Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Green and Frugal Wedding Guide : The Craigslist Debate

If you are on a budget for your wedding one of the easiest places to turn to for affordable vendors is Craigslist.  For anyone who doesn't know, Craigslist is a virtual "community board" where people can post anything from cars for sale to houses for sale to want ads for a handy man around the house.  I've used Craigslist in the past to find apartments, roommates, furniture, my old car, pet cages, and even someone who would install a floating TV for me.  It's a resource that I find extremely valuable in my everyday life.

But when it comes to weddings and wedding vendors, Craigslist can be hit or miss.  Many people will tell you to not even go to Craigslist in regards to your wedding in any way, but I'm not one of those people.  There are so many great ways that Craigslist can help you achieve the wedding of your dreams on a budget... and there are many ways in which Craigslist can burn you and should be avoided.

So here are some Dos and Don'ts of Craiglist Weddings

Maggie Sottero, worn once and cleaned!
Only $300!
DO... check out the "For Sale" section for savings on a wedding dress.  Sometimes brides will change their mind and buy a different wedding dress and then try to unload their original, unworn, wedding dress for a fraction of the cost.  Or a bride will wear a dress at her wedding and then sell it to make back a little of what she sold.  The dress in that case will be worn, but usually still in good condition and maybe even dry cleaned and maybe even preserved professionally.  For my first wedding I actually found an amazingly incredible dress FOR FREE on Craigslist.  The original bride spent $2,000 on the dress but was moving to Hawaii and couldn't take it with her.  Instead of going through the hassle to sell it she just gave it away and I was lucky enough to get it!  Be sure the check the size of the dress and ask if you can try it on or at least see the dress in person before selling.  As always, meeting in a public place is ideal.

DON'T... have high hopes for a Craigslist vendor.  This is a part that is REALLY hit and miss.  I know people who have gotten Craigslist vendors and had a wonderful experience.  I know others who got a vendor off Craigslist still cry about their experience years after the fact.  Usually if someone is posting on Craigslist they are new to the wedding business.  Maybe they got a Canon Rebel for Christmas and now think they are a photographer.  These are known as "fauxtographers".  Or maybe they bought an iPod and a cheap speaker set and now they are labeling themselves a "DJ".  An easy way to weed out someone who is only doing this "for fun" and not seriously is to ask if they have liability insurance.  Tell them your venue requires that all vendors to have liability insurance and you need proof of insurance for the venue.  Since it can cost between $300-1000 to fully insure many wedding-related businesses, you can be assured that if your vendor is insured they are at least serious enough to make that investment.  You can also be assured that if, God forbid, anything does go wrong you can turn to their insurance company for reimbursement.  You may be able to find yourself an amazing deal on a photographer or DJ or videographer or officiant by searching on Craigslist.  They are probably still new to the business, but if they are taking their craft seriously and running their business legally they may be a great option for your budget wedding!  (NOTE: Officiants probably wouldn't need insurance, but do ask for credentials that they are allowed to legally marry someone in your state!)

$65 On My Local Craigslist!
DO... type in "Wedding" into the "For Sale" section, and see what you find!  Right now on my local Craigslist I am seeing a pair of worn-once (for only 10 minutes according to the ad) Steve Madden shoes, size 8, for $60.  Perfect wedding shoes!  I'm also seeing a listing for tons of wedding scrapbook supplies for $90, wedding veils, wine glasses, decorations, a silk flower bouquet, and even wedding rings.  Most of these items will be used, but you can go see them first and check out their condition.  I got a bunch of tulle and gift bags for free from my local Craigslist a while back that will be great additions to my wedding projects!

DON'T... meet with anyone you meet on Craigslist in their home or alone.  So many creepy people lurk on that website and there was even a serial killer using Craigslist to lure in their victims as early as last year!  You hear so many stories of people being robbed, injured, and even killed when they are too trustworthy of people they meet on Craigslist.  If you are dealing with a vendor, ask to meet in a coffee shop.  If you are dealing with someone selling an item, ask to meet at a Walmart or mall... anywhere there will be other people.  If they insist they have to meet you at their home (maybe they are disabled or at home with kids) then bring a friend or your fiance along and make sure someone else knows the address you are going to.  But whatever you do, DO NOT GO TO A PRIVATE HOME ALONE!!!

1 comment:

Julie said...

Great tips for engaged ladies looking to save some green. It never hurts to remind people to be cautious with Craigslist!