Choosing Wisely ~ Making Choices To Suit Your Budget
Weddings these days can be huge affairs. Yes, marriage is a very important step and deserves to be given a very important place. Just because you cannot have a huge wedding, mind you, does not mean that you have a “small marriage”. The important thing in a marriage, obviously, is the love that is shared between the husband and wife. Money has nothing to do with that, clearly!
You may recall the feelings of George Banks about the topic of weddings in the hilarious movie Father of the Bride. This movie trailer captures the way many, fathers at least, feel when they learn their daughters are getting married. There can be a moment of “sticker shock” when they start to think about cost. We are going to start by giving you a template, of sorts, of percentages of where the money you have in your budget might be spent. Obviously, these are not hard and fast figures but just something to help to get you started.
Reception 40% of your budget
Photographer and video 15%
Bride and Grooms’ attire 5-10%
Planner or coordinator 5 – 10%
Invitations and stamps 5%
Misc. (officiant, fees,
favors, transportation) 5%
Whatever your budget, you can have a lovely celebration. Be realistic about what you are able to spend and do not spend more. Dream big and make it happen within your budget. One thing that can be helpful is to determine the “theme” of your wedding. What we mean by this is deciding what is representative of you and your fiance and using that to guide your choices. For example, do you love ice cream? Maybe you want to have only a small cake for the two of you and have an ice cream sundae bar or a dessert bar with a variety of choices.
Wedding cakes can be very expensive so if that isn’t something that is really important to you, have a small cake and an alternative dessert. Maybe you met each other on a study abroad program in Spain so you would want to incorporate black lace, Sangria and tapas as a part of your celebration. These are just examples but coming up with a ‘theme’ that is meaningful to you, helps to individualize the celebration of your special day and can be a very helpful filter through which to make decisions about what you will and won’t do.
If your budget is unlimited, you are free to go to any and every couture house to choose your gown but if, on the other hand, like most people, you have a set amount to spend on your dress, do not despair. You can always find the perfect dress to fit right into your budget – we promise you. Do not settle on a dress that you only half like – you need to love your dress. You need to feel the prettiest you have ever felt in your dress. You will find it, for sure. If you have something very specific in mind, you might want to find a good seamstress to make your dress for you. We have known many people who have done this and been thrilled with the outcome. By the way, Costco has wedding dresses around this time of year and they have some beautiful ones at very affordable prices.
Venue is an important decision when planning a wedding and, again, it depends a lot on your budget. But, here again, do not settle – you will find a venue that you love and that is within your budget.
The Mountain Mermaid
Topanga Canyon, California
Just a quick word on this. Often people feel that it is going to be much less expensive to have their wedding and/or wedding reception at a private home. While this may be the case, it is often just as expensive, if not more so, as you have to rent everything that you need and then pay caterers to serve the food. So, don’t be duped into thinking that just because you are hosting the reception at home, it will cost you less.
When it comes to music, obviously a DJ is going to be less expensive that a band. There are some really great DJ’s out there and some that are not so great. Hopefully, whether you are hiring a band or a DJ, you will have a recommendation from someone you trust. Be sure to interview them before the time and, if possible, go to hear them perform. This is more than just about the music as they, more or less, emcee your evening and therefore they are an important aspect of it.
Choose your photographer carefully. A good photographer at any event is a great person to have. You want those special moments to be captured. And if having photos with your family or special guests who have come a long way for your big day are important to you to get, make a list of the photos you absolutely know you want ahead of time. On your wedding day so much is happening and you are so dazed sometimes by it all, you may think you will remember to ask the photographer to get those photos with people really important to you but we know from experience it doesn’t always work out that way so make your list ahead of time and give it to your coordinator or to the photographer before the wedding day. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did.
Whether you have a videographer or not is up to you but it is fun to have that video to watch again and again and be reminded of the amazing day. And it will be a fun video to shoe your children when they are old enough to understand about weddings. But this is a big expense so if it isn’t something that ia really important to you don’t feel you must do it because someone else tells you that you should. If you decide not to have a professional videographer, be sure a designate a family member or friend to capture some important moments on a small video camera or their phone if it takes video. Moments like the grooms face when he sees his bride, saying your vows, your first dance with each other and the brides dance with her father if their is one, the toasts, and cutting the cake are just some of the moments you might like to ask someone to be responsible to capture for you.
If you feel that you need a wedding planner to help you organize the event from beginning to end, you will have to pay quite well for this. Certainly, they are worth every penny if you feel that it is too much to do on your own. They do steer you in the right direction, help you with finding great vendors, reception venues, etc. On the other hand, you might want to hire a coordinator just for the actual day. This is very helpful to keep things running smoothly throughout the day and, obviously, not as expensive as having a planner help you with the whole thing.
Your Two Chums firmly believe that a beautiful wedding is not necessarily an expensive wedding. The price tag does not determine the outcome. As we mentioned at the beginning, the most important thing about this event is the love that is shared by the bride and groom and that will set the stage for your guests.
Love, joy and abundant living!