How to trim wedding costs

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by By SHERRY WILLIAMS / KHOU-TV

kvue.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:38 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 20 at 11:57 AM

HOUSTON-Summer is a big season for weddings, and even though the recession has caused a drop in what families spend on the big day, the average cost in Houston is still running about $28,000, according to wedding expert Laurette Veres.

One of the easiest things to do to trim the wedding budget is to attend a bridal show, she said. There, you can find everything under one roof: cakes, dresses, photography vendors and caterers.

The biggest bridal show in the nation happens in Houston, and it takes place July 25 - 26 at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

"The vendors will come with their best foot forward. They always run specials at the show that you can only get at the show," said Veres, Producer of Bridal Extravaganza Show. "Girls truly can leave our show at the end of the day, have their whole wedding planned. It's amazing."

Experts say some tips for cutting costs are:

Cut down the guest list. Caterers charge per guest, and their bill is a huge part of the expense.

Veres suggested adding everyone you can think of to your list and then paring it down one by one, considering carefully how important it is for you to have each person at your wedding.

"If you were sitting down for dinner in a restaurant and that person's portion of the bill was $100, would you insist on paying it for them?" Veres said. If not, you may want to exclude them from the guest list.

If you cannot exclude children from the reception entirely, serve them Happy Meals or some other kid-friendly fare in a separate room at the reception. They'll be happier with the food, and so will your wallet

Don't forget to hire a babysitter to monitor them. The cost of one may be cheaper than the cost of feeding one child a catered meal.

Skip the open bar and serve champagne, wine and soft drinks.

Hire a DJ instead of a live band.

Ladies, try not to go overboard on your dress. The only thing that matters is whether or not it looks good on you, and even an inexpensive dress will look good, because it will be altered to fit you perfectly.

No one knows what your dress costs, anyway.

Avoid the trap of trying to have a lavish wedding to impress others. You cannot and will not please everyone, and there is always someone who will be hyper-critical about the ceremony and reception.

But there is one area that experts say you shouldn't cut costs: The photographer. Think about it like this - once your big day is over, those pictures will be all you have left.

Veres said average wedding costs in Houston are:

Caterer -- $15-$35 per person, depending on menu selected

Music & DJ& -- $900

Venue -- $3,000-$7,500

Dress -- $3,000

Flowers -- $800-$1,200

Cake -- $400-$1,200

Photographer -- $4,500

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