Filtering by Tag: wedding budget

Creating a Wedding Budget: How to Stay on Track, Get Money, and Not go Crazy

Randi Fracassi

Hello, hello! Whew! We’re just coming back from our trip to Michigan for some much needed rest and relaxation,  and per our Instagram poll, we’re sharing with you our tips and how-to’s on budgeting for your wedding day. This is a near and dear topic to us as planners, as creating a budget for your event is the most important factor in the planning process: without an established budget, the entire planning process will lack a level of control and consistency (that is, you will always be stressed about the costs piling up). We’ll be talking more so on how to create a budget versus what you can do to save money or get costs down, but we’ll be sharing our tips on that as well.

Photography by Wild Wonder Photography, Floral by Hummingbird Floral Studio

Photography by Wild Wonder Photography, Floral by Hummingbird Floral Studio

First and foremost, reach out to vendors. Might sound crazy, right? The fact of the matter is, weddings and parties are expensive. Having the Instagram worthy and blog published events you see generally are quite the investment, and above all else, educating yourself on the costs and investments you’re going to be making will go a long way in determining what is reasonable, overpriced, or too good to be true. Don’t be afraid to ask close friends and family about what they spent on various vendors, or ask for referrals, or ask that vendor you see in a Facebook ad what their average client spends on their services.

Because friends, when you’ve already given yourself hard numbers to follow before reaching out to vendors, you’ll more than likely fall over in shock in your seat. When you get a response back saying that the greenery installation along a mantle is going to be $1500, and that’s what you thought your whole floral budget would be, it’s a hard pill to swallow. Or when the venue you’ve been dying over Instagram starts at $75 per person with a minimum of 150 guests (and that’s not including bar), it causes a cold sweat to break out. Educate yourself on your region’s averages, or your dream vendor’s average, and go from there.

After your initial research, determine what is important to you for your wedding. Sit down with your better half, and put it into writing what is important, whether it's the venue versus the date, a certain photographer or more so a style of photography, food, entertainment, invitations. Prioritize where you want the money invested from your wedding, and then get ballpark quotes from those vendorsIt’s not a quite a priority at this time to say you need X, Y, and Z, but by getting estimates that may be a little higher than what they will be in actuality will lessen sticker-shock and prepare you for worst case scenarios.

Determine who is funding what. This is a must have conversation with parents or anyone who has said they would like to contribute to the wedding. It is best to be blunt, and keep a written record of exact amounts or what vendors they are contributing to. Doing this will be awkward, without a doubt, but trust me when I say that making sure you keep everyone accountable for everything they commit to in the long run will be better for relationships with family members. Share what you have already collected from your research earlier, and be honest as to what costs are going to be for those vendors. Don’t be afraid to share that you would rather have this baker over another, or this time of year at a venue because it’s a different cost.

After this series of chats and talks, you’re going to feel the need to hard-core stick to your budget. I’m going to drop a bomb here, so brace yourself: don’t do it.

Wait, what?

By forcing yourself to stick to a number, you’re going to be overwhelmed and find yourself cutting costs from unnecessary avenues (booking your photographer for 7 hours versus 8, renting table overlays versus proper cloths, etc). Setting yourself up to have leeway, spending between (for example) $30-35,000 versus just $30,000 without exception will give breathing room (and, referring back to those ballpark quotes you got form the beginning, prepare yourself for the investment of weddings and help with the unexpected costs).

Now that there is an understanding of what the important aspects of your wedding are going to cost, divide and conquer the rest of the budget with other costs. This is where an Excel sheet is key! You can also keep track in your wedding binder, or have your wedding planner keep track of your budget for you. I would also be sure to include when payments have been applied and when payments are due (and making sure your phone, planner, or agenda have it noted when these payments are due in order to avoid contract cancellations). More and more vendors are attaching late fees for payments not made on time – avoid the stress of doubling your bill with your team by sending a reminder several weeks before a payment is due.

So friends, creating a budget for your wedding educate yourself about the industry. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and while you hold yourself accountable to making sure things get done, stay true to yourself and what YOU want.  Planning a wedding can be stressful and overwhelming with the details and questions and dealing with family and friends as it is, and anything regarding money is bound to compound those stresses. By creating a budget and giving yourself the grace to have a range to stay within, you’ll be saving yourself the headache and worry of everything relating to money.

Happy planning,

 

Randi

Cutting the Wedding Cost: What You Should and Shouldn't Leave Out

Randi Fracassi

When you’re on a tight budget or when you’re paying for your wedding yourself, the need to cut costs as much as you can is very real. However, there are just some things related to your wedding that you shouldn’t cut, and in fact invest more into if you are able to. What you actually need for a nice wedding and reception can be essentially narrowed down for a few key items, and of course should be taken into consideration based on personal preferences.

Shouldn’t Cut: Photography

Sure, you have a friend of a friend who will shoot your wedding for free or at a steeply cheaper cost than other photographers you’ve looked at. But look at the experience of this person, their editing style (if they edit their images), turnaround time, and most importantly do they have a guarantee and contract. You won’t always have your wedding flowers (silk or real), you won’t remember the cake flavor, but you will always have the images captured from your wedding. Investing money into making sure those images are exactly as you want will never be a bad thing.

