Saturday, April 17, 2010

Wedding Budgets and Expenses

The majority of brides regret some of the choices they made concerning their wedding especially by overspending and not creating a realistic budget. Proper budgeting and tracking of all expenses could have prevented some of these problems.

Whether you are paying for the wedding yourselves, or your families are helping; setting a realistic budget is essential. Here is where majority of your wedding budget is going:

1. 40% to 50% for reception location rentals, food, cake and beverages
2. 8% to 10% for flowers and d├ęcor
3. 8% for photography and Videography
4. 5% to 10% for the bride's and groom's attire
5. 5% to 10% for fees, invitations, transportation, etc.
6. 10% for honeymoon
7. 2% to 5% for Misc. Items including keepsakes

Janice M. T. Bachiller of Wedding Planner 808 offers brides five simple budgeting tips to ensure that their weddings go as smoothly as possible without breaking the bank in the process.

Who is responsible for what?

Times have changed and no longer are the bride's family responsible for assuming the entire cost of a wedding. Get help from both sides of the family in creating a wedding budget. One idea: Each family would assume responsibility for one-third of the costs- bride's family, groom's family and the bride and groom. This relieves some of the pressure on the bride's family and also makes the process of planning the wedding a more enjoyable experience. If you want to be really organized about who is paying for what, find out who traditionally pays for what and decide who will be responsible for what section of the wedding. Now, brides and grooms have been paying for their own wedding based on their own savings, financially abilities to contribute and they don’t want a traditional wedding.

Guests Lists

The amount of guests you have at your wedding is one of the most important factors in deciding how big your budget is. Face it, the more guests you have – the more you have to shell out at the reception. The reception is the biggest percentage of your budget.

First, create a guest list of A, B and C for both sides of the bridal couple. The lists should be in the order of importance. A – Most Important and must haves to witness your day of marriage union and celebration. B – It would be nice to have them at my wedding because they were special to me sometime in my life and it would be nice for them to help me celebrate. C – This is the list of family and friends that mom, dad, grandma or grandpa, siblings, former co-workers and friends that I would invite should I be able to afford additional guests.

If the bridal couple will be responsible for paying for the entire wedding, then they have to decide what the reception’s minimum charges will be and the based on their guest list the maximum they can afford to invite without having to go overboard. If the number of guests is below what you expected to invite, then one way to help is to have the bride and groom’s families be responsible for assisting in the amount of guests that they want to invite. Your last resort is to keep your guest list to a minimum to only invite family and/or friends that you can’t celebrate without on your special day. I know that families and friends can be very large in numbers and in the long run very expensive. How to decide who to invite and who not to invite is based on your realistic budget and what you can afford to pay.

Creating a Realistic and Practical Budget Worksheet

Attached is a budget worksheet that you can start completing to help you create a realistic budget that you can use throughout the wedding planning process by keeping track of the maximum amount budgeted for, the actual deposits paid and balances due. Keep in mind the total budget that you have saved for, the amount you expect to borrow or take a loan out for or expect to have saved by your wedding date.

Go through each category with realistic numbers and decide along the way on the most important items to have on your wedding day. Figure out your wants and needs according to what is practical to you and your wedding day requirements. Here are two important things to think about when calculating your total budget: The number of guests that you would like to have at your reception and the total dollar amount that you can afford to pay for.

Here are some tips when going through the budget worksheet:

1) Wedding Rings: Best time to purchase is from November to February for the best holiday pricing.

2) Determine what type of wedding planner and coordinator is required for your wedding day requirements. Choose a wedding designer/consultant/planner/coordinator that will assist you best on what type of services is required of him or her. The planner/coordinator should be able to past the savings and discounts to you because in the long run, your coordinator will be paid for “hassle & stress free”!

3) Think about having your wedding ceremony and reception in one location to avoid transportation fees and traveling time.

4) Choose a buffet over hand service. The hand service will cost more based on the staff service charges. The appetizers, entrees and dessert will keep your guests hungry for more.

5) When creating your reception menu, don’t forget the minimum of food and beverage charges you have to spend before you get hit with unnecessary additional charges.

6) Create a bar beverage limit according to the following: tickets, host cocktail and dinner only, host only certain drinks, use a dollar amount based on two drinks per person – you can be creative!

7) Don’t forget to calculate the service charges and sales tax into your budget; it can be a difference of $2,000.00 in total for everything.

