So in my meetings with new clients, Michelle, my business partner, will always tell our clients that I am the "numbers person," meaning I jive all the numbers and help people stay within their budgets. As this is usually one of the first questions we have to ask because it will effect the overall event design, it is always best to discuss a budget with the parties that are paying before your first consultation with a wedding planner. In today's world it is not unlikely to see the bride's parents, the groom's parents, or the bride and groom all pay for a wedding.
So what is a realistic budget for a wedding? The national average cost of a wedding in the US in 2009 was $19,623 down from 2008 with a national average of $21,804. With all the platnium wedding shows that are on Style Network and other cable stations, we tell brides it is best to shoot for $25,000 since their expectations are more than years past because they see all the fabulous event design from these over the top weddings!
So what does a $25,000 budget get you? We like to listen to your ideas and then from there we work the budget categories based on what is most important to you. You might want more flowers than gourmet food. Are you might be a paper snob and want to do fabulous invitations. Or you might be a foodie and want a four course dinner. After we factor what is most important to you, then we discuss an estimated guest count. We like to tell our clients to put a dollar figure over each guests head and decide whether or not you want to pay $100 for that person to attend your wedding. Obviously the more guests you have the harder it is to stretch the $25,000 budget.
So what do we think are must haves in a budget that can make your wedding unique and different than a cookie cutter wedding? Ligthing, speciality linens and themed food stations. These are some of our more favorite things to do to make a wedding different.
We always try to stay within set a budget, and if something is going to cause them to go over on their budget, then we always warn them that they are going over. We also try to be very conscious about suggesting ideas that will cause someone to go over budget. We don't like to present over the top ideas, if the budget will not allow for it. We never want to give our clients who have set a strict budget false hopes.
Setting budgets are good to have and should be one of the first things you do when you get engaged (I know you want to get the dress first, but that can factor into what you will be able to do later with your budget - might have to get a dj instead of a band!).
Signing out...Jaime aka The Numbers Person