Budgets: Where to Start?

In a previous post, Wendy Kidd (Certified Master Wedding Planner, AACWP, and owner of Each & Every Detail) created this intro for any couple who is sitting down to create their wedding budget and doesn’t know where to start. If that describes you and your significant other, read on!

One of the most popular questions I get asked is how much does a wedding cost?  Many people answer this as a statistic.  For me, I ask in return, what have you budgeted?  Obviously, weddings can be and are expensive.  However, if you plan for an amount that you can afford, any wedding can be made special and unique. 

Need help deciding how much to spend?  The best advice I can give you is to know that the facility and food costs will take up approximately 50-60% of your budget.  From this, you can either work backwards from the budget you’ve prepared (your budget is $30,000, so your budget for food/facility is $15,000), or you can work forward from the amounts you’ve already committed to this category (your food/facility cost is $17,000, so your total budget should be around $34,000).  This helps you to judge how much you have left to spend on all other vendors, such as photographer, DJ, wedding planner, etc.  Remember to prioritize your interests too, so you can spend more on what is important to you.

Designing Your Wedding: Location

bride and groom kissing in front of perot museum wedding with vintage car at night

As the final entry in this serial overview of ways to begin to design your wedding, consider this approach:

Location

As the song goes, “I do love to be beside the sea side…” If you do, too, you could have all the design inspiration you need right in front of you. Deciding on an evocative location first can complete half your design work for you. Use your location’s inherent color scheme to choose similar or complimentary colors for your wedding. Choose one element from your locale to become a recurring motif on all of your stationery or favors. Did you find an amazing hacienda, or botanical garden, or Rococo ballroom? Congratulations! You’ve found a theme, as well! Even using location in the larger sense – such as the city where you’ve chosen to be married, or from which you both hail – can dictate floral, food, and style choices.

Pro Tip: Since choosing a location can lead you to other design choices, and using any of the other approaches can lead you to finding the perfect location, it really is a chicken-or-the-egg scenario. This is the best approach when you really feel a connection to a place.

That’s it for this overview of way to begin designing your wedding! Check back soon for a more in-depth look at each of these options individually.

We love hearing from you! How did you design your wedding? What design elements did you use? Let us know in the comments!

The Silent Budget, Revisited

“Budget” is the hardest conversation to have for most couples planning their wedding, and also the most important. Every decision made while planning is affected by the budget chosen. Each & Every Detail previously outlined a series of planning issues that crop up, and we’re revisiting the piece on budget. Read on to see why ignoring this particularly crucial element of wedding planning can come back to haunt you:

This is the fourth installment in our series of posts about the top 5 planning mistakes we’ve seen couples make in the past.  In case you missed them, check out our first three posts: #5 – Assuming Your Vendors Communicate, #4 – Ignoring the Setting Sun, #3 – Inviting Too Many Guests.

Wedding ceremony at Ashton GardensMoney is never easy to talk about, but keeping silent is the number one reason people go over budget.  Creating your budget – and deciding on its points of flexibility – sets the tone for relationships during the wedding planning process.  You have to juggle your priorities with your partner’s, your parent’s, and your soon-to-be in-law’s wishes and traditions.  Attacking these problems early on in the process can prevent emotional breakdowns when the bills come due and keep everyone’s stress levels down.

Problems resulting from insufficient, incomplete, or conflicted budgeting can lead to a whole plethora of problems.  We have seen couples book venues with a predicted cost of $20,000 who are heartbroken when they later determine their total wedding budget is $25,000.  Another problem we see stems from a lack of communication between the couple, leading the bride to keep the groom in the dark as to vendor commitments that are breaking the bank.  Budgeting for a wedding is really difficult, because it’s not a skill we are often taught.  Some brides rely on friends with budgeting experience, like CPAs or project managers, to help them through the process, but wedding prices and categories are totally different from those dealt with in their line of work.

So, what’s the best way to avert budget disaster?  Talk, talk, talk.  Talk with the key players, including all of the parents, to prioritize expense categories, determine contributions and the overall bottom line, and finalize what will be covered by this budget.  Does it include the honeymoon?  What about the rehearsal dinner?  Is everyone’s attire included, or just the bride’s dress?  Be specific.  Prioritization is very important in this process.  It’s invaluable to know ahead of time that it’s really important to your mom that you get married at the church you grew up in, or that the groom’s mom would like you to wear her veil, or that your dad is totally passionate about the need for a wedding video, or even that the groom loathes chair covers.  Not only can these issues cause problems later, but also they affect the amount of money you will spend and your ability to cover a variety of categories.  Clearly define your budget categories, pick your priorities, and allocate your money accordingly.  Be respectful during this process, and remain mindful not only of the dollars and cents involved, but others’ priorities and emotions.  A wedding planner can lend a hand in this process if necessary, but to some degree, you know your family best and can negotiate the riptides of tradition and emotion.