8) Find family and friends entertainers that may want to entertain your guests at no cost to you.

9) The venue may offer you a complimentary cake based on how much your minimum spending is at your reception.

10) Choose a photographer and videographer that will capture everything the day of your wedding. Don’t skimp on these vendors as you won’t be able to recreate the day. If you had to choose a service – choose an all day service, you can purchase the storybook album and extra DVD copies later. Purchase the rights and waived releases to them so you will be able to reproduce them in the future and avoid costly reproductions.

11) Invitation templates can be created yourself and printing them on nice paper. Most invitations are $5 - $20 a piece. You can save money on having them printed them yourself.

12) When budgeting for flowers, consult with a florist who will be able to relocate your ceremony flowers to the reception. Eliminate additional costs and recycle them. Florists have created different looks from the ceremony to reception.

13) Purchase your bridal gown, bridesmaid dresses, flower girls dresses and accessories at one place. It is more than likely that the bridal salon will extend you a discount for purchasing everything in one place. You might even get a complimentary groom’s attire with all of that purchase.

14) Look for the vendor that offers a complimentary groom’s tuxedo with the rental of 4 tuxedos. The deposit is minimal of $20 dollars and a wide range of choices.

15) Hair and Makeup should not cost more than $150.00 each per person. Flower Girls should be complimentary – there is not much makeup to put on.

16) The groom’s parents and family should be responsible for the rehearsal dinner if you’re going traditional.

17) The reception venue will let you borrow the cake knife and server, and toasting flutes so that you don’t have to buy them.

Keeping things organized. To stay and keep on budget, keep track of all deposits and balances due. Consider using a simple budget worksheet that will keep track of your spending, but it could also help with invitations and guest lists. Make sure that you receive a contract for vendors that you have approved and hired. Keep a binder with divider pockets to keep all of your receipts.

Keep yourself from overspending. It is not impossible. If you have to adjust your budget worksheet, do it as many times, because it shouldn’t be set it stone. You should be able to cut costs here and there and make budgets more realistic by always checking on it. Accepting the services of a wedding consultant will always save you money and avoid lots of stress!

Click here to download Budget Worksheet!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Stress – Free Wedding, Let a Professional Handle the Details

What is the difference between a Wedding Planner, a Wedding Coordinator or Wedding Consultant? Which would benefit me most?

A wedding planner is someone who plans a full service wedding to simple tasks and duties to include research, planning, consulting and coordination as well as any assistance required in the developing process of a wedding. The planner is a person who is assisting throughout the planning process that can start as early as 18 to 12 months prior to your wedding date.

A wedding coordinator is someone who is responsible for organizing different and diverse elements into the coordination of a wedding day. Furthermore, the wedding coordinator is someone who coordinates the services of all of your wedding vendors to ensure the management of your contracts are executed. A coordinator is a person who implements your wedding day plans and executes the contracts between you and your vendors. Coordination of your wedding day can start as soon as all of your vendors and contracts are situated and can be hired anywhere from 6 months up to 2 weeks prior to your wedding date.

A wedding consultant is a professional and experienced advisor who charges a fee for providing advice or services requested to plan or coordinate a wedding. A wedding consultant can be anyone who can be professional, experienced, respectable and reputable in the wedding industry that can provide a service that can be executed through a contract. A professional consultant should be one who can provide a clear and understanding contract of services to be provided between both parties in exchange for a fee.

A wedding planner, coordinator or consultant can almost act as a couple’s personal assistant, taking care of as many, or as few, preparations as you deem necessary. In addition, the wedding planner may also have a network of regular suppliers at his or her disposal, through which some cost savings can be made.

Before you decide on which would benefit you most, you should always do your research by doing the following:

1) Inquire for Services. Inquire with several different planners or coordinators for the type of services they provide.
2) What type of Service do I need? Complete a Questionnaire for Services or a form that will help the planner or coordinator help you decide what type of service would suffice for your wedding day plans.
3) Get a price Quote. Request for a price quote and the services that they will provide for you from several planners or coordinators based on what you would require for your wedding day.
4) Request for an initial consultation. Meet with several planners or coordinators to insure that all of your questions have been answered.

Now that you have done your research, you will be able to decide on what type of services are needed, the type of professionals required to create your wedding day, and the costs required to produce a successful, organized and stress free wedding that will be “A day to remember!”