­cially for RSVPs.

Note: For your guests who aren’t too tech-savvy, it’s best to send the tra­di­tional printed in­vi­ta­tions. DIY CUS­TOMI­SA­TION You can al­ways get more af­ford­able generic wed­ding in­vite cards from the stores and cus­tomise them your­self us­ing ink stamps, pretty trims and even cre­ative cal­lig­ra­phy. ONE IN­VI­TA­TION SAYS IT ALL Al­though an in­vi­ta­tion suite looks im­pres­sive with its many sheets of in­vites and de­tails, save pa­per by print­ing all the wed­ding de­tails in one sheet in­stead. Get your graphic de­signer to work with a fold-out in­vite – dou­ble or tri-fold which can ac­com­mo­date all your in­for­ma­tion in an or­gan­ised lay­out. Hav­ing ev­ery­thing in one sheet is also eas­ier for guests to re­fer to. Skip the ex­tras – like belly bands or wax seals – and you’ll save a pretty penny, too. CHECK, DOU­BLE CHECK AND TRIPLE CHECK Be­fore you send your in­vi­ta­tions to the printer, be sure to proof­read. Mak­ing a mis­take can not only be em­bar­rass­ing (you don’t want to get dear Aunt Macy’s name wrong), it can also burn a deeper hole in your wal­let if you have to re­print all the in­vites. POST­CARDS IN­STEAD? If yours is a theme wed­ding, con­sider fun post­cards or even per­sonal photo prints that can be sent as in­vi­ta­tions. Not only are these unique and fun, guests will also get a feel of the mood of your cel­e­bra­tions in ad­vance. And it’s so much cheaper than de­sign­ing and print­ing cus­tomised in­vites! HANDY MENUS If you’re plan­ning to place es­cort cards at your ta­bles, you can cut down on costs and pa­per by hav­ing your guests’ names printed on the menu. Guests can then re­fer to the menu. If your venue is us­ing a stan­dard menu for your lunch/din­ner, you can do an A4 mini standee sign with the guests’ names in­stead. PRO­GRAMME SIG­NAGES In­stead of in­di­vid­u­ally printed pro­grammes for your cel­e­bra­tions and cer­e­monies, why not have all the de­tails laid out onto nicely de­signed sig­nages? Not only will you be able to save some moolah, these sig­nages add to your wed­ding decor as well. VENUE OFF-PEAK DAYS AND TIMES Most cou­ples pre­fer to tie the knot on an aus­pi­cious or ”con­ve­nient” date but hav­ing your wed­ding on days that are not ”hot” will save you tons! Work­ing week­days from Mon­day to Thurs­day are gen­er­ally less pop­u­lar for wed­ding lunches and din­ners as these days would not be con­ve­nient for most guests. Lunch and tea cel­e­bra­tions are al­ways less pop­u­lar than din­ners in gen­eral so you may want to con­sider hav­ing a day­time af­fair in­stead of a din­ner. If you’re not into aus­pi­cious wed­ding dates, pick a date that most cou­ples avoid – you will def­i­nitely get a bet­ter deal. MORN­ING CEL­E­BRA­TIONS Start your day with a ro­man­tic cer­e­mony fol­lowed by a break­fast brunch! You will save a lot on your food and venue, and also get the rest of the day to chill out with your loved ones. 2 IN­STEAD OF 1 An­other way to cut costs is to have two sep­a­rate cel­e­bra­tions in­stead of one grand one. It may mean more time and ef­fort to plan two af­fairs, but you will prob­a­bly save a lot. You can choose to have a small and more in­ti­mate lunch cel­e­bra­tion with your close friends and the tra­di­tional din­ner for your fam­ily and rel­a­tives. Or vice versa. These sep­a­rate cel­e­bra­tions can be held on two dif­fer­ent days in­stead of the same day so you won’t be too stressed or tired from non-stop fes­tiv­i­ties and en­ter­tain­ing. UNIQUE WED­DING VENUES There are so many al­ter­na­tive venues jump­ing onto the wed­ding band­wagon these days – cou­ples now have a wide ar­ray of op­tions for a unique and al­ter­na­tive cel­e­bra­tion. From beach bars at Sen­tosa to sky-high cafes and res­tau­rants with spec­tac­u­lar views, these non-tra­di­tional wed­ding venues also have wed­ding pack­ages that can be cus­tomised to your re­quire­ments. There may be lim­its to the num­ber of guests you can in­vite. Re­fer to http://www.her­world.com/ wed­dings/ideas-we-love/venue-awards-2017list-award-win­ners for our pick of the best al­ter­na­tive wed­ding venues for both in­door and out­door cel­e­bra­tions.