Something to keep in mind is that a budget is not set in stone.  As you do market research, the costs you allocated to various categories may change.  That’s okay, but try to balance the changes out across the different categories, so that your overall budget doesn’t zoom up.  Maybe you find out that you’re willing to give up that vintage car in order to get the photographer you want.  Just be sure to subtract or tone down low priority categories if you decide to add costs to high priority items.  A planner can be very helpful here, as long as he or she is aware early in the process that you need help keeping costs in line and what your priorities are.

 

Hidden Springs Open House

hidden springs open house aubrey texas wedding venue

Brides & Grooms (past and present), Families, Friends! Come One! Come All!

Hidden Springs Special Event Venue invites you to their first open house on September 25th!

If you’re still looking for a venue or vendors for your wedding, stop by. There will be games, tastings, music, gowns, flowers, and a lot more.

Each & Every Detail will be there, and we would love to see you!

The more, the marrier…whoops…”merrier”!

RSVP via email to kathy@thespringsevents.com.

You can also check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HiddenSpringsEvents or their website at www.thespringsevents.com.

We hope to see you there!

Cutting your Guest List

Peaches on Par Wedding InvitationIn an earlier post, we outlined some guidelines for developing an initial guest list.  In this post, we’d like to look a little more closely at three issues that tend to create problems during wedding guest list creation: bringing a guest, the B-list, and whether or not to include children.

Many assume that for etiquette purposes, you always allow a single person to bring a guest.  Thus, the “and guest”  on the inner envelope.  Not true!  Those you must include are the spouse, fiance(e) or live-in partner of each invited guest.  There is no requirement for singles to be allowed to bring a date.  This is solely at your discretion.  Most people tend to add an “and guest” for friends who are in a committed relationship of some duration.  Brothers and sisters can be allotted an escort.  Wedding party members who are single may want to bring a guest.  It’s up to you.

Keep a few things in mind when deciding on who will be given an “and guest”.  First, if your friend is in a long-term relationship with someone you absolutely don’t want at your wedding, do not feel committed to allotting your friend a guest.  Be prepared to talk about it, but stick to your guns if you feel strongly.  Additionally, if you know that giving your sister an “and guest” will stress her out about finding a date, don’t put her under pressure to produce a someone for the wedding.  Second, remember that you can always fall back on your rule about not inviting people the bride and/or groom have never met.  Third, make sure your additional guests do not expand your total list to an unacceptable number.  It is not worth redoing your entire wedding budget if the “and guest” can be cut!  Finally, check your list to ensure that the added guests do not skew the overall guest division between the bride, groom, and two sets of parents.  Everyone should have an approximately equal number of expected attendees.

Many a magazine has advised creating a “B-list”.  In essence, they direct couples to make an A-list of people that must be invited, then create a B-list of people to be invited if guests from the A-list cannot attend. We do not recommend this method.  Your “B-list” friends and family could be very hurt by finding out they are on this list, which is easy for them to do if an “A-list” guest speaks to someone or posts on Facebook that they received their invitation and a “B-list” guest doesn’t receive theirs until weeks later.  Also, you would need to print response cards with a different response deadline for the “B-list”, making it an additional expense.

Children can be a big factor in guest list cuts as well.  Don’t feel obligated to invite children if you do not want them there!  If you prefer that children not attend, add a line to your response cards that indicates that you prefer “an adults-only evening”.  Add it to your website as well.  Be sure to emphasize with both sets of parents that guests who call and request additional seats for their children should be politely told that unfortunately, that won’t be possible.  Additionally, consider carefully how your family and friends define ‘adult’.  We’ve seen guests bring additional guests as young as 10, even when children are not included in the invitation.  Be gentle, but firm, when defining the boundaries.  If it’s a big problem for your guests, consider providing childcare back at the hotel so that your friends can enjoy the party without worrying about the kids.

If your guest list gets out of control, consider making the following cuts.  Anyone who will be more excited about the open bar than the ceremony can be cut.  You want people at your wedding who are excited for you and the step you are taking together.  Don’t feel shy about cutting people you don’t know, or that you haven’t seen since graduating a decade ago, or that guy in payroll who helped you straighten out your vacation time.  Unfortunately, some guests try to bully their way on to your guest list, or try to bully you into allowing them to bring someone not invited.  Stand your ground!  Their rudeness should not affect your carefully considered decisions.  Above all, make sure that your guest list reflects the community you want to support you on your wedding day.

Photo by Celina Gomez Photography

Designing Your Wedding: Theme

chemistry of love theme wedding invitation

photo credit: Hiram Trillo Photography

Second in a three part series on where to begin when designing your wedding, here is an overview of another place to start:

Theme

Do you have a penchant for French food and fashion? Perhaps a Marie Antoinette-inspired fete is the best match for you. Are you just a couple of giant kids playing your way down the Midway of Life? Let a carnival theme set the tone. Can the two of you quote the old classics endlessly? A night of old Hollywood glamour would be just the thing to usher in your new life together. As long as the theme you choose fits who the two of you are, it will feel exactly right to you and your guests.

