Friday, March 21, 2008

Sticker Shock

I put together my first round of wedding budgets (the cheap and the opulent) and things aren't looking so good. There isn't enough money, never enough. Now we are considering overhauling the entire plan, consolidating everything into 1 day instead of 2 (which will make a lot of people happy in the long run). Will this really save us very much money? I have no idea.

Here are the wedding aspects, in order of importance to me, at the top of the list are the things I don't want to sacrifice on.

1. Photography
2. Food
3. Venue
(Anyone else notice that the 3 most expensive things are the top ones on the list?)
4. Dress
5. Videography
6. Gifts for friends and family
8. Flowers

Those top 3 are killing me. Finding a cake that I can serve for $3/slice really isn't going to save me very much. My vote is for inviting less people. My parents don't think this is going to happen.

How did you cut back on your budget?


elizabeth @ elizabeth anne designs said...

i know that cake is high on your list, but have you considered a dessert instead of a cake? sometimes that can save significant cash.

Chrys said...

Your biggest way to cut is definitely in the food department. The truth is - people don't really care that much WHAT you serve, as long as it's tasty. So, stick to less expensive options like chicken over lobster (for example) and just make sure your caterer makes it well:)

Cutting the guest list is also huge of course - and another great tip is to take advantage of whatever you can get. For example: ask what your venue all has available: often they will have dishes, table linens, glass vases for centerpieces and even decor items you can use for free or fairly cheap. Picking a great location, that needs only minimal decorating, can also help you save on decor and rentals.


Jenna said...

Elizabeth-I am definitely not going to go for the 4-tier-scrolled-and-sugar-paste-flower masterpiece. I need to start searching for a picture of what I have in mind. I like variety anyways, so a bunch of different desserts is more appealing to me than just one cake.

Chrys-Thanks for the great advice. I will be sure to search out any perks or anything like that when renting my venue. I am not above doing hours of research so I don't mind trying to find the best option. If I could just cut the guest list a little bit more.....

One Love Photo said...

FOOD-Cut the food! Have light lovely little snacks sprinkled around the room and don't bother with a big sit down buffet dinner. I have shot several weddings with this format and it is really nice.You get better photos because people aren't just sitting around eating with dirty dishes. People walk around more while they snack and visit with different people. I also think it makes for a more lively reception because they aren't all full of food and tired.

Next-Cut the guest list.

Next-Flowers, make sure that your flowers are awesome since they will be in all the photos. Then make sweet little arrangements for your bridal party yourself (or have a friend do it).

Next-get married on a Friday or Sunday. Ask for discounts for not being on a Saturday. I always give a 15% discount for off season (Nov-May)and for Friday and Sunday weddings.

One Love Photo said...

Just added you to my blogroll, this is a great resource for others who are planning.

One more thing-Maybe find a venue that is nice but allows you to do your own food???

I shot a wedding last summer at a clubhouse and they did the food themselves and it turned out great! They bought salads and salmon and veggies and had the snack concept. They had four tables in different spots around the room each table had different food to nibble on. This kept people moving around while they ate. I love how they displayed the food in different sized glass vases. HMMM...I might have to do a post about that wedding as a Sweet Thing on my blog.

Amanda said...

How I'm cutting a lot out of my budget is doing a lot of it myself or employing the help of friends and family who are skilled and talented in the field of photography, videography, and floral.

Instead of doing a cake, I'm definitely doing a cupcake tower that me and my bridesmaids are making ourselves the week of the wedding (check out, "Hello, Cupcake!" from Amazon).

Doing a lot of stuff yourself will save a bit of money and, also, don't be afraid to snip your guest list a bit. You'll be glad to not invite randoms that you don't want there anyway. ;)

Anonymous said...

I also put my musts in order and it was basically the same as your top three. I'm not willing to skimp on my photographer, so I cut back on flowers. You'd be surprised how much that saves.

And also, you can do a small cake for your and your FI to cut and then have a sheet cake in the back for the guests. No one will know the difference and it will save some money. We're planning on doing a cookie bar!

Also, there's always cupcakes!

