Posts tagged ‘planning’

September 27, 2011

The B Word: Part 2

Now that the wedding budget process is broken down and key questions have been answered, it’s time to be a budget savvy bride. Here are some tips and recommendations on how you can get the most for your buck.

Stick to it!
The key to executing the budget plan successfully is sticking to it. When researching venues, photographers and dresses, don’t look above your budget. If your food and beverage budget is $5000, don’t visit a venue that has a $10000 minimum. This applies to smaller ticket items too. If you’re allotting $800 for a wedding dress, don’t try on the $1000 gown. You think, “it’s only $200 more,” but a little bit here and a little bit there adds up to a big number.

Embrace DIY Projects
Let your inner crafter come out and add personal touches to your wedding. You can always save money by printing and assembling invitations, making centerpieces and creating favors. But remember, don’t try to DIY everything—make a list of what you can realistically handle, taking into consideration your crafting experience, the time it takes to work on a project and if you have additional hands to help. You don’t want this to be a frustrating experience.

When & Where
Consider off-season months (November-April) and days (Friday and Sunday). Most vendors will be more flexible open to negotiating. For additional savings, check out venues other than your typical hotels and country clubs. Local parks, private estates, museums and historic buildings can offer affordable rental fees.

Wedding Dress
Consider renting a dress or even buying a “gently worn” dress. Once Wed and PreOwned Wedding Dresses offer great options, including designer brands, that are affordable. We also love Brides Against Breast Cancer, a non-profit organization that sells new and pre-owned gowns 25-75% below retail price. Save money for a great cause!

PreOwned Wedding Dresses

Photos last a lifetime and and capture the emotions of your wedding day. It’s definitely not something you want to skimp on. If the photographer’s pre-packaged deals are too expensive, don’t hesitate to ask the photographer to put together something that works within your budget. This may mean foregoing extras like framed prints or parents albums, but you can always get those items at a later date as long as you have the original hi-res images on a DVD. Check out Blurb or Snapfish.

Stick to locally grown flowers that are in season. Also, consider bouquets and centerpieces that showcases a single type of flower. This allows your florist to buy flowers in large quantities and get better pricing from flower growers.

Q WeddingsBella FioriAriel Yve Design

Debating between a live band and a DJ for the reception? If you’re working with a tight budget, DJ is the better option! Less people means less money. Or if your venue has a sound system on site, plug in your iPod as your DJ—it’ll ensure  that you’ll dance the night away to all of your favorite songs. Also consider using your iPod for ceremony music and hire a DJ just for the reception. Some DJ companies that offer ceremony music services will charge for the “dead time” between the ceremony and reception.

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My Other Half isn’t about sacrificing things that are important to you on your wedding day; we’re about being budget-savvy. It is possible to have a five-star wedding without the $1 million price tag!

September 26, 2011

The B Word: Part 1

An exquisite Monique Lhuillier wedding dress, picture-perfect chiavari chairs, sophisticated letter-press invitations, a string quartet playing Cannon in D as you walk down the aisle…these are the things we dream of for perfect wedding day. Then we realize that we must face reality and think about the dreaded B-word: BUDGET. It’s daunting and overwhelming, and you begin to think that maybe eloping to Vegas isn’t such a bad idea after all. Don’t book your flight ticket just yet! We’re here to guide you through the budgeting process. With all the right tools and careful planning, it will be (somewhat) painless!

Who’s footing the bill?
Figure out where the money is coming from. Talk to both sets of parents and discuss if they are able to contribute financially rather than assuming that your parents are paying for the reception and his parents are hosting the rehearsal dinner. If they offer to pay for a specific item, like photographer or flowers, get a ballpark figure of how much they’re estimating. Secondly, consider your personal finances and discuss how much you and your fiancé can contribute toward the wedding budget. Don’t put yourself into debt! This is supposed to be a celebration of love that’s followed by a lifetime of happiness, not financially inducing pain.

Identify your top priorities so that you can move forward with a focused and united vision. Print out 2 copies of this priority list and individually evaluate what you must absolutely have on your wedding day and what things you can scale back on. If your fiancé is an avid music lover, put him in charge of researching DJs. If you’re all about the flowers, that can be your assignment. If neither of you care for an extravagant 8-tier wedding cake, consider other fun and budget-friendly options, like the DIY Cookie Bar.

