Tag Archives: wedding vendors

Plan a budget that works…

Recently, we’ve noticed a number of brides planning their own weddings without a budget in place. With a budget in place, you have the opportunity to know exactly what your money is going towards and how much you can afford for each wedding area or aspect. While shopping, looking at venues, searching for dresses & rings are exciting, not having a good budget in place can cause problems later on in the process.

For example, recently we were contracted to do Brian and Angela’s wedding. Angela had already gone ahead and secured a venue before contacting us. She didn’t have all of the information she needed and unfortunately with fees and hidden costs spent nearly 70% of what they ultimately had available as a budget. This didn’t allow her to do the types of things she would like to have done for the rest of her wedding. She and Brian ended up scrimping in other areas… The dress, the rings, a good DJ, a talented photographer, and the beautiful floral arrangements she wanted. Instead they were left with the minimum in all those areas; which not only was disappointing for her, but for Brian as well since they weren’t able to do some of the items on his list for the reception either.

While having a solid wedding budget in place doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to get everything you want, it does guarantee that you will get the greatest majority of things you like. Having a plan in place gives you the opportunity to identify the areas that are most important to you and your fiancé. It gives you the ability to know what type of money you have to work with and be able to negotiate for the highest quality vendors with the price that you can afford.

By placing a budget in place before you start shopping, you have the opportunity to decide what’s most important to you and what areas you can do without or less of. When you know where you are in your budget, it’s easier to track your purchases and make decisions along the way. You can choose to spend more money in one area and cut expenses in other area that may not be as important.

Planning a budget can appear as “work,” but the time spent organizing your resources is well worth what you are up to. You are planning a once in a lifetime event. Everything will not always go by the plan, so discussions between you and your fiancé (before making commitments) are vital. Make and take the time to plan out a budget and you may find an opportunity to actually end up with more than you thought you could!

Below is a brief list and breakdown of how a good wedding budget should be laid out, giving you the percentages of where your money should go. You can certainly adjust these numbers to your specific needs, however you’ll find that these are pretty much spot on for most budget amounts. There will be areas on this work list that you don’t feel you need or are important to you and of course you can get rid of them.

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(The worksheet below is from our published book “Now and Forever”)

Your Personal Wedding Budget Worksheet

When it comes to spending your (or your parents’) hard earned money, the power you have vested in you is not to be taken lightly. Use these suggested percentages as a guideline to figure out how much to allot to each component. We have placed them in order of the percentage of your budget that will be used to fulfill them.
This may not be in order of what you are focused on personally, but this will be pretty close to where you will spend your money. So, keeping to a budget, (any budget) is vital to keep on track and not run out of money before all of the pieces are in place! “If you can work your budget your budget will work for you” .
(Adjust the numbers as you wish; just make sure the total adds up to 100%)

Reception 45%- Venue, rentals, food service, beverages
Clothing 5-10 %- Gown and accessories, tuxes and accessories
Flowers &Decorations 5-10%
Music 5%
Photographs & Video 5-10%
Favors and Gifts 2%
Ceremony 1-2%
Stationery 2%
Wedding Rings 2 %
Transportation 1%
Wedding Planner 10-15%

Wedding Planning – Too many choices, too little time!

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If I asked you…”do you like having choices” what would you say? My guess is “yes!” While options are great in creating the freedom to select what you exactly want…they’re also problematic if you’re indecisive or easily overwhelmed with options. Think about it, have you ever been asked “what do you want to do for dinner?” If so, how did you respond? Did you ever say, “oh I don’t care…I’m good with anything…you decide” ?  If so, with something as simple as dinner, why were you indecisive? Now, such an example is not a big decision, but what about if it had to do with your wedding? Everything from picking out the date, attire, accessories, venue, entertainment, music, and even guests & the wedding party involves a great variety of choices. How do you pick what you truly want? And, how do you assure that you stay within an affordable budget?

Planning a wedding is not easy. With all the possible combinations available, one can easily feel overwhelmed and outright frustrated when dealing with wedding vendors.  While you may know it’s the right decision when you see it, how do you know when you see it? By all means, most vendors are not mind readers, but I bet for the amount of money you’re paying…you wish they were. So what do you do?

  • Create a wish list! Start looking through wedding magazines, books, sites, pictures, etc…and gather all the ideas you like and don’t like. Place the images of your ideal wedding on a board or in a binder.
  • Rank it! Establish which aspects of your wish list are most important. Consider ordering (from most important to least) what you need to include in your dream wedding and what you would like to include. At the same time, make sure to rank what you absolutely don’t want at your wedding.
  • Set a budget! Why jump into a new chapter of your life with excessive debt? Look at your finances and how much you’re able to apply towards your wedding. Then allocate your budget accordingly to what you’ve ranked as the most important aspects.
  • Meet with wedding vendors!  Ask around, look for reviews, and don’t be afraid to interview them. Find vendors that you’ll feel comfortable to communicate with.
  • Present your wish list! When communicating with vendors, present your wish list. Let them know exactly what you want so that they’ll focus on your list as opposed to offering options that you have no interest in.

Think of it as a shopping list. What would happen if you go to the grocery store without a list? Most likely you’ll end up spending more money purchasing items you don’t need as opposed to those you do. When shopping around for your wedding it’s important to be prepared and know exactly what you want. Not only will this save you money, but you’ll be able to communicate exactly what you want with vendors.

When a vendor has a visual of what you need (i.e. via your wish list), the vendor will be able to offer you options that meet exactly your needs, as opposed to present, upsell, and cross-sell items that aren’t what you’re looking for. Not only will this prevent confusion between you and the vendor…but why waste your time, budget, and energy looking through things you don’t really want? As mentioned earlier, planning a wedding is not easy. But trying to communicate what you want, without a wish list, doesn’t make it any easier.

Wedding Insurance – Are you covered?

Labeled File FoldersYou’ve said yes to the “big question,” and have invested countless hours and money to prepare for your “big day.” What will you do if the unexpected arises?

Disasters can hit. You may lose your venue and consequently your deposit. You may find your gown, tuxedo or gifts damaged or stolen. You may need to postpone due to bad weather, or vendors canceling last minute. What are your options?

With weddings come unforeseen circumstances. With unforeseen circumstances come additional costs, headaches, and lost investments. Nevertheless, wedding insurance can protect you. Costing anywhere from $125 to $550, coverage can protect a couple’s investment in venue, attire, rings, lost or damaged gifts, photos, videos, deposits, etc.

When catastrophes happen, you may lose deposits, postpone your wedding, and pay for additional, unexpected costs. Venues and rehearsal sites can close down due to inclement weather and natural disasters. Vendors (i.e. caterers, minister, florists, photographers, videographers, DJs) may cancel at the last minute or not show, forcing you to find replacements. The bride or groom can be called into military duty or last minute corporate relocation. Wedding insurance can cover your costs with supplemental policies to protect costs associated with the honeymoon.

Insurance usually doesn’t cover costs associated with canceling the wedding due to cold feet or change of heart. Nor does it cover lost or damaged engagement rings or gemstones and pearls.

Investing in insurance is important to protect your investment and keep your peace of mind, but don’t pay for overlapping coverage. Many times, vendors and venues already have their own coverage. Ask questions and find out about existing policies.

In addition, each policy is different. Read the small print. What does “bad weather” coverage mean? Does it cover rain, wind, and/or blizzard? What sicknesses and injuries are covered? Does it refer to cold, flu, surgery, broken bones, and/or disease? Talk to your agent; get a thorough understanding of what’s covered and what’s not.