When I got engaged, I couldn’t wait to start planning for the wedding. I had the date all set and everything else was going to be a breeze. Boy, was I wrong. Wedding planning is nothing what I thought it was going to be. I always told myself I wouldn’t be a bridezilla and that planning would be fun. I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into…
I always thought that when people had a wedding, they chose from a package that included everything. I thought everything would be a one shot type thing and you just hand over a lump sum of money…It was the complete opposite. Nothing is included and renting the venue is not even the most expensive part. I guess the fairy tales only include the beautiful weddings and happy ever afters but forget to mention the cost of things.
I have never planned a wedding before, and I never even thought I would be getting married; especially not this soon, but here I am! For those of you who are like me and have no idea what you are doing, I’m going to give you a little break down on how things work in the wedding world and my experience with venues and vendors as well as budgets.
As a wedding newbie, I would recommend getting a wedding planner or friends that know exactly what they are doing. Lucky for me, I was able to save on not having a wedding planner because I have friends who have planned before as well as my maid of honors sister who is a wedding planner! So they have helped me out a lot when it comes to planning and figuring everything out.
According to my wedding planners, they recommend finding a venue before doing anything else. Reason for that is because once you find the venue, you can plan which vendors you’re going to use as well as decor, and dress. I always thought that I would have my wedding on a Saturday until I found out that Saturday bumps up the price by a few thousand. I recommend having your big day during the week or on a Sunday if you are on a budget like us. You can always use the money you save from having it on a Saturday on something else, like a better photographer or on your dress!
When it comes to venues I have been to at least six, and I still haven’t found one that I liked and that was in our budget. The ones I did fall in love with were more than a house so sadly, I had to pass. Michael and I decided that 10k-15k was reasonable and anything over we wouldn’t do. Renting the venue and space is actually pretty cheap believe it or not, it’s the catering that really makes the price sky rocket. When it comes to venues some are considered “all-inclusive” and some make you provide everything from preferred vendors or you can find your own.
Regardless… it all adds up.
Most catering companies charge by person or by plate. Average plate is $60-$100. If you have a lot of people coming the price will definitely be high. Michael and I have about 120-130 people attending, but it can possibly go down depending on how many people show up. Good thing about weddings and venues is that most don’t ask for the final head count until 10-20 days before the wedding, so if guests can’t make it you’ll know by their RSVP.
Another thing that people get confused with is decor. Venues don’t include decor unless it is “all-inclusive” and even if things like center pieces are included, some how there is a “Hidden” cost. Most things venues include are chairs and tables and sometimes linens, but most of the time they charge you for that. So to save $600 on linens, my bridesmaids and I have decided on table runners instead. Flowers are another cost that you have to distinguish with your florist, but since I haven’t found my venue, I haven’t made it that far. As for lights, that is another cost if they aren’t included. China, Dj, Centerpieces… It’s all a separate cost. To save money on center pieces and flowers, I recommend finding some vases or mason jars at the dollar store and having your florist add their touches to it, that way you save money and you can actually take the flowers and vases home after your big day.
When you first start your planning I recommend doing your check list in this order.
- Your Budget: 10k-15k
- Date: September 22, 2017 (To see if the venue has your date available)
- Preview of guest list: 100-130 people (So you can guesstimate on how many people with be attending so you can choose the size of your venue and a head count for food and drink)
- Schedule Engagement Photos: (Announce your engagement and begin your save the dates… Once you secure your date with a deposit and contract!)
This as far as I have gotten. I know there is way more a head of me, but for now these 4 things are my priority. For those of you who are newly engaged or wedding planning good luck and don’t stress! I know it’s a lot easier said than done, but my fiancé made a good point. Michael told me, “This day is about you and me, not anyone else. As long as we are happy everything else with be great.”
You know what, he is right. My dress can be dirty, my heel can break, my arch can be crooked, but as long as I am with Michael and he is happy, that is all that matters. That’s what makes your BIG day the BEST day and the most special day of your lives.
Millie The Bridezilla