No Money, No Problems

July 29, 2010  |  In Her Shoes

Courtney Dellafiora

Nothing makes me happier than helping create a unique and personalized wedding under budget. Direct quote from recent email I sent to potential client “Is it weird that I got excited when I saw the word budget in your email??”

…Umm…but then there’s my wedding. Shouldn’t it be the BIGGEST AND MOST EXPENSIVE thing ever? There’s no way I can follow these rules I’ve been telling my brides!!

False. My tips for other brides can’t just go out the window. I am working with a smaller than 70% of my brides: $15,000. That’s right. Five g’s under the national average. How am I making it work?

The obvious:

I have incredible relationships with many people in the industry. I have some very generous vendors who offered discounts but believe me, nothing comes free.

Things I nixed:

1. A bigger guest list – We are planning for 150 guest. This may sound large in some parts of the country but down South that’s fairly small. I knew this was the simplest way to cut cost and I also knew I wanted to be surrounded by close friends and family. Tyler says if he had his way, we’d have an open invitation wedding potluck-style. But he understands that I’m a wedding planner and kind of want to PLAN a wedding. Yep, same guy who wanted a surprise wedding! He’s the creative type.

2. Pre-wedding limo – This is one place a lot of people feel obligated to spend hundreds, even thousands on. I’m getting to the venue well before any guest and don’t feel the need to arrive in style. Plus, this will avoid that week-of shuffle of “You won’t have a car there so how are you planning on getting home?” or “I left my purse in the limo!” If I could include it in the budget, I’d LOVE to treat me and the bridesmaids to a nice limo, but a girl’s got to make sacrifices and it was either that or the cake!

3. Buffet food table centerpiece – Food centerpieces are normally $200 +. Our food table isn’t at the center of the room so it was easy to decide to keep the focus on the guest tables and keep the food table simple. Plus I’m pretty sure our guest will be more excited about our food choices instead.

Things I splurged on (or basically didn’t go cheap on):

1. Paper – A no brainer I guess. I’m not just talking invitations. I can’t tell you how many times people have said “but their just going to throw it away.” Yep, even to someone who makes a living selling paper. The truth? LOTS of things will be thrown away: flowers, food, cake, favors. Hope I’m not stepping on any toes! I get a bit passionate about it. “But flowers create the mood.” You’re totally right! But if I can create that same mood with a few coordinating signs, tags, programs, etc. for less, I’m going to do that.

2. Photography – I can’t stress it enough, the way you remember your wedding day for the most part, will be through your photographer’s eyes. Your image will be a blur. If you get a great photographer, their’s will be a crisp clean moment captured.

3. The Experience – We have a few things that are a bit interactive, (more details on those after the wedding of course) that honestly won’t cost a lot but will add lots of value to the wedding because they are so unexpected. Because they aren’t normally factored into budgets, I’m considering it a splurge and having to pull from other places to cover this.

Tip:

THINK LIKE A GUESTS

How many weddings have you gone to and stuck around just long enough to congratulate the bride and groom? How many weddings did you painfully wait till the end to leave? Which weddings did you dance the night away and wonder where the time went? Guests want/need to feel connected to the bride and groom. Many guest may not know one of you and sharing your story with them helps them feel a part of the day.

Brides, tell me what your cutting and splurging on.



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