Should Cut: Cake and/or Grooms Cake

Don’t get me wrong, I love a beautiful cake. However, if you’re pressed for money and can’t afford an elaborate four tier confection, don’t beat yourself up about it. Talk to your baker about doing foam layers, or using buttercream instead of fondant or gumpaste. Go with a more simple design and have flowers added. Or, forget a formal cake all together, and do a cupcake tree in your preferred flavor.

Shouldn’t Cut: Food and Associated Rentals

Food is the biggest cost of a wedding, there is no getting around it. Whether you choose to have a restaurant or a private company cater, there are associated costs with not just the food, but the staff in order to serve and wait staff. Most caterers also include plates and silverware in their pricing (if not, ask for a quote directly), which should be considered if you’re weighing the choices between doing it yourself or not. Also, the entire matter of doing it yourself (or having a family member do it): the stress of you or your family having to cook and take care of those details when you’re supposed to be focusing on yourself and relaxing is completely unnecessary.

Should cut: Favors

When was the last time you actually enjoyed a wedding favor or used it? Personally, I do not care for favors, and do not see the added value they give to a wedding. I have yet to hear of a guest genuinely excited about receiving a favor; in fact, guests care more about spending time with the bride and groom, and being personally thanked for their attendance. If you focus your time and ensure that you have an interaction with everyone at your wedding, I promise that no one will notice that they didn’t receive a gift for coming.

Shouldn’t cut: Wedding Attire

As a firm believer in high quality clothing, of course I will suggest that you shouldn’t cut the cost of your wedding dress. With resale websites like OnceWed beginning to become more and more popular, one shouldn’t have to settle for a reproduction dress from Ebay or another auction site. A suggestion would be Etsy to look for something truly unique, or perhaps get into contact with your local university’s fashion department.

Should cut: Signage

Though wooden welcome signs, hashtag indicators, and paper programs are nice details, they are not necessary in order to have a stylish and well thought out wedding. With the rise of DIY couples, Etsy craftsmen and women have started producing customized pintables that you can have places like VistaPrint, Fedex, and event Walgreens print for a significantly lower cost than Wedding Paper Divas or Minted. Though I will always recommend a small business (like Sue Paperie of Ruston, LA or Paper and Things in Baton Rouge), there is no denying that doing the printable route is more cost effective. And, if you still want that welcome sign, look at printing and frame options, or DIY (a tutorial to come soon!). 

 

Poppies, I hope this was helpful in your planning journey! If you ever have any questions, feel free to email

How to Establish a Budget for Your Wedding

Randi Fracassi

Hello Poppies! I had mentioned a few weeks ago in Pinterest: Good or Bad for Your Wedding Planning about the increase in wedding budget info-graphics and more advice from popular wedding websites like The Knot and WeddingWire, and as engagement season is coming into full swing, I thought that perhaps I would share with you how I help establish budgets for my clients. Creating a budget for your event is the most important factor in the planning process: without an established budget, the entire planning process will lack a level of control and consistency (that is, you will always be stressed about the costs piling up).

Photo:  Rachel Erin Photography

First and foremost, determine what is important to you for your wedding. Sit down with your partner, and put it into writing what is important, whether it's the venue versus the date, a certain photographer or style of photography, food, entertainment, invitations. Prioritize where you want the money invested from your wedding, and then get accurate quotes from those vendors. 

Determine who is funding what. This is a must have conversation with both parents or anyone who has said they would like to contribute to the wedding. It is best to be frank, and write down exact amounts that are being contributed; trust me when I say that making sure you keep everyone accountable for everything they commit to in the long run will be better for relationships with family members. Share what you have already collected from your research earlier, and be honest as to what costs are going to be for those vendors. 

So, what happens when the vendors you want are outside of the budget after talking about money? I'll be sure to the upcoming posts relating to budget at the bottom of the post!

Now that there is an understanding of what the important aspects of your wedding are going to cost, divide and conquer the rest of the budget with other costs. This is where an Excel sheet is key! You can also keep track in your wedding binder, or have your wedding planner keep track of your budget for you. Set up your sheet with Vendor Name, Point of Contact, Contact Number, Email, Quote, Quote Date, Invoiced, and Invoice Date. I would also include when payments have been applied and when payments are due (and making sure your phone, planner, or agenda have it noted when these payments are due in order to avoid contract cancellations). 

Another thing to do is make sure to either round up the total cost or entail the exact cost in this spreadsheet. You can scan your receipts and invoices and add them to the sheet, or keep them in an envelope in your wedding binder, highlighting what the total cost of that vendor will be. In my personal budgeting, I always round up my expenses versus my income, and then subtract from my exact income. If you would like to see a spreadsheet that demonstrates what is left of your income for your event versus the expenses, let me know! 

Lastly, stick to your budget. I like to think of it this way: when you go for a night out with your friends and you're getting dressed, you're making a commitment to the shoes you're wearing, right? In the middle of the night, you're not going to take off your shoes because doing so will probably result in dirty and cut up feet and you might loose your shoes. It's ok to splurge here and there on items and services throughout the planning process, but know that those costs do add up, and can send you over your budget.

So, in summary:

  • Prioritize what vendors or services you absolutely want for your wedding and get quotes

  • Determine income for wedding expenses and make sure that income is committed 

  • Establish a spreadsheet or tracking method for wedding expenses

  • Stick to your budget!

I promise that doing this form of budgeting will make a difference in the way you plan your wedding! Keeping what is important to you and making sure you get what you want out of your day will make sure that you get the wedding of your dreams (and keep down the stress of planning it ;) ).