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Groom 101

How to Budget the Groom’s Side of the Wedding

Chris Easter

Vacation plans aren’t the only thing that the economy has been ruining lately. Rough times are also taking a toll on weddings across the country. Elaborate blowout weddings are becoming a thing of the past. But although money may be tight right now, it doesn’t mean you still can’t have an amazing wedding.

Budget-Slashing Options

Here are some budget-slashing options to consider in regards to the groom’s financial responsibilities.

The groom’s cake

Do: Consider skipping this cake. It isn’t a wedding necessity, so this is a logical place to make some cost cuts. If you decide to have one, keep it small and simple or ask a friend or relative make it.

Don’t: If you decide to have a groom’s cake, don’t make it too gaudy. You don’t want to steal any glory from the wedding cake.

Wedding day transportation

Do: Have a friend drive you or drive your own car. Limo and trolley rentals can get pricey and are a logical place to cut costs.

Don’t: Never, under any circumstance, ask the bride to drive!

Rehearsal dinner

Do: Strictly limit the guest list to the wedding party and parents. Consider holding the rehearsal dinner at private residence as opposed to an expensive banquet hall. Have your friends and family cook or bring side dishes. The rehearsal dinner doesn’t have to be formal. It’s quite popular to hold the event in a backyard and follow dinner with a game of horseshoes or washers. This is still a great time that’s also easy on the pocketbook.

Don’t: Avoid putting too much pressure on friends and family to hold the event or cook for it. Chances are a few will step up without even being asked. You can almost always find cheap catering or carryout options, if you take the time to shop around.

The honeymoon and associated transportation

Do: Stay in the states. If you like camping or hiking, a trip to the mountains can be a perfect alternative to a costly overseas adventure. Keep it short; there are no rules stating the honeymoon has to be a week long. If you decide to book a cruise or stay at a resort, set a budget beforehand with your fiancée for how much you’ll spend on food, liquor and entertainment.

Don’t: If at all possible, don’t take a delayed honeymoon. Most couples that wait to take a trip until they’re a little more financially secure never end up taking one at all. So set a budget up front and stick to it.

The bride’s engagement ring and wedding band

Do: Delay buying an engagement ring until you’re in a better financial situation. There’s nothing wrong with buying a cheap “placeholder” until you can afford the ring you really want to buy. It also isn’t written in stone that she has to have both an engagement ring and a wedding band. Talk to her about it. Some women prefer to wear only an engagement ring and skip the band.

Don’t: Without a clear picture of when the current economic crisis will end, avoid financing a ring. This could get you in trouble if gas prices continue to rise. You don’t want to be stuck with a payment every month if gas hits $6/gallon.

The bride’s bouquet

Do: This one’s tough. She most likely has her mind set on a beautiful array of flowers, so this may not be the best option for cutting corners. But remind her that sometimes simple is better. Another option is to tap the resources of a friend or family member who’s handy at this kind of thing. Just make sure the results will live up to your bride’s expectations.

Don’t: Don’t push the issue too much on this one. Flowers consistently rank as one of the most important wedding aspects for the bride and her attendants.

Boutonnieres for the groomsmen

Do: Keep your attendants to a minimum (we know this is easier said than done). Shop around for the best price on boutonnieres, and try to go with something simple.

Don’t: Avoid cutting the boutonnieres completely from the budget. They’re a classy way of showing your appreciation for your best man and groomsmen and letting them stand out from the crowd.

Corsages for the mothers and grandmothers

Do: Again, try to keep it simple and make sure to shop around.

Don’t: This is an item that really shouldn’t be cut from the budget. Show your respect for these important ladies!

Gifts for the groomsmen, ushers and ring bearer

Do: The average amount spent on each groomsman, usher, and ring bearer gift is $40. You can cut that in half by selecting less elaborate gifts. Some examples of inexpensive gifts could be fishing lures, personalized golf balls, or a small accessory for iPod or mp3 player. Remember, it’s the thought that counts. It’s wise to shop around.

Don’t: Avoid purchasing a group gift; it’s not as personal and can seem like an afterthought. You shouldn’t have any problem finding affordable gifts for each member of the wedding party, if you put some thought into it.

The groom’s wedding day attire

Do: Consider wearing a suit or purchasing a new one, which is often significantly less expensive than renting a tux (and you can always wear it again). If your groomsmen all own suits, you can all wear matching ties.

Don’t: If your wedding ceremony will be in a church, don’t wear anything any less casual than suits. While khakis and white polos are great for a beach ceremony, the same does not go for a church wedding.

TMR Recommendation: It may not seem fruitful at first, but consider a destination wedding. Although travel is expensive, most resorts offer a destination wedding special. It almost always ends up being less expensive than throwing a large wedding back home. And any guests or friends who want to make the trip pay their own airfare.

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