P150,000 and below: Planning your wedding for less

Pia Regalado, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 15 2017 12:53 AM

MANILA -- If you are the type of woman who has a dream wedding planned since you were a kid, then the road to forever might be expensive. 

Weddings of a lifetime may cost millions, if you are not careful when it comes to your money. But do you know that it is possible to say "I do" to minimized spending, even less than P150,000, without compromising a once-in-a-lifetime event?

Wedding specialist Arianne Salunday told ABS-CBN News that weddings are expensive nowadays, but following a strict budget will give you the wedding you want without emptying your pockets.

Before making your budget, she advised couple to make sure to take note of their needs and wants, as well as negotiables and non-negotiables.

For Salunday, a bulk of the budget goes to the venue. Wedding planner Kristine Araguas told ABS-CBN News in an interview that a wedding venue can be cheap if the ceremony happens in the province. For instance, you can hold a wedding in Los Baños, Laguna by paying only P15,000, all complete with the reception area, the church, the priest, the choir, and candles suitable for a Catholic wedding.

It is also advisable for the couple to get a family friend who can officiate the ceremony.

The couple can also choose to have the reception held in the area where the ceremony was conducted. It is a good way to save money for the flowers and the venue, and they do not have to move guests to another place before the feast.

For some guests, the food is the most awaited part of the wedding. That's why Salunday and Araguas both suggested to find a good caterer without splurging too much for each person. Araguas said P350 per person is a decent price for dinner, but she warned that the couple should not expect a fancy meal. 

Usually, caterers have packages that include flower arrangements. But more often than not, you won't get to have a say about the flowers they will provide, said Araguas. 

If you want Pinterest-worthy flower arrangements, expect them to cost a fortune, especially if the flowers are from outside the country. But do not fret: flowers from Dangwa can be suitable alternatives, and some business owners there also offer good packages that might be suitable for your dream day.

It also helps to be strict about the number of guests allowed to attend the wedding. Asking for an RSVP may not be a usual practice in the Philippines, given that Filipinos are hospitable, but this might help with the budget. Araguas said it is fair to invite only family and close friends in the wedding itself, and just hold separate celebrations for other friends and acquaintances.

It may not be common practice to hold a wedding during the weekdays, but it can help minimize the number of guests you will expect, said Araguas. Contrary to popular beliefs, December and January, not June, are considered the hot wedding months. Expect flower prices to rise in these months, she said.

You can also invest in start-up photographers and videographers, which can help lessen the payments for the weddings. You may have to allot at least P29,000 for basic photography and videography for your special day, but photographers who still want to gather more materials for their portfolio might charge for less.

Same-day edits (SDEs), which are popular among celebrity weddings, may be too luxurious for a couple with a tight budget, especially because it will be done in a rush by the videographers. Express projects like SDEs will cost more than the usual video productions, primarily because of the expectation to produce an artistic video in a short span of time.

Coordinators are your much needed companion before, during, and after your wedding. They will act as your shock absorbers, which can also be expensive, but it depends on how long you will be needing their services. Full-coordination means they will be handling everything from your pre-nuptial shoots to the end of your wedding, but you can also have coordinators for turnovers, which means you take care of the venue, caterers, and reception while they take care of the photographers, hair and make-up artists, gown, and more. But Araguas also reminded brides that you can get a coordinator who will be with you on the day of the wedding itself, which costs a lot cheaper. They will be handling the last-minute payments for the couple so they can focus on their "I do's." However, be prepared for an intense planning session.

If you plan to get an "on-the-day" coordinator, Araguas advised brides to invest in make-up artists to make you hide the stress for the entire day. You may hire a traditional make-up artist or one who specifies in airbrush make-up, which is a bit more expensive but definitely longer lasting. Provincial rates may cost P15,000 including your pre-nuptial shoot, and your make-up on that day. Your mother and your soon-to-be mother-in-law's make-up are also included in the package.

For the reception, it is not mandatory to pay for an emcee or a DJ to take over. Friends who are good at hosting and handling the crowd can act as your hosts, which can save you tens of thousands of pesos.

Traditional gowns are now being replaced by wearing ready-to-wear dresses, like Kitchie Nadal’s headliner white wedding dress that cost P799. But if you still opt to wear a long, flowy gown, pay a visit to your friendly tailor who can make you a masterpiece of a gown for less, for a cheaper price of more or less P7,000, compared to the ones you can purchase at Divisoria which costs around P28,000.

Invitations can be optional these days. With technology and social media, inviting people to your wedding can be a breeze. However, if the couple chooses to go old school and produce invitations for their sponsors and entourage, you can do it on your own with a good printer. If you are into calligraphy, you can also show your talent by creating your invitations, even your giveaways.

And before you say your “I do’s,” make sure your rings do not bring you debt til you part. Choose to have your rings made by your local goldsmith who can produce rings especially made for you. You will be saving thousands of pesos with this compared to buying them from the mall. Remember, you do not have to drown in debt to have your much-awaited wedding.