Congratulations! You're engaged! But now what? Planning a wedding can be a big undertaking...and how do you know you're getting the best for your buck?
It's your big day, you've been planning it in your mind since you were a little girl, and you want it to be perfect...but unless your Trista and Ryan...reality is about to kick in.
According to theknot.com , the national average cost of a wedding these days is between $17,000-$21,000, depending on where you live....and girls, if you're thinking realistically, that's a brand new car, or a couple of years of college tuition...or even a down payment on a house...
But here in Region 8, those figures are a little different, according to wedding consultant Debbie Gray.
"I would say in Arkansas, in my experience, $10,000 would be a good average for everything. A very nice wedding," said Gray.
Lesley Hitt, 22, is engaged to be married in August. She and her mom are planning a wedding for about 150 people in Jonesboro, and she says the whole thing has been a learning experience.
"I've learned that weddings are a lot more expensive than I thought they were. Like, I thought like probably the most expensive thing, would be like flowers, and things like that. But the cakes are expensive, photography, everything. it's a lot more than I thought it was," said the bride-to-be.
Her mom agrees, after planning her other daughter's wedding...times have changed
"We have a budget to stay within. I have an older daughter that married almost four years ago. We had a budget for her, we try to do the same thing for the girls, so were trying to keep them close to each other, realizing there has to be some leway for inflation, some things have changed in that time," said Paula Hitt, mother of the bride.
Gray has been in the wedding business for more than 25 years, and worked on more than 50 weddings this year.
"You can buy an off name brand, something that's not advertised heavily, and save sometimes 50% for a knock off name brand, and that works well, people don't really care if it's a name brand, same way with your tuxedos. You want to rent that tuxedo without that designer name brand to save," suggested Gray.
In Region 8, flowers and decorations can cost a bridal couple anywhere from $700 to $3,000! With so many flowers to choose from, where do you start when you want to save money?
Ashley Marie Angelo is an Arkansas Master Florist. She says you can save money on flowers and still have a beautiful wedding.
"A cost efficient flower would be a carnation for this season, especially all year long. If you choose flowers in the same color scheme, like monochromatic flowers, or if you make bouquet out of all one flower, that's more cost efficient because you can order in bulk...it makes a really high impact for your dollar amount, visually," said Angelo.
And if you're getting married in the summer, like say June, the most popular month to be married, think carefully--and in season--about the flowers your choosing.
"Usually in the summer months if you choose bright colors, it's more cost efficient...because in the summer months all white flowers are more expensive," said Angelo.
And one more thought to save money. Transportation for your big day can often be expensive. Many limo services charge by the hour and your long day can rack up the time...an alternative, funeral homes. Many rent the same limo's and town cars. Check with your local funeral home on rates and availability.