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Monday, July 4, 2011

Fabulous Wedding Advice: Wedding Budget Reality Check

Hello there FABULOUS readers!  I absolutely have to take a break away from the pretty to have a difficult and daring conversation with you. Today's Fabulous Wedding Advice comes with a dose of ‘tough love’  infused with a boatload of genuine compassion, understanding and respect.

Quite often, I get several inquiries from brides interested in hiring me as their planner and designer who have the most outrageously impossible budget numbers in them. I get that most people don’t plan their own weddings multiple times so the learning curve is steep and merciless. One of my many responsibilities as a wedding planner is to help couples learn the truth about weddings, while providing them exclusive, extraordinary care and attention through royal customer service.

It really makes me wonder if couples are simply not facing the reality, or are just plain unaware, of the TRUE expense of their dream wedding.  As a matter of fact, forget the reality of their ‘dream’ wedding...they are clueless about the reality of a typical wedding… period. It's really and truly the pink elephant in the room that no one wants to admit is there.

I am happy and confident to approach this formidable pink elephant because I have a stellar record when it comes to saving client's money, working to find affordable short-cuts, guiding them to the wisest choices for their particular circumstances and that my fee is a flat fee and doesn't change based on what a client does or doesn't have for their wedding. I NEVER mark up prices...EVER! So you can count on getting the best advice on how to use your money in the most savvy way; to get the most FAB you can afford and that my imagination can dream of. So let's talk reality in numbers. Here are some examples of requests I've received:

Example 1: Wedding for 150 guests
TOTAL Wedding Budget: $10,000.00

Comments: We want a really nice reception with lots of flowers all over
REALITY:  This allows $ 66.66 per guest for EVERYTHING

Example 2: Wedding for 500 guests
TOTAL Wedding Budget: $7,000.00
Comments: I love bling, glitz and glamour

REALITY:  This allows $ 14.00 per guest for EVERYTHING

Example 4: Wedding for 125 guests
TOTAL Wedding Budget: $4000.00
Comments: We want a wedding at an equestrian center with those tall centerpieces with candles and a band.

REALITY:  This allows $ 32.00 per guest for EVERYTHING


After screaming out loud at my computer screen and downing a shot of Patron, I take a deep breath and realize these people are seriously unaware of what a wedding really costs.

These budgets are unrealistic...POINT BLANK PERIOD! If you are seeking a reception in a venue, with an open bar, a DJ, the floral décor, bouquets or boutonnieres, invitations, catering , hair and makeup, invitations, programs, escort cards/place cards, linens, tables and chairs, décor/environmental design, event design, cleanup and setup, furniture rentals, pipe and drape, lighting, pin spots etc...I'm exhausted just thinking about it!

Oh and did I  mention we haven't even talked about the photography, transportation, attire, rings, honeymoon plans, gifts and favors!

Your wedding budget needs to account for most, if not all of these aspects.  The largest expenses are the food and beverage costs.  

So let's take the $14.00 per person scenario above. Do ya really think your wedding will be a glitzy bling'd out affair at $14.00 per person? Even the least mathematical of us can see that what you want and what you can afford are not the same. I call this Crown Royal taste with a Wild Turkey budget. Not that there is anything wrong with Wild Turkey but, as you know, these two alcoholic beverages are at completely different price points and marketed to two completely different consumers.

Do you disagree? It's quite alright. I don't expect everyone to like this post that is why I said it was a "tough love" piece.  But I am not the only planner that faces this. WE ALL DO! Whether we speak about it or not.

My job is to tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  And I'm to protect and educate you so you can make informed decisions. Whether you like it or not, YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED TO KNOW, UP  FRONT, WHAT YOUR COSTS WILL BE. No surprises. No games and no excuses. Then and only then, can you work along with your planner to c
reate your perfect event, while being innovative, protective, invested in its success and, most importantly, REALISTIC.

Until Next Time, Stay Fabulous!


Arlissa Vaughn said...

Your absolutely right - most people just don't realize what an average wedding costs!

I get this with my business too...having an artist paint live at your wedding IS dreamy, entertaining, and special, but it does cost a reasonable amount of money to have special services added to the event. It's disappointing for the couple when they realize they have not budgeted at all for entertainment, which is why a wedding planner really helps!

Make your wedding memorable with a live event painter -

toni patterson said...

great post!

Jessica said...

Wow those numbers are insane. I've heard of unrealistic budgets but those are just straight up cuckoo crazy.

Lauren @ ELD said...

Absolutely awesome post Tami! Something that all brides need to know- the truth! Thank you for educating! :)

Mindy said...


Excellent post it annoys me when someone expects me to match the price of some photographer that advertises weddings for $395. Its completely different and unfortunately they have to be bluntly told how it is. They have dom perignon taste with a beer on tap budget. Everyone deserves a nice wedding but they have to know their limits.

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