HOLD THE CER­E­MONY AT HOME, OR OUT­DOORS If you are liv­ing in a landed prop­erty or have a friend who lives in a house with a large gar­den, you can hold your wed­ding fes­tiv­i­ties there. There are also cou­ples who have their wed­dings at shel­tered func­tion ar­eas within HDB es­tates – these ar­eas can be dressed up pret­tily for a ca­sual cel­e­bra­tion. Or tie the knot with a lunch or din­ner re­cep­tion at the void deck, like how Malay cou­ples do. The rental for these ar­eas is a lot more af­ford­able than a restau­rant or cafe. STAND UP • If your venue re­quires you to rent your own chairs for the cer­e­mony or re­cep­tion, you may want to have a stand­ing cer­e­mony in­stead. Rent some small ta­bles for guests to gather around dur­ing your short re­cep­tion and cer­e­mony. But do have some chairs for the el­derly. MENU SIM­PLIFY YOUR MENU • Wed­ding din­ners used to have a min­i­mum of 10 dishes to im­ply the wealth and gen­eros­ity of the cou­ple and their fam­i­lies, and how grand a feast it is. But cou­ples can stick to eight dishes (a lucky num­ber in Chi­nese cul­ture!) and cut costs by hav­ing two fewer dishes. For lunch or ca­sual din­ners, opt for buf­fets in­stead of sit-down af­fairs as these are a lot more pocket-friendly. SMART MENU PLAN­NING • Most Chi­nese wed­ding din­ner menus of­fer dishes that have aus­pi­cious mean­ings for the cou­ple. If you’re not fussy about these things, you can opt for dishes that cost less. Pick one or two mains that are pricier and stick to more af­ford­able fare (like noo­dles and veg­eta­bles) for the rest of your menu. DO THE CATER­ING YOUR­SELF • Shave costs for your re­cep­tion and lunch cel­e­bra­tion by hav­ing your fam­ily and friends chip in with the food and desserts. With more peo­ple tak­ing up cook­ing and bak­ing cour­ses, you’ll be able to find con­trib­u­tors eas­ily. BYOB BEN­E­FITS • Al­ways check with your venue if you can bring your own booze. Friends and fam­ily can con­trib­ute bot­tles, and you can get them to buy you more from Duty-Free shops if they’re com­ing home from an over­seas hol­i­day. HAVE A POUR­ING SER­VICE • A pour­ing ser­vice for your sit-down meal, in­stead of plac­ing wine or cham­pagne bot­tles on each ta­ble, will help you save tons. This will re­duce wastage from left­over wine if guests don’t fin­ish the bot­tles at their ta­ble. TOAST THE GOOD STUFF • Keep your best wine or cham­pagne for the wed­ding toast. Af­ter down­ing the more af­ford­able stuff dur­ing din­ner, your guests won’t know the dif­fer­ence. GET A REAL CAKE • Have an au­then­tic cake in­stead of a mock-up one that most venues use for new­ly­weds to cut. This may save money, but it does spoil the real mean­ing be­hind the cake-cut­ting tra­di­tion. If you’re plan­ning to have a real wed­ding cake for your cel­e­bra­tion, you don’t have to get a large cre­ation with many tiers; a smaller ver­sion can be just as pretty. For the guests, have your baker cre­ate mini or cup­cake ver­sions of your wed­ding cake – these will be more cost-ef­fec­tive. Avoid all the frills and dec­o­ra­tive de­tails to save more. KID’S MEALS • If you’re hav­ing kids at your wed­ding, you may want to con­sider a cheaper and more kid­friendly menu for them. Work with your caterer or venue to cre­ate a sim­ple menu fea­tur­ing per­haps a max­i­mum of four dishes that the young ones will love. THE DESSERT BAR & BUF­FET • For­get the wed­ding cake serv­ings! Treat your guests to a dessert bar and buf­fet which you can stock up with con­tri­bu­tions from friends and

