Creative ways to save on your wedding

We’ve talked about prenups and renting the wedding, now I want to address some creative ways to save. In 2012, the average wedding cost over $28,000, according to The Knot. Here’s your five-step guide to getting hitched without breaking the bank.

  • Why a prenup may be right for you
  • Rent the cake? Unusual tips to cut your wedding bill
  • Helpful hints to cut your wedding bill
  • Complete Coverage: The Wedding Planner


1. By the numbers

First, create a budget you’re comfortable with and stick to it. This means taking pen to paper, prioritizing your wishes and making some tough decisions. If you just go in with just a general idea of a grand total, there’s no way you’ll actually stick to it.

2. Any day is a good day

Instead of the traditional Saturday service, think about having your reception on a Friday or a Sunday. You can frequently save a large percentage. Also, scheduling your wedding for an off-peak time (November or January through March) will buy you some negotiating power.

3. Decor-it-yourself

Many couples are opting to choose seasonal, locally sourced flowers for the reception. Your florist’s bill will be lower without the need to track down hard-to-find blooms and your d?cor will tie in the season. Also, go green: Opting for more greenery and less blossoms spells savings. If you want to take it one step further, you could make your own centerpieces after ordering wholesale flowers from places like Also think about alternative centerpieces like lanterns or votives suspended on branches in lieu of traditional (and pricey!) flower arrangements.

4. Eat, drink and be very on budget

With The Knot reporting the average number of guests at 139, the food is one of the most expensive line items of a wedding’s overall budget. A daytime reception means lunch or brunch — far more budget friendly than dinner — and decidedly English. If you want to stick to the evening hours, a great way to save on liquor — a big ticket item — is to forego the open bar and serve just beer, wine and signature drink. Not only will it personalize your reception, it will cut liquor costs dramatically.

5. Don’t be a bridezilla

It always pays to be nice. Vendors are in a unique position to offer you discounts, and a demanding bride-to-be is not going to score them. It sounds counterintuitive, but a wedding planner could help you save. Price out planners in your area and ask them how they could help you save. Not only do they have experience working with brides on budgets, but they frequently have long-term relationships they can leverage to cut your bottom line. Of course, a planner will cost you; If you don’t think the cost/savings ratio will work out in your favor, be your own planner. has nearly a dozen spreadsheets to help you navigate everything from your guest list to a timeline for the big day.

Million dollar wedding stirs up central province

A million dollar wedding last Wednesday and Thursday was organized by a magnate for her son, and featured famous singers. The event has attracted the attention of local people in the town of Son Tay, Huong Son district, in the central province of Ha Tinh. 

Streets in the town of Son Tay were jammed as people thronged down the two sides of National Road 8A and watched a group of expensive cars, including an Audi A5 Sportback, a Mercedes GLK, a Mercedes C250 CGI, a Porsche Cayenne, and a BMW carrying the bride, groom and guests to the reception.

According to sources, the groom is 25-year old H., the son of a magnate in Huong Son and the bride is 20-year old L., who is from a rich family in Hanoi.

They are both studying in Singapore at the moment.

Singers famous in both Vietnam and overseas, like Dam Vinh Hung, Phi Nhung, Manh Quynh and Quang Le were invited to sing at the wedding.

According to the groom’s relatives, more than US$60,000 was spent on hiring the singers and a band from Hanoi, VND2 billion (US$96,00) on wines, and 60 gold taels were presented to the newlywed.

The total expenditure of the wedding could be no less than VND25 billion (US$1.2 million).

Previously, a seafood magnate’s wedding stirred up the Mekong Delta province of Can Tho with posh cars like a Rolls – Royce Bentley, and Lamborghini crossing Can Tho Bridge, the longest cable-stayed bridge in South East Asia, and touring around the city.

Some pictures of the wedding:

The wedding car, a VND10 billion ($500,000) Ferrari.

Cars that particpate in the wedding.

Other super-cars…

This wedding feast is priced VND6 million ($300).

Pop star Dam Vinh Hung.

Overseas Vietnamese singer Quang Le (left).

Overseas Vietnamese singers Phi Nhung and Manh Quynh.

The young couple are presented with up to 60 taels of gold
VND2.7 billion or nearly US$130,000).

Wedding of Alvin Lai & Ella Chen at Le Meridien Hotel Taipei

The wedding of Alvin Lai 賴斯翔 & Ella Chen 陈嘉桦, one of the most anticipated weddingin Taiwan entertainment industry made its way into headlines of entertainment channels on Chinese media platforms where the first wedding session was held at Le Meridien Hotel Taipei. Ella Chen 陈嘉桦 was set to be Mrs Lai, the wife of Alvin Lai 賴斯翔, a Malaysian-Chinese who resides in Taiwan.


Tons of wishes were sent in by the fans of S.H.E as well as various artiste in the entertainment industry. The wedding session wasn’t one of the most glamorous amongst wedding of celebrities, but it was good enough for the couple who claimed to be glad they found their soul mate.

It’s always a joyous occasion to see 2 person holding hands getting ready to step on their next journey together. All the best to the couple. Now it’s only Hebe from S.H.E who is not married yet. Is it possible for another Malaysian to get into her life?

