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How to plan your affordable gay wedding
First comes love, then comes marriage. Then comes the big, ol’ bill for that fabulous gay wedding! But it doesn’t have to be that way. Get our 9 affordable gay wedding tips for a fabulous wedding without the financial hangover. Plus, grab your free copy of the 5 Building Blocks of a Happy Gay Life here.
Fabulous and affordable gay wedding tips from the fabulous Aimee Palifroni:
Planning your affordable gay wedding
Wedding season’s upon us, and same-sex couples across the country want to make our special day as special as we are. With many LGBTQ couples funding your same-sex weddings, what options you have to make your day memorable?
How can you avoid letting your wedding ruin you financially?
On this episode of Queer Money®, we talked with Aimee Palifroni, owner and lead coordinator at Prisma Weddings & Events.
Oh, and Aimee was our wedding planner!
On this episode, Aimee shares 9 cost-conscious tips for planning a great same-sex wedding – some of which make sense for weddings of every budget and sexual orientation.
Aimee’s been planning same-sex weddings and commitment ceremonies since before marriage equality passed in June 2015. She’s seen the evolution of these ceremonies and says same-sex couples are more and more comfortable with the idea of throwing their own wedding. Whereas initially many of us were still wrapping our heads around the fact that getting married, legally, is actually available to us.
As for going a traditional or non-traditional route with your wedding, Aimee says, “The thing about weddings today is there are no rules, and that goes for opposite and same-sex weddings.” Aimee continues, “Once you have all the base pieces together—who, what, where, when—it’s really up to you to add your own personality.”
The common trend is that “everyone’s kind of doing it their own way.” Weddings are becoming more experience-based rather than tradition-based, and couples want their wedding to be “Insta-worthy.”
So, how do you achieve all these goals with your gay wedding and not blow your budget? These 9 tips will help.There actually are statistics out there that say, if you have a larger, more expensive wedding, your marriage is less likely to last. - Aimee Palifroni of Prisma EventsClick To Tweet
1. Invite only those you want to invite
The two most expensive line items of most weddings are the guest list and the alcohol budget – one affects the other. But for many same-sex couples who want to get married, we’re balancing family who accepts us and family who doesn’t, family we’ve stayed in contact with and those we don’t because they’re homophobic.
That was the case for us. Because some family members accept us and others don’t, it got too hard to decide who to invite – can we invite someone and not their sibling, children and not their parents?
When Aimee said, “You know, guys, you don’t have to invite family,” the heavens opened and planning our friends-only wedding became fun. Plus, it saved us a ton of money because we didn’t have to feed and supply drinks to people who wished we weren’t getting married to begin with.
2. Stock the bar yourself (if your venue allows)
If allowed by your venue, stocking your bar yourself can save a lot of money. Aimee’s worked with couples who, when items are on sale, stockpile beer, wine and liquor over several months to a year before their wedding days.
Another option is to stockpile liquor from your engagement party as a “stock the bar” game. Finally, look for local liquor stores that offer price matches, buy-back programs, free and cold deliveries.
Aimee says that this tip can help build anticipation for your special day, too, because almost everything else about your wedding day is conceptual until the day arrives. Watching a growing liquor cabinet – if you can keep from touching it – creates some tangible excitement.
3. Skip the bridal party
While you’re paring down your guest list, Aimee says, “Skipping the bridal party and keeping your ceremony focused on the two of you is another quick and easy way to cut line items from your affordable gay wedding budget.” She sees this a bit more with her same-sex clients than her straight clients.
Forgoing the wedding party lets you save on expenses like bouquets, boutonnieres and gifts to the wedding party. It, also, keeps the focus of the wedding on the brides or grooms, which can provide a more intimate experience.
4. Do reception-style with food stations
As opposed to family-style or full-service, reception-style creates a fun and moving ambiance with a mixture of tables. This can include a few round tables that seat eight to ten people with several cocktail tables for people to stand.
Using food stations is one of Aimee’s favorite wedding-saving solutions. It lets wedding guests mix and mingle and creates a number of experiences that incorporate different cuisines This is an exceptionally great tip when individuals who are from different cultures marry.
This tip can help you save money in ways that may not be obvious. For one, it eliminates the need to decorate a large number of tables with flower arrangements, other decorations, and costly basics such as tablecloths, napkins, glassware, silverware and chairs.
Aimee suggests preparing parents and grandparents, if they are attending, for this style, as many will expect a traditional experience.
5. Use digital invitations and RSVP tracking
Using digital tools for money and time-saving solutions is more popular than ever. Considering that some of the cheapest printed invitations start at $2.50, not including postage, and the amount of paper used for printed invitations, couples are opting for more economical and eco-friendly solutions.
Aimee shares that there are many easy and mostly free options for wedding invitations and RSVP tracking.
The most popular digital invitations and RSVP trackers are The Knot, Zola and Minted. For the few guests who need printed invitations, maybe grandparents, invitations can be custom ordered by downloading and printing a digital option from Etsy as a great workaround.
6. Hire queer college students for live music, photography, hair and makeup
Every couple has one or two elements of their wedding that is super important to them. For those elements, hire professionals to it them perfectly. To save money in the other areas, hire LGBTQ college students or recent college graduates to do the work for you.
This lets you save money and possibly help an LGBTQ launch their career. One of Aimee’s clients did this, and it saved them a lot of money while helping a student from their alma mater build a portfolio.
To make an informed hire, though, reach out to college administrators or faculty for references.
7. Be creative with your venue
Aimee suggests “thinking outside the ballroom” with venues like Airbnb, Misterbnb, breweries, parks or restaurants. Venues will often price a buyout of their space for your wedding. Depending on the beauty of your location, such as a park, the need for decorations may even be eliminated.
Eloping or choose a private ceremony is more common with Aimee’s LGBTQ clients than her straight clients, but it’s an option that saves a ton of money. Usually, couples who choose either of these options will follow up with a party or reception.
This money-saving solution may upset some friends and family, but they’re not paying for your wedding. Screw it! Who wants to start their marriage with financial stress just to make someone else happy?
9. Hire a wedding planner
Finally, Aimee says that hiring a wedding planner is a line item many people skip because hiring one seems extravagant. But wedding planners can help you save more money in the long run.
“Our goal is to make sure you’re getting everything that you want and celebrating exactly how you want, without having to take a second mortgage out,” Aimee concludes. Aimee manages weddings all around the world. So, hire Aimee to help you plan and save on your affordable gay wedding.
So, yes, stay as non-traditional with your non-traditional wedding as you want to be. But let your same-sex wedding be as unique as you are.
Have a wedding that leaves nothing but amazing memories and no lingering money headaches.
Connect with Aimee to plan your fabulous, affordable gay wedding
More tips for your affordable gay wedding
- 9+ Perfect Gay Wedding Gift Ideas
- 5 Building Blocks of a Happy Gay Life
- How to Start Being a Happy Gay Man
- Who’s Paying for Your Gay Wedding?