It is always best when determining your wedding planning budget to start with an initial number and decide what elements you want to include at your wedding reception. For example, I am working with a bride right now who had a preliminary budget in mind and found her wedding reception venue. From there she was able to create her wedding planning checklist to include the elements most important to her.
Thus, with an $18,000 wedding planning budget that included the ceremony, luncheon, open bar, cake and wedding reception venue, this bride had an additional $12,000 to spend for her wedding reception. Her wedding planning checklist for the basic remaining elements for her wedding day include the following:
Wedding Reception Flowers – Her idea is a twist on the usual table flowers. The bride wishes to use the money normally reserved for table flowers and have a simple inexpensive table arrangement and then donate the balance of the flower budget to charity.
Invitations, Escort Cards and Thank You Cards – This is an area in which you can save on your wedding planning budget by creating these elements yourself on the computer or use a local stationary store or on-line service.
DJ – A DJ is less expensive than hiring a band as well as musicians for the ceremony and cocktail hour.
Gown – Can always rent versus buying a gown and then not have to worry about cleaning or storage!
Make-up and Hair – So many choices since make-up and hair is so personal. Most often, the least expensive mode for hair and makeup is to go to the salon versus having someone come to the wedding reception venue that day.
Photographer – Always nice to have a professional, but if you are finding your budget running low and you know someone who can handle the job, then you can chance it. My recommendation is to interview different photographers at all different rate levels and select the one that best suits your purposes. Maybe if funds are low, the professional photographer can do the ceremony and family shots and then friends or family can take the wedding reception shots.
Officiate – Got to have one to make it legal. No way around this no matter what your budget is. Of course there are additional items that can be added to your wedding planning budget such as party favors, specialty lighting, room décor and specialty rentals. (For more information and cost-saving tips about these items, check out Budget Bash.) However, the above listed items are the basics of a wedding planning checklist, and most often, including the wedding reception venue, comprise the majority of the wedding reception budget.
I hope you found these tips helpful and until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun and economical for all!