Here’s how Minnesota couples can save on weddings in the craziest YOLO year ever

A fairy tale wedding has never cost more.

It’s a year of catching up – on weddings, travel, other business and entertainment that people couldn’t do when the coronavirus was at its deadliest. And the prices for every part of a wedding are skyrocketing.

“There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight with the highest cost increases our industry has ever seen due to labor shortages and rising food prices,” Elizabeth said. Sherry, Founder of Twin Cities Wedding & Event Professionals. “It’s not that it’s going to keep going up, but it’s not going to go down, not any time soon.”

Many couples are just absorbing the blow, embracing the spirit of only living once that fuels forgiving choices. But three wedding and events industry veterans in the Twin Cities said there are still plenty of ways to save money, even if they require trade-offs.

Cut the guest list

“The number of guests is important,” said Reena Maheshwari, owner of Kahani Events, which has planned many elaborate South Asian weddings. “It’s especially important in the weddings I do and it can take weddings from doable to crazy.”

When the family pays the bill, especially in the case of young couples, candid conversations need to take place from the start.

“I wouldn’t even look for venues until you discussed the guest list with your family,” Sherry said.

How to cut the list? “If you don’t give that person $100, you shouldn’t invite them, because that’s what it will cost to invite them, and that’s the low end,” she said. declared.

Look at the big items

Venue, catering and alcohol costs make up 60% of a wedding’s budget, Sherry said.

If possible, schedule the ceremony and reception at the same location so you don’t rack up the costs of multiple venues and transportation between them.

Opt for less popular times of the year and days of the week. In Minnesota, the most popular days are Fridays and Saturdays from May through October and Sundays on summer vacation weekends.

Popular event venues often have their prices listed online. Choose a venue with a choice of caterers or one that allows you to choose one. “It’s economics 101,” Sherry said. “If a caterer has a monopoly on space, prices will be higher.”

To show creativity

“Have a cocktail-style reception with heavy finger foods and no sit-down dinner,” Maheshwari said. “

Sherry warns to limit entries during a social hour if dinner is to follow it. Keep them one or two past entries. Or, skip them and offer a plated salad so guests can eat immediately after sitting down for dinner.

To save on booze, forget champagne toast and signature cocktails, Sherry said. She poured many, many glasses of both down the drain while working in catering over the years at the Van Dusen Mansion and the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.

Small steps that matter

Think about the three most important things in your marriage and focus on them, Maheshwari said. Consider eliminating items that add to the price.

Large wedding parties for bridesmaids and groomsmen come with additional costs, such as transportation and thank-you gifts, Maheshwari said. Plus, some friends will be grateful they don’t have to splurge for a bridesmaid dress. A special head table for the wedding party also involves more costs, she said.

Buy a ready-made wedding dress, advises Sherry. The price will be cheaper. More importantly, a bride can then be sure to have a dress in hand in time for the big day. No nervous waiting for a custom order that can be saved.

Choose a micro wedding – or an elopement

Minne Weddings founder Gretchen Culver discovered the concept of micro-weddings in January 2020. In April, with the pandemic causing all of her large weddings to be postponed, she started her business with the goal of hosting weddings that respect COVID-19 restrictions.

Micro weddings have fewer than 30 guests. A couple books an all-inclusive 90-minute wedding package online at a scheduled time and location, at an average cost of $7,000. Added bonus: All the planning is done for the couple.

A venue working with a set of vendors can host four or five micro-weddings a day and generate the same amount of revenue as one large wedding. This is the calculation that leads to cost savings for couples.

Runaways are even smaller, stripped down versions for around $2,000 with up to 10 people.

After these small weddings, some couples opt for a celebration afterwards in a restaurant or at their parents’ house.

Culver was initially surprised at how many couples preferred a smaller affair. “I remember the first email I received was from a woman saying, ‘The idea of ​​a big wedding scares me. I don’t want to be the center of attention,'” she said.

Luz W. German