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April 19, 2014
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Affordable elegance

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By Jane Bollinger

But in these tough economic times, not everyone wants to spend that kind of money for what is—after all—just one day in the life of a couple that’s embarking on a lifetime together. So, how do a bride and groom have both fun and elegance on their special day without breaking the bank?

Since 2002, Ela Ambrozewicz has been the events and wedding planner at Hills Country Inn in Callicoon Center, NY, and in the last three years, she’s started doing weddings and other special events offsite as well. Because every bride deserves to have a special day for her wedding, I asked Ambrozewicz to offer some strategies for how to achieve affordable elegance.

Set priorities
“The number one thing is to set priorities—for the bride and groom to decide what’s most important to them.” For Ambrozewicz, this involves getting to know the couple and finding out what matters most to them about their wedding day. Maybe it’s being married at home. Maybe it’s having all of their friends there to help them celebrate. Maybe it’s serving fresh, local food from a nearby farm.

If a couple wants to do something special to create a “wow” factor, Ambrozewicz believes, “it should say something about the couple. Say they love ice cream; then, why not have a big ice cream bar for dessert and put out 25 delicious toppings in interesting containers? It can look beautiful. Do something that is special to the bride and groom.”

Make a budget
Making and sticking to a budget is the other most important consideration when affordability is a consideration.
“First,” advises Ambrozewicz, “decide how much you want to spend, and then, if you have limited resources, the most prudent way to go is to stick to a strict budget that will hold you to that number. Because you have a budget, if one aspect of your wedding day is most important to you, then you can make cuts in other areas to make that one priority work for you.”
One word of counsel—the reception is the most expensive element. “Always, half of your budget goes to the reception, for the hall and the catering,” she said. “Most other pieces of your budget fall into the 10% range.”
Keep it simple, she urges, and don’t hesitate to ask yourself, “Do we really need all of this?”