Who? When? Where?
Do want a small and intimate wedding with 30 of your closest friends and family, or a big fiesta with 250 people? Are you a sun-loving summer bride, or do you have your heart set on a winter wonderland wedding? Did you want to stay local, or have an exotic destination wedding in Jamaica? Having these things figured out in the beginning will help you tremendously with setting realistic numbers with the next phase in the budget planning process.

Everyone seems to have a different answer for this question–What’s included in the wedding budget? It should include everything that is involved in the wedding. This mean pretty much everything except your engagement ring and the honeymoon, neither of which are a part of the wedding celebration. Refer to our budget sheet to see the general categories. Make sure to include any mandatory service fees and tax. Below is our recommended allocation (for a non-destination wedding):

  • Reception (45%): Site fee, food, beverage, corkage fee, cake, cutting fee, vendor meals, rentals (tables, chairs, linens, etc.)
  • Photography & Videotography (12%): Engagement session, wedding day coverage, production (editing, prints, wedding album, parents’ albums, etc.)
  • Attire  & Beauty (10%): Wedding dress, alterations, veil, jewelry & accessories, shoes, undergarments (bra, bustier, slip), hair, makeup, groom’s tux, groom’s accessories (tie, cuff links, etc.)
  • Flowers (9%): Bride’s bouquet, bridesmaids’ bouquets, groom’s boutonniere, groomsmen’s boutonnieres, mothers’ corsage, fathers’ boutonnieres, ceremony flowers, reception centerpieces
  • Music (7%): Ceremony music, cocktail hour music, reception music
  • Planner (5%): Wedding coordinator or day-of coordinator fee
  • Ceremony (2.5%): Site fee, officiant fee, ceremony accessories (for religious ceremony, aisle runner, unity candle, etc.)
  • Stationary (2.5%): Save-the-dates, wedding invitations, thank you cards, postage, programs, escort cards, place cards
  • Gifts (2.5%): Wedding favors, parents’ gifts, bridal party gifts
  • Wedding bands (2.5%): For bride and groom
  • Miscellaneous (2%): Gratuity and other unplanned costs
August 22, 2011

Get Organized

You’ve got the man and the ring…What next? It’s time to start planning for your big day! If hiring a wedding planner is not in your budget, a well-organized wedding planning binder will be your best friend in the upcoming months. As a budget-minded DIY bride, you can take matters into your own hands by DIY-ing a wedding planning binder.

[Tip: Take advantage of back-to-school sales at your local office supply stores.]

  • 3 ring binder
  • 8-10 dividers with tabs
  • Sheet protectors
  • Paper and pen

[Click on the links below for templates and forms.]

  • Calender: Keep yourself on track by jotting down appointments, project due dates and vendor payment schedules. [Tip: Share Google Calendar with your fiancé.]
  • Budget: Discuss budget and priorities with your hubby-to-be and create a spreadsheet of your estimated budget. Make sure to record your actual spending and track any payments/deposits made throughout the wedding planning process. This is the easiest way for you to know if you’re over, on track or under budget.
  • Guest List: Keep detailed information about your guests. This list will come in handy for RSVPs, meal selections, and sending Thank You cards.
  • Venue: When searching for the perfect budget-friendly venue, it’s essential to have an apples-to-apples comparison of your options.
  • Dress: After visiting handful of bridal salons in search of the perfect dress, it can get overwhelming to keep track of everything. Use this section to jot down details of the dress, including price, likes and dislikes. Don’t forget to try on your favorite dresses at different salons as some will offer better prices.
  • Photographer: It’s extremely important to meet with the photographer before making your final decision. As photos last a lifetime, you want a photographer you connect with, someone who can capture the emotions of your wedding day.
  • Flowers: Flowers play a big role in defining the feel of your day. Whether you’re looking for a romantic wedding or a modern affair, it’s important to find a florist who can translate your vision through flower arrangements.
  • Bridal Party: If you’re letting your bridesmaids pick their own dresses, stop by a hardware store and pick up paint chips to give to your girls for reference.
  • Beauty: Print out pictures of your hair and makeup from the trial session. Make note of any changes you would like to see for your wedding day. I’m sure your hair and makeup artist will appreciate this reference on the day-of.
  • Music: Start a list of must-have grooves. Don’t forget to create a “do not play” list as well. You don’t want the Macarena to scare people off the dance floor.
  • Inspiration: This is the fun part! When flipping through a magazine or surfing your fave photographer’s blog, cut out or print any images that inspire you.
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