Monday, June 14, 2010

Budget, budget, budget

Q: Since when has the word BUDGET become a "B" (BAD) word?
A: It's always been in everyone's vocabulary. Its just that nowadays so many more brides are becoming budget savvy and are looking for ways to save more money. The economy hasn't helped.

So many times we're asked about how brides can plan a wedding on a 'smaller budget'. My answer to that is that you can plan a wedding on 'any' budget so long as you are realistic about the expectations. For instance, you will not get the champagne and caviar flowing with the beautiful horse and carriage departure on a lower budget. However, you can have your cake and eat it too! Here's a couple of tips on making it happen.
  1. Hire an experienced wedding planner to get the biggest bang for your money. A good planner will save you more money than you realize and he/she will pay for herself in the savings you'll incur.
  2. Discuss EVERYTHING with your planner about what you are looking to achieve. Be HONEST. If you simply hate roses or lilies, let your planner know. If you are not a pink frilly person, let your planner know. And if you simply cannot stand the site of shrimp, let your planner know. There is no sense in planning anything with a planner unless you're all on the same page from the get-go.
  3. Be precise about your budget requirements. Do not tell your planner you only have X-amount to spend on the wedding if you truly do have more. Do not tell them you have more if you just 'think' you can borrow more or get family members to contribute. Be sure from the beginning.
  4. Decor does not have to mean 'Platinum theme'. Its amazing what you can do with glassware and candles today. Explore different possibilities with your planner. Planners usually have limitless resources that they can pull from to supply you with enough choices.
  5. When thinking about florals, remember that the more people you have in the wedding party, the higher the costs. A lot of brides today are opting for smaller bridal parties and some are even doing away with the traditional bridal party all together, preferring to just have their guests witness their wedding vows. The most important floral arrangement in the entire wedding is the Bride's Bouquet. It will be photographed the most that day, so splurge a little more on that.
  6. Instead of spending money in the hobby stores, solicit decorations from your family and friends. Perhaps you have a cousin or aunt that can sew. If you do, you've struck gold. Ask them if they would be willing to custom make some lovely runners for the cake table and guest seating. Perhaps Grandma has a collection of old cut glass she would be willing to lend for your cut flowers or glass jam jars that she may be looking to get rid of. Hanging these from trees with tea lights in them makes a beautiful backdrop for evening weddings.
  7. Delegate, delegate, delegate. Your planner will do so much or perhaps everything. But if you are not fortunate enough to find a planner in your area that will, then delegate things out to family and friends ahead of time. Its surprising how many people would love to help with some crafty things before the wedding.
  8. Do not be a Bridezilla. Contrary to what you see on TV, it is not a good thing to be known as a Bridezilla. In fact, its a downright shame and disrespectful to treat others like they need to be at your beckon call. Be precise and 'ASK' your attendants and family members if they would like to help you with some of the preparations. Do not assume they will and do not insist that they do so. Instead be a model bride and you'll have people lined up willing to help.
  9. Keep your menu options light and simple and when it comes to serving alcohol, consider having just wine or just signature drinks and soft drinks. Pretty drinks dispensers are everywhere now. Ask your caterer to fill with a non-alcoholic beverage to match the colors of your wedding. Practical and lovely for photos too.
  10. Think about hosting a wedding on a week day or in the morning. You'll be surprised at the reduction in venue and catering fees if you do.
When all else fails, remember that you will be marrying the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with. Its a celebration whether or not you have a grand wedding reception or not. Don't set yourself up for disappointment and stay focused on what's important to you both. All the little details will come together and you'll live happily ever after.

Wedding planning and florals done by A Charleston Event & Bridal Library

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