A year into planning Hallie and Ryan’s wedding, I found out I was pregnant and due a week after their date. I dreaded having to break the news to this sweet couple… because after a year, you really begin to feel closer to your clients and want to see their day through. However, I knew it was just not possible, and of course she understood (which, thankfully, she did because my little one came two days later!)
Luckily, Hallie and Ryan were in the capable hands of Jenifer Sanregret, so I knew everything would come together beautifully, and it did.
This couple wanted something that would be big, bright, beautiful, and festive. Hallie loved the idea of incorporating lots of Mexican influence (were are in Texas after all) which encompassed everything that she loved about throwing parties: lots of color, lots of tequila, and lots of fun.
Who doesn’t love a good romantic comedy? Although this movie doesn’t have the happiest ending, I had a few brides tell me that the wedding scene truly embodied the ambience that they wanted to evoke for their own nuptials. I decided to put a moodboard together to try and help any brides pull together a similar design.
In my experience, here are the things that can cause the most heartache after you get your final bill.
1. Not including tips and gratuity. Tipping on catering alone is often $1500+ so not including it in your budget will cause you a major meltdown later on. Here’s a great tipping cheat sheet I recommend to my couples: http://www.bridalguide.com/blogs/the-budget-guru/how-to-tip-wedding-vendors
2. Not budgeting for overages/accidentals. You always want to provide a cushion in case an unforeseen cost should arise (and it usually does). Examples? the venue only has 1 bathroom so you need to rent a port-a-potty, the tent will need staging due to un-level ground, your DJ/friend/sister’s boyfriend is now a no-show and you need to find a new one ASAP. Consider it your emergency savings for your wedding. We recommend budgeting 8-10% of your budget for overages.
3. Not budgeting for a rain plan. One of the biggest mistakes I see when coming late to the game with brides. A bride planning an outdoor wedding who convinces herself it won’t rain on her day usually gets the worst surprise of her life when a week out she’s faced with a 90% rain chance and no budget for tenting. Rain plans are unfortunately an expensive and necessary evil, so put the money aside and consider it spent until you get the 48 hour forecast. Most basic tents start at around $600.
4. Consistently going over budget in every category. A good budget is set up to be flexible, but, if you are consistently going over in every category (even $100 or so) you will find yourself quickly reaching into an empty pocket book. The best way to approach this is to talk to your fiancé and decide what areas you’d be willing to splurge on, and how much you can afford to splurge. After you’ve talked about potential overages, stay in budget in the other categories, no matter what. Chances are you will come under in other areas and come out on top.
5. Details, details, details. Not factoring in the small items can be a budget breaker. For example, you may have booked rentals, but did you factor in delivery and set up? ($300-$500)What about your guest book? ($20-$50) Those champagne flutes for toasting? ($20-$200) All of these items need to be accounted for. The best way is to start with an overly intensive budget and work your way through it, deleting anything you don’t need. Being too general with your categories can make it very difficult to get accurate estimates.
With a wedding, you have enough to worry about with the dress, the caterer, and your new in-laws. Why add anything else? These are the top 5 stressors to easily avoid to have the best (and most relaxing) day ever:
1. Too Many Hens
The most important people to have a final say in the planning of your wedding are you are your fiancé. While knowing that Mom might not love your favors, or your fiance’s Grandma may not get the idea of having an outside ceremony, you should be prepared to stand by your decisions, regardless of the feathers it my rustle. Years from now, you’ll be glad you did.
2. Dealing with a Troublemaker
Think deeply about your day and who you want involved in the wedding planning process. Having a bridesmaid who tends to make everything about herself, or a groomsman who plans on beginning the day with 3 shots of whisky will cause more hurt, stress, and frustration than it’s worth. If you’re having second thoughts, consider asking the bridal party member to be a part of the ceremony via a reading or to help run the photo booth prop station. Something that will give them responsibility without putting them in the direct spotlight.
3. Weather Mapping
With forecasts predicting weather further and further out, it’s tempting to want to check your wedding date as soon as you’re a month out, but this will just stress you out with little to no payoff. If the prediction is sunny skies, you might be more disappointed when rain appears in the forecast. On the other hand, you could spend the entire month planning for rain for no reason! These monthly forecasts are actually based on past observed weather and not on any current data, so the error margin is very high. I check the weather once at 5 days out, and again at 3 days out when I make final calls for my clients. 30% or more 48 hours out is usually enough of a probability for us to call a rain plan.
4. Not Spending Enough on Necessary Items
While saving money is always the goal for my clients, making cuts on things that are necessary will only lead to stress. Some of these include: a great and reliable photographer, tenting, staging, lighting, and a good caterer.
Certain vendors are cheap for a reason, and as the day gets closer and you still haven’t heard from the DJ, or the day-of the tent is 1/3 of the size it needs to be, it will overshadow the rest of the event–and your mood.
At the end of the day, shop within your parameters, and don’t skimp on the important things. While it is one of the most important days of your life, take everything into consideration when spending.
Hopefully, when you decided to marry your partner, you didn’t stress for months on end about whether there was someone better out there. You should take this same approach when finding your vendors. When you meet and fall in love with your vendor, consider that you’re marrying them, too! Shop for vendors that possess certain qualities you want and are in your price range, and once you’ve found someone, don’t spend the next few weeks worried there might be someone better out there. Too many times brides have wavered back and forth about hiring a vendor, only to lose them to another bride before they had the chance to book. Trust your gut!