With wedding bells come the wedding bills.
"Dress, decorations, flowers," explained Tampa bride-to-be Kristen Brant.
Those costs rack up just by saying the word "wedding."
"Your regular $20 chicken dinner just went to $120," said Valerie DiVecchio, president of Events By Divine Creations. As a wedding planner, she sees where brides can cut costs and where they should not be frugal. She agreed that there are upcharges on weddings.
"I actually thought about not mentioning that to the caterer, just oh, it's a party and see if that would make a difference," Kristen said.
During our own investigation, we called several DJs, photographers and florists to get a price comparison and found that, overall, there was an upcharge. For example, a DJ for a four-hour graduation party would cost us $400.
However, the same DJ for a four hour wedding would cost $650.
"There is more MCing that goes into the wedding aspect of it than a graduation," Valerie said.
She said there are other places to cut costs, such as flowers. Don't buy them around holidays like Mother's Day, and be flexible with your choices.
"Are you willing to substitute a peony for a rose? You just went from $6 a stem to $2 a stem," she said.
Timing is everything. Get married during the summer on a Sunday instead of a Saturday. Host an afternoon reception instead.
"If you can find a venue that allows outside catering and bar in particular, that will save you a lot of money," Valerie explained.
With the average price of a wedding in the Tampa Bay area costing $25,000 to $30,000, Valerie believes that hiring a wedding planner can actually save you a lot of money.
"I'll get, nine times out of ten, a lower rate or more perks because I'm repeat business and you're a one time event."
She added, don't be afraid to negotiate.
"If they have a cake cutting fee, you can asked for that to be waived. Electricity or power fee, you can ask for those things to be waived, dance floor fee, it's pretty standard, you can ask for that to be waived."
Also, think about what's most important to you.
"What people are gonna remember is good food, good service and if they had a good time."
It's the reason Kristen and her fiancee decided to cut down their number of guests.
"As soon as you have close friends it's exponential," she said.
A small budget means a small wedding with just family and a few friends. As an accountant, she knows that even with just that, the costs add up.
"I do feel like I got a deal on my dress," she said, with a smile.
Valerie said there are other areas that you can cut costs.
"Whether you have favors, people don't usually remember those kind of things," she said.
However, there are also areas you shouldn't go cheap.
"Probably the worst mistake would be hiring a friend or just having a friend do the photography," she said.
After all, it's a day you can't recreate, and with a marriage of ideas and a vow to stick to your budget, your wedding day can be picture-perfect.