The peak season for weddings is about to begin, and with all of the celebrations comes a lot of spending.
According to the Wedding Report, the median cost of a wedding these days is around $15,000. But many people spend much, much more.
Jaci and Adam Fletcher did everything they could to save money on their wedding. The key, they say, was negotiating.
"Everything from my wedding dress to the flowers to the decorations," Jaci said.
They also bargained with the caterer to allow them to provide their own alcohol.
Adam explains, "We probably saved somewhere between three and five thousand on the alcohol just buying ourselves."
Consumer Reports has just investigated the high cost of weddings and come up with a number of ways to save.
One is to schedule the wedding for any time but Saturday night and plan it for January or February.
And don't let vendors charge more just because it's a wedding. Consumer Reports secret shoppers found a good percentage of businesses do just that.
Consumer Reports' Margot Gilman says, "In our calls, we found photographers and limo services often charged more for weddings."
But when asked, some businesses suggested lower-priced alternatives.
Some other ways to save:
-Limit the entrée choices.
-Limit the hours of the open bar. >Consider serving only beer and wine.
-Send the photographer home an hour early. A lot of guests will have left by then.
And a final tip from the Fletchers: When it comes to flowers, let your florist pick what is in season - they'll be the least expensive.
When it comes to planning a wedding, you may hate the thought of reading the fine print. But Consumer Reports says to check every contract carefully. It found that some caterers included a built-in tip as high as 26 percent, and one charged a $7 per person fee to cut a cake brought in from the outside.
Saving cash on the high cost of weddings