Category Archives: Realistic Wedding Budget

Smart Ways to Stay On Budget for Your Wedding

By | Budget Los Angeles Wedding, Budget Weddings, DIY, How Much Do L.A. Weddings Cost, Los Angeles Wedding Coordinator, Realistic Wedding Budget, Wedding Planner | No Comments

It’s every bride and groom’s biggest concern:  Budget.  Many couples get a sense of sticker shock when they find out how much weddings cost, and justifiably so.  While the end result is a beautiful day and celebration that in some ways is priceless, there’s no getting around the fact that spending a certain sum on ‘one day’ can be uncomfortable.

When thinking about saving money but preserving the vibe of your event, keep these things in mind:

1.  The extras.  You don’t always need that something ‘extra’. For example, gold leaf on your cake can be pricey; buying a roll of exquisite satin gold ribbon instead can save a significant amount of money.  Letterpress invites are lovely; but not necessary. Flat printed invitations look beautiful and are elegant enough without the additional charges.

We created this sweet centerpiece with inexpensive greenery and sunflowers, using a pitcher that we sourced from the rental company for that evening's event. Photo by Lorenzo Hodges.

We created this sweet centerpiece with inexpensive greenery and sunflowers, using a pitcher that we sourced from the rental company for that evening’s event. Photo by Lorenzo Hodges.

2.  Food!  Food is one of your biggest costs, as is venue (particularly if the venue is lumped in with food, such as when hosting an event at a hotel).  If working an out of the box space where you can provide your own food server, be careful about using a food truck or taco cart. These are great options for saving money, but you need additional staff to properly serve at the bar and clean up at the end of the night.

A space like the Millwick in downtown LA (http://marvimon.com/Millwick) already has some kitchen infrastructure, lighting, and dining tables and chairs, allowing for savings on outside rentals. Food trucks are also doable at this space.

A space like the Millwick in downtown LA (http://marvimon.com/Millwick) already has some kitchen infrastructure, lighting, and dining tables and chairs, allowing for savings on outside rentals. Food trucks are also doable at this space.

3. Decor.  Beware DIY tips online – there are some awesome tutorials out there, but when you see a photo of a stunning decor idea that is labeled cost effective or DIY, ask yourself, ‘how much would the labor cost?’ Hanging lights, large floral pieces, etc – all those projects cost in labor, and anything that requires going up a ladder means serious liability risks.  So be sure to factor the labor in to any supposedly ‘easy’, ‘inexpensive’ DIY project.

A professional event planner’s goal should always be to create a gorgeous and lovely day without sinking a client’s budget.  It takes innovation, experience, and familiarity with cost controlling procedures.  Typically working with an event planner can save you money and keep you at budget.  (Some statistics say the average couple otherwise goes over budget by 30%.)  There are also all sorts of wacky fees (“administrative charge,” “AV liaison fee,” etc) that can rear their ugly heads when clients least expect it, whereas event planners frequently see them coming long before they are an issue. I often recommend to a couple on a tight budget to hire a planner just to do a budget consultation.  That way, they have a good idea of all those scary unknowns, and have the most accurate information on realistic pricing.  This consultation also gives them solid strategies for progressing along their planning process with extensive wisdom based on a pro’s experience.  Then the planner can become involved again a couple months out and serve as day of coordinator to bookend the entire process.

Once your goals for each wedding expense are locked in, you can proceed with authority and way less stress. For more about budgets, check out our past blog posts here and here. Happy planning!

 

Reality Check: Building a Budget for a Wedding in L.A.

By | Budget Los Angeles Wedding, Budget Weddings, How Much Do L.A. Weddings Cost, Realistic Wedding Budget | No Comments

Often, we meet couples who have an extremely low budget planned for the wedding.  The unfortunate issue is that the mainstream media does not filter the statistics for each metropolitan area or region, so brides and grooms reference to information that may apply in the Midwest, say, but not here.

Here are some tips to get you started with a realistic budget:

1. Determine Your Venue – Space Only vs. All Inclusive: Your budget will be different based on your venue.  While you have more control with a venue where you can ‘bring everything in,’ such as rentals (tables, chairs, glassware, etc), the costs can pile up exorbitantly.  Some spaces require generators, lots of lighting, etc.  A thorough examination of all that is needed is essential.  Your caterer, DJ, and other vendors will also need to weigh in to make sure everything you need is covered, from stoves to spoons to water pitchers.

2.  Examine Your Design Needs Carefully:  The sky’s the limit – or, at least, your pocketbook, when it comes to design.  You could fill the smallest of rooms with thousands of dollars of flowers, or reduce your flower costs in a huge ballroom by investing more in lighting.  Having a consult with a florist and discussing your options and what budget is realistic is key in determining how much you need to spend to get the look you want.  Letting the florist know you are still researching is a courtesy to observe if you are on a fact finding mission, as opposed to being ready to book right away.

3.  Hire a Consultant. A good wedding consultant, with a wide spectrum of experience and knowhow, from hotel ballroom weddings to out-of-the-box loft/estate events, can advise on everything from power, lighting, and restrooms to florals and linens.  We have up to the minute pricing info and outstanding relationships, and we an advise on last minute expenses and ‘hidden’ fees and costs.  Many consultants offer “a la carte” budget services if you cannot afford a full wedding planning package; this service can save you significant money, and at the least, allow you to feel you’ve done your due diligence and will avoid cost overruns or surprise expenses.

Happy planning!