For your wedding? DIY or place value in vendors?

By Brian Swartz

Engaged couples working with a tight budget can find ways to reduce expenses without compromising quality. This can be accomplished by striking a balance between value — hiring a wedding professional — and do-it-yourself — utilizing the talents of friends and relatives to perform specific tasks.

Consider these tips:

Wedding site

Value: hold the ceremony in an ornate church or at elegant hotel or inn

• Advantage: beautiful surroundings; unique photographic opportunities

• Disadvantage: could cost more

DIY: hold the ceremony at a local hall or park or at an architecturally simpler church

• Advantages: should cost less; unique photographic opportunities

• Disadvantage: surroundings might be not as elegant as in a facility that often hosts weddings

Photography

Value: hire a professional wedding photographer

• Advantage: quality photos done by a professional who keeps cool under pressure

• Disadvantage: could cost more

DIY: ask a friend or relative skilled with digital SLRs to take the photos

• Advantage: should cost less

• Disadvantages: photo quality might be less than desired (or imagined)

Reception

Value: hold the reception at a site specializing in such events

• Advantages: experienced kitchen and wait staff; a facility that accommodates many guests

• Disadvantage: the price varies with the menu and the number of guests

DIY: hold the reception at a local church or hall or in someone’s backyard

• Advantages: should cost less; relaxed surroundings

• Disadvantages: possibly cannot accommodate many guests; no on-site manager with whom to confer if problems arise

Reception meal

Value: have the meal served during a reception held at a facility specializing in such events

• Advantage: experienced kitchen and wait staff; food should be “hot or not,” depending on the dish

• Disadvantage: the price varies with the menu and the number of guests

DIY: serve a buffet or potluck dinner at a local church or hall or in someone’s backyard

• Advantages: should cost less; informal atmosphere; encourages friends or relatives who could not participate in the ceremony to play a role at the reception, perhaps as a cook or food server

• Disadvantage: no guarantee as to food quality or quantity

Reception entertainment

Value: hire an experienced DJ who has emceed many wedding receptions

• Advantage: a reception well-managed by a cool, calm professional

• Disadvantage: price could be an issue

DIY: hire a friend or relative who has some experience as a DJ

• Advantage: should cost less

• Disadvantage: no guarantee as to equipment quality or DJ’s ability to manage the reception.