Monday, January 11, 2010

Wedding Budgets

There are so many shows on TV these days, showing weddings that cost upwards of $100,000. That is great and glorious, but in real life, not a lot of folks have that much to spend on weddings. No one should go into debt for a wedding- for your house, yes, for a wedding, no. Adjusting to married life is major as it is, you don't want to add paying off a big wedding debt to that.

When budgeting for your wedding, figure what you can realistically spend FIRST, THEN work on the guest list and then on the site. There are some beautiful sites that will only hold a few people, but that are very expensive. That is fine if you want only a few people and don't have a limited budget, but if you've got a more limited budget, then you need to find a less expensive venue.

There is also nothing wrong with having your wedding and reception at your place of worship. That will cut down on the costs of your reception greatly, since many churches don't allow alcohol on the premises. Don't do what "everyone" does- do what is right for you. Be an individual! If you have your wedding at 2, and then a reception in the church hall immediately following, you avoid major food needs. Folks will have had time to eat lunch before going to your wedding, and a church reception generally is only 2 hours, so that means you're done before supper time, so you just really need to provide cake, punch, coffee & tea, and maybe some light finger food. This is the best time for a wedding if you're trying to keep your food costs down. Just be sure your reception is finished by 5 PM, well before supper time for folks.

Another alternative is to have an afternoon wedding and then a much later reception. For example, you might have a 2 or 3 PM wedding, and then have your reception begin at 8. That is clearly after supper time, and you won't be expected to provide heavy food. This would be an option for a couple on a limited budget but for whom a party is important. You can have a DJ playing music for dancing, have wedding cake, champagne and a nonalcoholic punches, have a wine toast. No heavy food would be expected if you had what is clearly a "supper break" between the wedding and the reception.

As far as flowers, give your floral designer the colors, and a list of flowers you like and those you really don't like, and then let them use their magic for you. By allowing your floral designer the flexibility to get the best seasonal flowers, you will usually get more for your money. For centerpieces, do some with candles, a few large pieces, and then smaller ones, too. I always suggest 3 to 4 different styles, depending on the number of tables. This is not only more interesting, but maximizes your budget.

Talk to your designer about being "gentle on the earth"- using locally grown flowers whenever possible, not using foam or anything else that doesn't biodegrade.

If you're on a tight budget, rather than hiring a full service wedding consultant, hire one for the "day of" only- that will help you have a less-stressed wedding day but won't blow your budget on a wedding consultant that you don't really need. (Don't get me wrong, a good wedding consultant is great, but if you're on a tight budget, it is not necessarily the best use of your money IF you've got the time to do the research needed to find your vendors for your wedding.)

Make your 2010 wedding wonderful in every way- including budget!

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