A very good place to start! :) Prepare yourselves for the long haul. This is a jam-down-your-throat PACKED post of information!
Traditional NOW table setting. Promise you, there are more pictures at the bottom!!
So, you’re engaged! It’s amazing and beautiful and perfect and romantic and… overwhelming. And frustrating. And nerve wracking. And we aren’t talking about the relationship. We’re talking about the wedding!! I wanted to walk you through a quick series of what goes where, in my opinion, in terms of the engagement process. These are simply guidelines to make your life a bit easier as you forge your way through one of the most memorable periods in your life. Over the next month or so, we’ll be tackling the “biggies”, one by one, in the order I’ve always seen fit to tackle them as a bride:
1. Budget, budget, budget
2. Hire a planner
3. Venue hunt begins
4. Picking a date
5. Finding “the dress”
This week: the budget! There are plenty- and when I say that I mean PLENTY- of budget calculators and spreadsheets out there for you to rely on in this time. I’m sure if you’ve picked up a wedding magazine, they’ve likely included one. If you’re gotten yourself a wedding planning binder [or been given one], there’s one in there. If you’ve googled around, signed up for any online bridal website or community, or talked to your recently married co-worker… you’ve gotten a budget from somewhere. And here’s the real deal concerning a budget: pick a number- any number- but pick it soon. This will dictate everything else that goes on during your engagement. And coming up with that magic number may be a process in itself!
There are plenty of different situations when it comes to the wedding and who finances such a large event. Each family and wedding is totally unique in terms of where the money backing the event comes from. And here’s the truth: they’re expensive! Probably more than you realize; most definitely more than your parents will realize. Yes, today in America the average wedding budget is $30,000. And that’s rolling all together the Platinum Weddings as well as the backyard bashes. Everything. So to plan an event that’s truly unique and truly “you” can take quite a bit of finess and work- but we’ll get into that next week. Right now, we’re still focusing on getting “that number”.
The best thing to do is- right off the bat- determine who will be hosting the event. Tradition says [and tradition says a lot of things in this world that aren’t always the case in today’s society] that the parents of the bride are the “host” of the wedding. But in a lot of cases, a couple will have saved and planned for their own day- meaning they would be the host. Sometimes if a groom is an only child or from a more affluent family than the bride, the groom’s family may feel compelled to host. Nothing is wrong or bad or negative about any of these situations. It just takes actually pin pointing your specific situation.
Once you and your fiancé have determined what you feel will be your situation, sit down with your families to talk about it. Perhaps an intimate engagement party is the best way to do this- or merely a family dinner with both sets of parents. Remember this: you have no idea what your parents have planned for your wedding. They may have planned to chip in boat loads- or they may have had a very bad year themselves, financially, and cannot contribute more than $1000. Being up front and honest in these family situations will save so much time and effort and energy. It may be an awkward conversation at first, but pin pointing an exact number will be a way to rip the proverbial band-aid and put an end to may questions before they stir up!
I’ll say this: pick the “number” that’s right for you. Only you and your fiancé will know what’s right. A wedding is not worth going into major debt for. But, then again, the party itself may hold great importance to you and your fiancé personally! Don’t be embarrassed if your number isn’t close to the $30,000- either way. Just know that this is the budget you are willing to work with.
After you’ve picked your number, then the spreadsheets start coming in. Here’s the one I use, below:
I am CONSTANTLY sending this out to my client and, more than that, constantly editing it to meet their needs, their situations, and their preferences!
As I mentioned before… spreadsheet here, budget calculator there, here’s a sheet, there’s a sheet, everywhere’s a sheet, SHEET! But, finding one that is perfectly right for you… is probably not going to pop out of a book. You’ll have to tailor to meet your needs- which is great! Who doesn’t want a wedding that exactly meets their needs? [The answer is nobody].
In working with a spreadsheet- or creating one of your own based off of what you can gather from the magazines and websites flooding your mind – determine, in order, what will be important to you on your wedding day. Is the photographer the most important thing? What about the venue/setting? Or is it the video? How’s about how great the food is? Or is a dress totally worth the splurge price tag? Only YOU can determine this. And this will determine your entire budget.
Now, some things just are the way they are- pricey. That means you cannot realistically tailor your budget to where the food is 5% of the price. Hosting a dinner party for, on average, 150 people will cost you a pretty penny. Keep that in mind when you’re creating your custom budget. Be REALISTIC! Don’t be fantastical. Leave room for error [in calculations and estimations], room for improvement, and wiggle room. Everyone needs a little wiggle room. ☺ Also, remember this- when creating a budget right off the bat- include EVERYTHING. Maybe your fiancé isn’t so into having a videographer at the wedding, so you think you can eliminate it. Don’t- yet. Put everything in, and take out when needed down the road. That even includes a planner! Just because you want to do everything yourself, leaving some space for money in those areas will save you in the end, if you do decide that you’ll need them.
Once you get this HUGE task of a budget down and on paper, you will feel so much better. It’s like being an athlete- this is the first of the many hurdles you have to jump, but getting over that first one gives you the confidence to take the 2nd, the 3rd, and the 4th by storm! You can do it!!!
And just for the record, a bit of tradition for you: bride’s family hosts the wedding ceremony and reception, groom’s family hosts the rehearsal dinner and also pays for the florals at the wedding, groom himself finances the honeymoon and wedding night stay. The bride gets off easy! Though these days she’s definitely paying for her dress, hair and makeup, and shoes if not most of the wedding itself!
Some oh-so-very-patiently-waited-for-and-well-deserved EYE CANDY:
I decided on an elegant “traditional” color palette [figured it only fitting since I said the word “traditional” so, SO much in this post!] of gold, champagne, and icy blue-grey with a deep base of chocolate brown. Pairing it with creamy white flowers and ivory pillar candles only followed the vision to completion even more! I knew once I found the enormous and fantastic vases [which is a trumpet-gone-right in my opinion] that the only option was to have large blooms flowing out like a grand bouquet!
A close up of our amazing runner- whose fabric dictated the color scheme beautiful and the classic damask print on it really created the vision itself. I love the delicate icy blue napkin we found to follow suit with the runner. For favors, we kept a simple classic and added a chocolate brown truffle to the mix, sitting on a clean gold doily. Yum! The gold chargers flanked by the brown base plates- with a killer pin dot border- were sheer perfection adorned with the elegantly detailed glass plates above.
Pairing the detailed runner with the amazingly lush cushion-tuck linen from Dress My Chair was the perfect amount of warmth on the table. Who could resist putting a gold chiavari with satin ivory sash up against it??
… not me! :)
I also couldn’t resist the splurge of upgrading the glassware to crystal and the silverware to well, goldware!
Again with the yum. Just so you can FEEL the drool.
One for the road! The table honestly looked so deeply elegant as you walked up to it. The classically gorgeous color scheme was taken to a hint of modern with the pop of chocolate brown added. I love the way it came out and I hope you will, too! You can see and hear more of me talk about this tabletop [hmm, borderline windbag today, aren’t I??] RIGHT HERE on my blog.
Fabulous credits to fabulous people:
Decadent linens go to Dress My Chair
Crisp, lively images from Jonilyn Photography
Perfection in floral form is The Treasured Petal
Customer service and selection [oh my!] credited to Signature Rentals
And of course, the lovely ME fielding all of the crazy ideas!
Until next week…