Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Breaking Down Your Budget

A couple weeks ago we talked about how to start the conversations regarding your Wedding and it's budget.  Now it's time to dig alittle deeper into the budget and put some real numbers into your budget.  I've broken down the major categories and given you some numbers to go with those categories, as well what they categories represent, and the best way to save some money in those categories.  All the figures  come from a great article on The Knot, click on the link for more information.

Let's start with this figure.  The average Wedding in 2015 cost $31,213.  Let that sink in.

Reception. 48 - 50 % of your budget, $14,982 - $15,606 in 2015 dollars.

This is your biggest expense.  This includes:

  • Food, including appetizers, dinner, cake, and midnight snack
  • Venue Rental
  • Open Bar
Influencing Factors:  size of your guest list, serving style (sit down, stations, family style)
Where to save $$: consider dropping or down sizing the midnight snack, close the open bar an opt for wine service only during dinner

Photo/Video.  10-12% of your budget, $3,121- $3,745 in 2015 money.
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Photo Booth for Reception
Influencing Factors:  the number of hours both are on site, photo package
Where to save $$: don't skimp here, if you need to skip the photo booth

Flowers.  8-10 % of your budget, $2,497 - $3,121 in 2015 money.
  • Ceremony Flowers
  • Reception Flowers (Centerpieces)
  • Family Flowers 
  • Wedding Party Flowers
  • Brides Bouquets (one to carry, one to throw)
  • Pew Bows, pew decorations
Influencing Factors:  size of wedding party, amount of flowers
Ways to save $$: limit who in the family gets flowers, stick with immediate; re-use ceremony flowers as decorations at the reception, consider making your own pew bows

Attire:  8-10 % of your budget, $2,497 - $3,121 in 2015 money.
  • Brides Dress(es)
  • Groom's Clothing
Influencing Factors: theme of dress(es)
Where to save $$:  consider only have one dress (think removable train), rent all the tuxes from one place, typically the Groom's will be free

Entertainment.  8-10 % of your budget, $2,497 - $3,121 in 2015 money.

This mainly just covers your DJ or band.  Unless of course you are planning on having a clown at your reception.  

Influencing Factors:  length of the reception, how long you will have them play
Where to save $$: Provide your own music (think Ipod) during the cocktail hour and dinner

Transportation.  2-3% of your budget, $624-$936 in 2015 money.
  • limo, to the venue, from the venue to the hotel
Influencing Factors:  size of limo, party bus needed
Where to save $$: see if the hotel has a shuttle to pick the wedding party up 

Ceremony.  2-3% of your budget, $624 - $936 in 2015 money.

The most important part has one of the smallest budget lines.  This will include the donation that the church will require.  If you are getting married at the same venue you are holding the reception the there should not more that a minimal cost, if any.

Miscellaneous.  8-10 % of your budget, $2,497 - $3,121 in 2015 money.
  • Wedding Party Gifts
  • Stationary: Invitations, programs, Thank you notes, postage
  • Rings
  • Licenses
  • Hotel welcome bags
  • Favors
Influencing Factors: Quality of stationary, size of Wedding party
Where to save $$: only send save the date cards to out of town guests, put the welcome bags together yourself

Of course these are all just averages, you may choose to save alittle money here, spending alittle more over there.  Over the coming months we will dig even deeper into all these categories and help you decide where you want to spend and where you want to save.

Please feel free to reach out with any questions -

Happy Planning!


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wedding Traditions, the Do, Skip and Maybe

Does the idea of Wedding traditions conjure up dollar dances and drunk bridesmaids fighting over the bouquet?  Should you even plan to include these outdated traditions?  I will admit done right most of these traditions are worth keeping.

Throwing the Bouquet

Why?  It stems from an old tradition where the bride would tie together fabric from her dress with some flowers and throw to the single ladies, who wanted to 'catch' her luck.  I love this tradition, how many of have waited to be the bride doing the throwing instead of the one of the girls in the back pretending to not be interested in catching it?

Verdict:  Do it!  Have the florist put together a 'throwing bouquet" of silk flowers, use it to decorate the cake table and then throw it when you are ready to have the reception start winding down.

Garter Toss

Apparently this started in the 14th century when the Groom would throw the Bride's garter to all the single men.  I hate this tradition, it is my least favorite.  It think it is stupid, but alot of people like it, it keeps the crowd going.

Verdict:  Your call.  I was unable to talk my own Groom out of it.

Not Seeing the Bride Before the Wedding

As we have all heard this is bad luck.  But today's timelines really don't allow for this.  Many weddings aren't until the evening and with entertaining out of town guests, and pictures it may not be feasible.

Verdict: Skip it!  If you feel that strongly about it, honor the tradition, if your timeline doesn't allow for it.  Don't worry about it.  Have fun, enjoy your day together, that is truly what it is about.

Groom's Cake

Who can forget the Armadillo cake that the Groom's Aunt made in Steel Magnolias.  This originated in Great Britain in the 18th century and was a liquor soaked fruit cake (yum!)  The flavor of it was different from the Wedding cake which was referred to as the Bride's cake, and was a second option for guest.  Today is used to show some of the couples personality.

Verdict:  Do it!  My one true Wedding Day regret.  My advice, don't make a huge one and make sure the guests leave with either a piece of the Groom's of the Bride's cake!

Dollar Dance

I take it back about the garter toss, this is my least favorite tradition.  Started as a way to give the Bride and Groom alittle cash to start their new lives.  It's completely outdated.

Verdict:  Skip it!  To quote my sister "tacky with a capital T" - Guests are already starting to view Weddings as a money grab, I think that the envelope in the card box will be enough to get you started.

Happy Planning!


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Getting Started on your Budget

This is seriously the least fun/most stressful conversation(s) to have around your Wedding.

Who is going to pay for it?

Even typing that give me an anxiety flashback from gearing up to have that conversation with my parents around my own wedding.

The truth is that weddings these days are combination,  Brides family, Groom's family, the couple themselves.  Gone are the rules of Emily Post which neatly distributing the bill based on some old society traditions. Many couples want the freedom of planning that paying for the day gives you.  Many feel they are too old to have their parents pay for their weddings.

The budget might be the most stressful conversation, but it is truly the most important.  It determines the big 3, when, where and how a wedding will take place.  What can you afford?  Are you willing to push your date out to give you more time to save?

I urge you to sit down with your parents once the fairy dust of your engagement settles.  Do not be defensive and don't mad if the number they are willing to offer is not what you expected/wanted it to be.  Be thankful for what they offer and start planning.  The worse thing you can is argue with your parents for 12 months while you are planning your wedding.

The one thought that I will leave you with is.  It truly is one day.  It is one great day of your life.  You will not remember that you didn't have room in the budget for seat covers.  You will remember the smiles, the stories and how happy you were with plain out chairs.

Over the next coming months we will get deep into the specifics around the budget and what you will/should spend on each aspect of it.

Happy Planning..