The COVID-19 pandemic has turned many industries on their heads, and in many parts of the country, the wedding industry is among them. Time-honored customs like the newly-wed couple mingling from table to table, talking to hundreds of guests over the course of an evening, can be problematic when it's important to maintain social distancing and minimize large gatherings.
For budget-conscious brides and grooms, there's a silver lining—planning a wedding on a budget has become easier. Many of the riskiest options COVID-wise (like ultra-large wedding parties, open bars, and limos for the wedding party) are also among the most expensive. Read on for some tips to help plan a budget-friendly wedding.
Small (Under 50-Guest) Weddings
Many state and local COVID-related restrictions on the number of people at a gathering set 50 as the threshold. Generally, wedding planners expect anywhere from 80 to 90 percent of invited guests to attend, which means you can invite around 55 to 57 people if you hope to keep the gathering at 50. 1
If keeping your guest list this low just isn't an option, you'll want to look at venues that can allow you to expand. Some will let you set up tents outside to keep the building at or below capacity. You may even have guests arrive in "shifts" for the reception, allowing you to stretch your list without having more than 50 people in the same space at one time.
Cupcakes Instead of Cake
Wedding cakes are often works of art, and can be quite expensive as a result. But serving dozens of people slices from one cake is not a pandemic-friendly dessert option. Instead, consider offering cupcakes or other individual-sized desserts like cream puffs, eclairs, or even chocolate bars with customized wedding labels. Not only can this ensure that everyone will still celebrate your wedding with something sweet, but it can provide a significantly cheaper option than a multi-tiered wedding cake.
All Provisions in Writing
Getting a solid vendor contract is always important, but having a vendor's cancellation and refund policies clear and in writing is even more crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic. Venues and vendors don't always have total control over whether they can execute their wedding-day responsibilities. Knowing that you'd be able to get most (or all) of your deposits back if your wedding needs to be canceled or postponed can provide you with much-needed peace of mind.
A good contract will also specify what services the vendor is supposed to provide, when these services are to be provided, and when payment is to be made. Although many vendors require deposits in order to reserve their services, keeping back some portion of the payment (as opposed to paying in-full upfront) can ensure that the job is done to your satisfaction before full payment is made. This can help you avoid being taken by surprise if a vendor makes a last-minute demand or request for change, as your contract may specify that certain provisions can't be renegotiated after a certain date.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.
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