Friday, April 8, 2011

Lottery Winners May Disregard...

To keep with my last posting...let's talk about budgets. More specifically how to stay on one! A wedding is a huge financial undertaking. We all know this. Unfortunately, I don't think you truly know until you start planning one. You have a vision. Four course meal, full hosted bar, lush centerpieces, that amazing photographer you saw on The Knot. Then the reality comes crashing in. That four course meal is $150 per person. The full hosted bar is going to cost you a ridiculous amount. Add in the peony-laden flower arrangements plus the award winning photographer and you are left considering selling a kidney to pay for your dream wedding. It doesn't have to be that way, y'all! Here are just a few tips to help cut back...

1. You can probably guess what my first item is... hire a coordinator! I know what you're thinking, "Sarah, you do realize coordinators cost money, right?". Yes, sillies, I do. I also realize that coordinators have cultivated relationships with caterers, florists, photographers and entertainment professionals that are worth their weight in gold. These vendors want to work with a coordinator because they're going to make their job easier and send them more business. So in turn, you often can get a percentage off or a few extras thrown in based solely off of the relationship these vendors have with your coordinator. Not to mention the fact that the coordinator is going to make your life a whole lot easier...but that's something I've discussed before. No need to bore you!

2. Cut your guest list! Yes, I know that you want a big fun wedding. But let's have a quick reality check. Do you have 300 people who are your close personal friends? That if you called them in the middle of the night, they'd get up and help you with your flat tire? If you do, kudos! Lord knows I couldn't keep up with that many people! If you don't, then consider cutting those people who are acquaintances or friends-of-friends. Your wedding is a special and personal day. Don't add guests just to add guests. Some of the most enjoyable weddings I have been to have been those that were 100 people or less.

3. Re-evaluate your bar. Yes, a lot of the people you're inviting like to enjoy a cocktail (or five). Does that mean that you should bend to their alcoholic needs? Not necessarily. While I definitely do not agree with no-host bars, I also think only offering beer & wine is perfectly acceptable. Remember why you're there in the first place. You're there to celebrate your new life together with your love-bug. Not to see who can drink the most Irish car bombs.

4. Location, location, location. There are some truly beautiful spots out there to get married. The trick is to find one that offers you most of what you need for a reasonable price. Consider how much decor/flowers you'll need to spruce the place up. If your ceremony spot is a gorgeous outdoor location, you probably won't need to order flowers to decorate the alter. Do they offer tables, chairs, china, silverware, etc. with the rental fee? Or will you have to pay extra for all the necessities. Ideally, try to find a place that is both aesthetically pleasing but that also provides you with everything you need without nickel & diming you.

5. Filet Mignon would be nice but... Unfortunately for my taste buds I have experienced what people have termed "rubber chicken" at an event. I strongly agree that this should be avoided at all costs. On the flip side, one of the best meals I've ever had at an event was a chicken dish. My point? It's all about who you hire. If you hire quality, you're going to get quality...even if it's chicken. I understand there are those of you who are "foodies". I'm right there with you. But when planning your menu & budget, don't immediately choose the most expensive cut of meat for the entree because you think it's going to be the most impressive. You can accomplish a wonderfully tasty dinner for a much lower cost when you hire the right caterer.

Now take a quick look at the list above. You'll notice that I didn't mention cutting corners on photography or entertainment. In my opinion, guys, these are the two places that you don't want to compromise. Photos are forever and getting people out on the dance floor is pretty much the point of hiring entertainment. I've seen what cutting these two areas equal and it's not pretty. That's a whole other blog post in and of itself!

Above all...remember why you're getting married. Go into your planning knowing that there will be things you'll need to sacrifice. Most brides have expensive taste! In the end you won't even remember why it was so important to have all of those extras that would have cost you so much. All that will matter will be your honey standing at the end of the aisle waiting for you and all of the people who love the two who are there to share such an important day.

Happy Friday, lovies!