Let There Be Light was the official photography team engaged to cover the wedding. *The same team from Singapore shot Blackie Chen and Christine Fan’s wedding, Barbie Hsu and Wang Xiaofei’s top-secret Sanya wedding in Hainan last year, as well as ex-MTV VJ Jason Tang’s big day.

Do check out the videos below taken on the wedding luncheon itself.



5 experts make wedding plans for Pitt and Jolie

Locales, vibes, guests and more: Our event planners have done the work for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Locales, vibes, guests and more: Our event planners have done the work for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

By Jason Merritt, Getty Images

Whether they walk down the aisle in 2012 or 2013, there’s no doubt that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie will star in the wedding of the year. USA TODAY asked a quintet of A-list wedding planners to unveil ideas to help the most boldface bride and groom of them all tie the knot.

  • Marcy Blum thinks the wedding will be "very low-key," with the children playing a prominent role.Julie Skarratt Photography

    Marcy Blum thinks the wedding will be “very low-key,” with the children playing a prominent role.


Julie Skarratt Photography

Marcy Blum thinks the wedding will be “very low-key,” with the children playing a prominent role.

PLANNER: Marcy Blum, whose celebrity wedding clients include Billy Joel, Colin Hanks, Salman Rushdie, Tom Clancy

The locale: “Some sort of magnificent structure.” Pitt is “such a visual person. He’s designed so many homes, and now the ring,” that Blum could see collaborating with him on a modern building that takes the typical tent cake “because that’s where his tastes run. … They can’t do anything outside, unfortunately, unless they can fool everyone to where it is.” One place Blum believes the couple has crossed off their short list because it’s at the top of everyone else’s: Their South of France chateau.

  • MORE: A summer of celebrity nuptials?

  • INTERACTIVE: Angelina Jolie’s altar styles

The guest list: Under 100 family and close friends.

The vibe: “Very low-key, and it should be … soft and understated” and family-oriented, with the kids playing a prominent role. “The kids will definitely, it seems to me, be very much a part of the ceremony.” The idea is “not to just cut to the chase and get to the party as everybody does, but have a more meaningful” service that taps into the couple’s spirituality — and the children’s reported wish for a fairy-tale affair. “They want it to be out of Shrek.”

The entertainment: A similarly boldface band. “A lot of friends and acquaintances are going to pitch in and perform,” doing double duty as guests and singers or players. “It’s part of the gift, almost.”

By Jamie McCarthy, Getty Images

Colin Cowie would include two venues: on location in South Africa and at home in Los Angeles.

PLANNER:Colin Cowie of, whose celebrity clients include Alyssa Milano, Eddie Murphy, Holly Robinson Peete

The locale: Two venues: The first would spirit Pitt and Jolie and just their immediate family members to a luxurious South African safari camp. The second, two weeks later, would be a cocktail-style reception for friends at their house in L.A.

The vibe: For the African ceremony, warm and intimate: “I could imagine them getting married with a stunning African sunset under a large old tree hanging with dozens and dozens of lanterns.” For the L.A. party, the complete opposite: “Instead of buffets, I would have stations of food paired with great wines and cocktails,” culminating in a wedding-cake cutting to create a “fun, glamorous night.” To bridge the two events, at the end of the night, each party guest would receive a small booklet filled with “stunning images” of the family wedding abroad.

The guest list: In Africa, closest family only. In L.A., 200 friends.

The entertainment: In Africa, they would be serenaded by the local village choir. At the California reception, a musical mashup: A couple of rock violinists and a percussionist would accompany someone like DJ Cassidy, who spun at Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s bash. For the cake-cutting portion, a song by the pair’s favorite artist.

By Christian Oth, Christian Oth Studios

Jung Lee thinks the couple’s Chateau Miraval in France will be the site of the Jolie-Pitt wedding.

PLANNER: Jung Lee of Fete, whose celebrity clients include the Bulgari family, Stephen King’s son Owen,Jann Wenner’s son Alexander

The locale: Lee believes the rumors: Chateau Miraval. “It’s a revealing of the property for their closest friends and family that haven’t had a chance to visit yet.” Besides, “you can’t rent something like that.” Regardless, this will be an event that requires passports. “For sentimental reasons, I would love for them to actually have the wedding and give the proper glamour to the States, but I think it’s probably not feasible. They’re not going to have the privacy they need.”

The guest list: 200-300 people, “for sure.”

The vibe: “I would be completely shocked if it would be an all-white sort of wedding.” So Lee envisions noir nuptials: black mirrors, 2-foot candlesticks, dark, rich flowers and, juxtaposed against the 14th-century surroundings, sleek, contemporary furniture for lounging. But it wouldn’t be all adult lair. Lee sees lots of children “running around the sprawling lawn. It can’t be more magnificent than that — sort of heaven on earth.” And for a late-night snack? Considering the clan’s photographed penchant for junk food, mini bags of McDonald’s cheeseburgers, french fries, hot apple pies and shakes flown in. It would satisfy the kids — and show the newlyweds’ sense of humor. “You’re drinking and you smell that oily McDonald’s? People live for it. People clap for it sometimes when we bring it out.”