fam­ily. Most lo­cal venues and cater­ers now of­fer this op­tion as well. WASTE NOT The best thing about hav­ing a dessert bar is that you can pack any re­main­ing sweets, cup­cakes and other del­ish del­i­ca­cies into pretty boxes and hand them out as favours or gifts to the kids. Or you can keep them to snack on af­ter the wed­ding! AL­TER­NA­TIVE SWEETS There are so many pretty and cre­ative al­ter­na­tives to the wed­ding cake these days. Why not have mac­arons, dough­nuts, cook­ies or even stack loaves of your favourite bread in­stead? These will def­i­nitely cost a lot less than the usual cus­tomised wed­ding cake. EN­TER­TAIN­MENT BRING YOUR OWN SOUND EQUIP­MENT If you in­tend to hold your cel­e­bra­tions at a venue with­out any proper sound equip­ment, you can al­ways bring your own if it’s small enough. Or loan it from a friend. With brands like Bose and Ap­ple com­ing up with speak­ers that are big on sound but small in size, trans­port­ing your sound equip­ment won’t be a prob­lem. GET FAM­ILY AND FRIENDS TO PER­FORM It can be ex­pen­sive to hire a pro­fes­sional mu­si­cian, a band or a DJ, but luck­ily, there are many ways to save in this cat­e­gory. You can hire a stu­dent mu­si­cian, or con­sider hav­ing a friend or fam­ily mem­ber per­form. USE STU­DENTS AND BUSKERS Many lo­cal uni­ver­si­ties and poly­tech­nics have small bands and mu­sic per­form­ing groups you can tap on for your wed­ding en­ter­tain­ment. You can even check out some of the young and tal­ented buskers play­ing along Or­chard Road – some may be will­ing to per­form for wed­dings for a fee. BRIDAL WARDROBE BUY DRESSES OFF THE RACK – AND ON SALE The ear­lier you plan for your wed­ding, the more time it gives you to do re­search and go sourc­ing for what you need. Take ad­van­tage of sale pe­ri­ods dur­ing the year; you can find great bar­gains and buys from decor to gifts and of course, even your wed­ding dress. Wed­ding dresses are a huge ex­pense, es­pe­cially if you have your heart set on a de­signer gown. Look around for sam­ple sales, where you’ll be able to pur­chase your dream de­signer dress at a steep dis­count. Or con­sider an off-the-rack op­tion, which can be tai­lored to look cus­tom-made with­out spend­ing a for­tune. Other wed­ding ven­dors like pho­tog­ra­phers and makeup artists will also have promotions dur­ing low seasons which you can take ad­van­tage of. GET CRE­ATIVE WITH YOUR WED­DING DRESS If your wed­ding dress isn’t your big­gest pri­or­ity, con­sider or­der­ing a white brides­maid dress or pur­chas­ing a white gown off-the-rack. You can have it tai­lored for a per­fect fit (and even in­clude a train!) for a frac­tion of the cost of a de­signer gown. There are also tons of stylish and af­ford­able op­tions from on­line sites and stores like Asos, Zara and H&M. Just pick a style that’s more dressy and for­mal. SAVE ON GROOM SUITS On­line shop­ping sites like Asos have a ded­i­cated sec­tion for groom suits – and there are some very af­ford­able styles that are a steal. If you plan early, you can also get the per­fect suit dur­ing the sale pe­riod in­stead of buy­ing at the reg­u­lar price at the last minute. For more mileage, you can also con­sider get­ting a suit your man can wear af­ter the wed­ding for work or other for­mal oc­ca­sions. Just add stylish ac­ces­sories that will help make the suit groom-ap­pro­pri­ate. WED­DING JEW­ELLERY If you can af­ford brand new bling for your wed­ding – go ahead! If you have a strict bud­get for jew­ellery, then opt for cheaper al­ter­na­tives (smaller di­a­monds?) or get re­ally lovely cos­tume jew­ellery. Hand-me-downs or loans from your mum or fam­ily mem­bers will help save a lot too. Vin­tage pieces can add more sig­nif­i­cance and mean­ing to your bridal wardrobe as well.

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