Tara said...

i found that keeping our wedding smaller and intimate allowed us to have the wedding we wanted. And for food don't take the first proposal you see... it can be painful doing lots of vendor comparisons but this helped us find a caterer that really worked with our budget... and we are doing a cocktail style party. and lots of DIY bc those little things can add up! DIY invites also is saving us a lot.

Claire and Steve said...

I think it's easiest to cut down in the food department, i.e. serving a variety of desserts rather than hor'dourves or a sit-down dinner. My friend saved a ton of money by getting several fancy cheesecakes/desserts from Costco (i.e. cheesepuffs, cookies) and then arranging them on adorable cakestands/platters. They looked fantastic, but it was very budget-friendly. We paid a little more for our venue (the Utah Historic Courthouse) than the Provo Library, and ended up saving on decor. Basically if you can find a good reception center, you might not need as many decorations.

Also, start going to bridal shows with a bunch of your friends b/c you can win a ton of free stuff there. My sister won her cake, videography, and flowers b/c we were willing to enter all the drawings. I won a free bridal photo (13 by 9) and a cute frame, and a cake server.

I realize you didn't put invitations on your list. I'd recommend J-Mart in Spanish Fork b/c they'll design your invitation at a great price. I used Paper Hearts and loved them, but it was more expensive with the options I wanted.

Linda said...

I bought a lot of stuff off of eBay (my dress! our rings) for a whole lot less than anywhere else. I also bought pew buckets, serving set, ribbon, and baskets from other brides (on the knot and craigslist). Helped me save some money there. I did buy my invites from WeddingPaperDivas. They are very affordable for my budget.
Yes, cutting the guest list is a great way to save money. If you can.
I also used non wedding vendors. My photographer is $900 for the whole day, but I didn't get any packages or retouching. Our caterer doesn't only do weddings. His food was amazing and reasonably priced.

Emily said...

We tried to keep everything low-key to save money, but in the end the only thing that really cut down our costs was cutting down our guest list. It was really hard, but we did have much of a choice.

natalie said...

I agree with Emily. I have made little cuts wherever possible (found an inexpensive cake, serving chicken, lots of DIY and inexpensive flowers), but, for us, the only thing that really made a difference was keeping it small. The food and booze add up so quickly!

Jenna said...

Wow I am really feeling the blog love! Thanks so much to everyone for sharing your advice and experience. There are so many things I am going to work on incorporating.

onelove-A full dinner is actually my dad's thing, and he is paying so I guess he can have what he wants :) I do admit that I don't really like the "dirty dishes" idea, so an appetizer setting would be better for that, but oh well. I think as far as flowers, we are going to find ways to do dramatic and creative arrangements instead of using lots of flowers. Like incorporating branches. We are debating between a venue that requires us to cater with them (that costs less) or a venue that costs more than has a commercial kitchen. We will see which one works best. I would love to see your post about the wedding you talked about, and thanks for adding me to your blogroll!

amanda-I love the idea of incorporating the talents of those closest to you into the wedding process. I am going to start asking around and see who I can find. I already have a few ideas in mind :)

theselittlemoments-Have you heard about the "styrofoam cakes" I think I might do that! I will do a post about it soon, it's just such a great cost-effective option. I am trying to convince my best friend to do it as well.

tara-I am going to be DIY as much as possible, but since I live 3 hours outside of Seattle I am going to have to let other people handle some things (like cake, I don't really want to drive it over the pass, especially if I am carting all kinds of DIY flowers over). I am working on that "small intimate wedding" thing. It doesn't help that my family is HUGE!

claire-I think that picking a gorgeous venue and holding back on the decorations is what I would like to do. I need to start going to some bridal shows! Looks like I will try to head out to the one in Thanksgiving point in April!

linda-I like the idea of stalking ebay and the knot for used items. Once I know EXACTLY what I want I think I will start hunting. If only I was living in Washington I could start now!

emily and natalie-Cutting the guest list is probably the hardest thing. I just want everyone to be able to share this day with me! I decided though, that if they don't even know I am dating him at this moment, they aren't going to get invited. That should help a lot!