The entertainment: “Amazing acts like U2 and Elton John— just great bands that are also among their friends.” Guests are going to “get down and dance.”

By Darice

David Tutera wouldn’t be surprise if the couple chose a private island, or a rain forest.

PLANNER: David Tutera, whose celebrity clients include Los Angeles Clipper Chris Paul and Shannen Doherty

The locale: A “very exotic” venue that is most definitely not in the USA. “They’re so international. Think about the time they spend together as a family and as a couple. It’s not in the States. … Doing it in America sort of to me goes against who they are.” So think private island, “up on a mountain or in a rain forest” — a “challenging destination” for paparazzi to reach.

The guest list: 100-150 friends and family. “Nobody in the business.”

The vibe: “Very Bali”: copious quantities of candles; local organic food that’s indigenous to the setting; dark wood tables adorned with “lots of incredibly interesting almost artifacts,” such as foliage-filled bowls; earth-hued flowers in greens, oranges, khakis, coppers and champagnes. The look is “very tropical, but not kitschy tropical … pretty but not prissy, not girly-girl.”

The entertainment: “Someone you would sit and enjoy,” like Adele. “I don’t really see this as a dancing party.” Likewise, forget those cliched “I do”-uttering traditions. “The first dance, the throwing of the bouquet — I see them not doing that at all.”

By Walling McGarity

Diann Valentine thinks the couple should make a long weekend of it, with breakfasts, but no cake.

PLANNER: Diann Valentine, whose celebrity clients include Usher and Tameka Raymond, Jennifer and Eric Williams of Basketball Wives, Martin Lawrence, Toni Braxton, Evelyn Lozada of Basketball Wives and NFLplayer Chad Ochocinco

The locale: Their own private island, such as the $75,000-per-night Calivigny, off the coast of Grenada. The French colonial- and Balinese-style main house boasts 10 suites outfitted in designs by Oscar de la Renta and Richard Frinier. The price tag notwithstanding, it’s a relatively casual setting fitting the Jolie-Pitts, Valentine says. “They tend not to live a very flamboyant, ostentatious lifestyle.”

The vibe: A weekend of individual activities and group breakfasts and parties, including the most important bash of them all: the wedding, but the guests — and kids — wouldn’t know when they were saying “I do” until the moment it happens. The ceremony itself? A stripped-down affair “definitely” devoid of bridesmaids, groomsmen attendants, ring bearers and wedding cake — “none of that foolishness.” The cuisine, whipped up by private chefs from different regions of the world, would pay homage to the children’s homelands, from Africa to Southeast Asia. The décor would be “very sleek, very clean”: teak furnishings, neutral fabrics, seagrass mats — no “ugly white vinyl” tents. The goal? For guests to “walk away with a greater appreciation for something bigger than the USA.”

The guest list: “Very small and intimate”: 50-75 family members and friends.

The entertainment: “A very eclectic mix of music that is not about celebrity but more so about their personal taste,” representing the same cultures their family hails from. So think African dance troupe or choir plus opera singer plus, perhaps, Coldplay.


Singapore is one of the ‘greenest’ cities in the world- why not marry in the eyes of Mother Nature? We offer the pros and cons of hosting your wedding at these green sites.

Beach wedding

Beach bums will love to exchange their vows in the backdrop of a setting sun with blue sea gently caressing the shore. Like a black canvas, the beach allows lots of room for creativity if you want a special theme wedding.

The kids can go berserk on the beach without knocking into tables and the adults will tend to feel more relaxed in the less formal atmosphere, sipping cool drinks while taking in the wonderful scenery.

However, beach weddings may not sit well with some guests. It can get pretty hot and uncomfortable in the day for some unless you hire a contractor to set up an air-conditioned marquee.

Older folks may have a problem treading on uneven ground like soft sand. You can place chairs and tables for them near the beach and close to your wedding reception or dinner so that they will not miss out on the action. It will be nice if you can provide them with hand fans or pocket fans on a sunny day.

Check out the beach before you book anything to make sure it is not infested with flies, mosquitoes or scavenging animals.

As fresh flowers tend to wither faster under warm temperatures, discuss with your florist the kinds of flowers you can use outdoors and the latest time they can deliver to ensure freshness to the last minute.

Like all outdoor locations, always work out a Plan B in case of erratic weather.


Garden wedding

Nature lovers will find it soothing to celebrate their wedding in picturesque parks or gardens with the sweet smell of freshness lingering in the air.

You do not have to spend too much time setting up the place as it already exudes a natural charm with its much-tended flora.

Nevertheless, there are some things to take note of for garden weddings. Do set up tents over the dining area to prevent falling leaves, flowers or seeds from garnishing the food.

Do not take for granted that the flower bushes will bloom all year round. Check out the blooming seasons and arrange for your own floral decorations if need be.

Brides may wish to forsake white gowns with long trains for ankle-length gowns as they may pic up dirt and mud easily in outdoor locations. If possible, advise your guests against wearing strong perfume or aftershave as they may attract bugs and bees.