“Budget!” There, I said it! If there’s anything we’ve learned from our prospective brides or clients, it is that there is a propensity to associate this word with “Can’t” and/or “Limitations.” We also find that to say “Budget Wedding” has a negative connotation. This is truly not the case. A “Budget Wedding” can be defined by your circumstances, personal finances, and contributions from family members. These components combined with your goals/desires for the outcome of that day (or what we like to say, “Vision”) is a more complete picture when using that phrase. As professional coordinators we love that word. It sets the tone for what we need to do, where we need to go, and how we need to get you there.
So with that in mind, what IS a reasonable budget for the average wedding these days? According to a wonderful website called www.costofwedding.com the average cost for a wedding in Temecula is anywhere between $19,000 to $32,000 dollars. (I can almost hear simultaneous groans from parents of the brides and grooms everywhere.) This handy website also lists averages for vendor costs. All you have to do is type in the zip code you plan on getting married in and it will give you the average, which is based nationally, on your locale! This is a great starting point for you to consider and a valuable negotiating tool when searching for your wedding vendors. Does this mean you can’t possibly plan a wedding for less then $15,000? Of course it doesn’t. However, if you want a 200 person guest list, 12 bridesmaids, 12 groomsmen, your ceremony at a commercial venue, plated dinner, 4 ft. floral centerpieces on specialty linens, not to mention your one-of-a-kind bouquet, special lighting, a D.J./Master of Ceremonies, a 5-tier wedding cake, a professional photographer, a limousine, a designer wedding dress, oh yes, and those really cool gold charger plates, for $15,000? Then chances are you have been watching way too many reality shows about weddings on TV and you’re very quickly falling into the unreasonable expectations zone of almost no return.
Here are just a few tips to minimize some of your costs:
Alcohol is a huge cost. If you choose a venue that allows you to provide your own, that can be quite a substantial savings. Beer and wine are customary, but pick your wines carefully. We suggest you choose “guest friendly” wine to appeal to all levels of wine enthusiasts. If you want a special kind, buy a bottle to be poured just at your table. Depending on your bartender for the night, you can figure 3-4 glasses per bottle. Limit your beer to 1 choice of a domestic and 1 choice of an import. If you insist on having mixed drinks, pick two specialty drinks and give them wedding-relevant names and coordinate them to your wedding colors, i.e. Jeannie Martini and a Michael Mojito. You get the picture. It’s another way to add a personal touch without spending the money for a stocked bar. Oh, and always have taxicab numbers or even a courtesy shuttle for your guests that like to over indulge.
Double your escort or table setting information as party favors! One suggestion would be to download a compilation of your favorite music as a couple and the music being used in the ceremony & reception to a CD. Not only give those as favors, but label them with the wedding guests’ seating information!
Talk to your florist about incorporating your ceremony flowers into your reception décor. For example, your beautiful arch or gazebo spray could be used to adorn the head table. Your isle way pieces for your ceremony can then be centerpieces. Talk to your coordinator or florist for transfer costs.
Look, in this economy, not too many people have access to an endless pocketbook. At the end of the day, the bit of advice we can give you is to simply prioritize aspects of your wedding that are important to you and your groom. While compromising in some areas, you can afford to splurge in others. Ten years from now you will want some things for prosperity sake. For instance, pictures and videos – these are your moments captured in time! Coordinators also provide you an invaluable service. Statistically, videos and coordinators are on average the two things that brides often do not budget for, and ironically are the more affordable services. At the end of the day, it is the two of you standing there at the altar – make room for what truly matters!