Consumer Reports: Wedding savings

The median cost for a wedding is about $15,000, according to the industry’s Wedding Report. But many people shell out much more. Consumer Reports found plenty of ways to cut costs without sacrificing your celebration.

One great way to save is to schedule the wedding for any day but Saturday night. Or go for January or February. Those are often the cheapest months.

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. In its calls, Consumer Reports found photographers and limo services often charged more for weddings. But when asked, some businesses suggested lower-priced alternatives. And Consumer Reports says it always pays to negotiate for everything.

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.

 Let your florist pick flowers that are 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 fee of $7 per person to cut a cake brought in from the outside.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.

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