When planning a wedding, the first item to consider is your budget and who is providing the funds.
In the past, tradition dictated the Brides Parents paid for the wedding costs. However, that was at a time when the total budget was usually less than $3000.00. Today, a new tradition has emerged where many Brides and Grooms pay the bulk of the expenses themselves, while others share the costs between both families. See our article on "Who Pays For What".
Whichever way you choose to handle the expenses, it is extremly important that you have a budget and stick as close to it as possible. As with any expenses, the budget must be flexible at the outset until you get an idea of what the various costs will be. Then, you can make the budget more firm and stay within it.
One word of caution here, be careful not to get drawn into buying things JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE SAYS YOU HAVE TO HAVE IT! There are many ancillary items that are just unneccasary. Example: Why buy personalized matches if the reception is non-smoking and you don't smoke? That just doesn't make sense to spend the money. That is just one example, there are many, many more.
Decide at the beginning of your planning what is important and what isn't and stick to it. Don't let anyone sway you from that decision. Are the flowers more important than the cake? Is the Entertainment more important than the veggie tray? Be flexible with the budget and move things around as needed. Remember, the three most important items needed for your wedding are you, your Groom-To-Be and the officiant. The rest is celebratory and can be kept within reason if you want. Try to keep everything in perspective. Of course, if money is no object, go for it all. But if it isn't, here is a way to save BIG money and stay within or even under your budget.
Reduce the number of guests you invite!
Considering an average cost of $50-$100 per guest (for food, drinks, tips, taxes, etc.) you can save a lot of money fast! Now we're not saying cut out the important people like members of the family. What we are suggesting is to look over your guest list and try to cut some of the people you may feel obligated to invite! If you are thinking of 250 people and you trim it to 225, that 25 you cut will save you anywhere from $1250 to $2500 dollars! That's a huge savings! Trim it to 200 and you have paid for your honeymoon! We suggest that you go over your list at least 5 times before you finalize it. When considering trimming someone, ask yourself if you are sure this person will show if they accept your invitation. If there is a doubt, then trim them. Remember, you will pay for all those included in your count whether they show or not.
We have provided here a couple of pie charts that will give you a fair idea of the degree of importance each part surrounding the wedding should be. These are averages of course and you need to make the necessary adjustments for your individual cirumstances and needs.
Smart planning and keeping to your budget will make your special day as close to perfect as possible. Last thought...don't forget to discuss your budget together and with both families.
They very well could have some excellent ideas on ways to cut corners and still accomplish
the end result, a fun reception and a memorable day.