Pro Tip: Choosing a theme for your wedding day presents the broadest opportunity for interpretation for you, and for your vendors. That can be a pro and a con. If you have any specific ideas about what parts of your theme you love most, bring examples or lists to discuss with vendors making design decisions. If you have an open mind, your vendors can bring a lot to the table you may not have thought about, but if there are any details you don’t want, like you’re not sweet on cotton-candy pink, speak up!

Check back next week to see the final overview entry on where to begin when designing your wedding.

We love hearing from you! How did you design your wedding? What design elements did you use? Let us know in the comments!

Where to Start on your Guest List

Game of Love Wedding InvitationOne of the biggest hurdles in planning a wedding is deciding who goes on the guest list and how many guests to invite.  Creating a guest list, whether you’re thinking of inviting 5 or 500, can be a process fraught with family negotiations.  Plus, the number of people you invite has a huge impact on your wedding budget and your choice of wedding ceremony and reception venues.  We suggest starting off with a “draft list”.  This is the first list you make, which allows you to start visualizing who you want to invite.

It can be difficult to figure out where to start when listing potential invitees.  The best way to start is to first pick a total number of guests that you want to attend.  Yes, we said attend, not invite.  (We’ll talk more about this later.)  Make it a logical number – if you know the groom has more than 30 close family members, a total guest count of 75 probably isn’t going to be realistic.  Think about the style and feel of your wedding as well.  If you know you want a small, intimate ceremony in the tiny chapel you grew up attending, then starting off with a guest list of 300 is going to lead to a lot of heartache later.  When deciding on this number, also keep in mind your overall budget.  Here are some useful statistics:

  • The average spent per wedding in the U.S. in 2013 was $25,200.
  • The average number of guests was 150.
  • That means the average amount spent per guest was $168.

So, if you have  budget of $25,000, you can easily see that you may not be able to afford to invite 250 – 300 guests.  Once you’ve got a nice round number in mind, divide the list into four pieces: a quarter of the list to the bride, a quarter to the groom, a quarter for the bride’s parents, and a quarter for the groom’s parents.  If either set of parents is divorced, split their allotment evenly between the father and mother.  Make sure the bride works with her parents and the groom with his to ensure all family members make it onto the list.

After everyone has a list of names, ask each person to go through and make a realistic projection of whether or not each guest will attend.  This doesn’t mean you need to start emailing or calling people – in all likelihood, you don’t have a date yet!  But most people know, for example, that the groom’s Uncle George never comes to family events, or that the bride’s college roommate is deployed overseas and just can’t get that kind of leave.  Take a look at the lists and make sure that no one’s portion has been decimated by the probably-won’t-come estimates.  Adjust accordingly.  And voila!  You have your draft guest list for wedding invitations.

Of course, it’s not all about numbers.  You – the bride and groom – should have the ultimate decision-making power when it comes to guests.  If you don’t want someone at your wedding, do not feel obligated to invite him or her.  If you attended someone else’s wedding, you aren’t required to invite them to yours.  Close personal friends or your boss from work are fine, but don’t ask the entire office if you would rather they not share in your special day or you are restricted on head count due to venue or budget.  Set some ground rules with your parents about who they can include on the list.  A good rule of thumb is that either the bride or the groom should have met every person that will be invited.  Whatever rules you decide to follow, once they have been established, stand firm!  Don’t let yourself be bullied into adding extra guests or people you’ve never heard of once you and your parents have agreed on the boundaries.

photo by Katie Cassidy Photography

Is Hiring a Planner Worth It?

Bride and mom prepping for weddingHuffington Post recently featured a bride’s blog post titled, “Why We Didn’t Hire a Wedding Planner… But Wish We Had.”  Here’s some highlights:

– The author intended to save money by eliminating the cost of a planner, but realized after the fact that hiring someone early in her planning process could have helped them save money by guiding them towards more appropriate vendors, tracking spending and making suggestions to keep them within budget, and eliminating last minute ‘surprise’ expenses through a deeper understanding of the services and goods requested.

– She also felt that working with a planner would eliminate her choices and her involvement entirely.  She found after the fact that she could have chosen specific services that would have simply turned over the tedious tasks to a planner while allowing her to retain decision-making power.

– Last minute details and changes meant that her parents, family, and friends all became much more involved in minutiae on the day of the wedding than she and her fiancé had planned.

One of the most difficult obstacles for wedding planners to overcome is the stereotype of the exorbitant, flashy, spendthrift artiste who seizes on your day and refuses to let go.  Really, this is not what we do (or, honestly, what we want to do).  Maybe you’re not the couple who needs someone else to remind you of deadlines, or help track your budget, or research venues and vendors, but every couple reaches a point in the planning process where the ability to turn over the running of the show to someone you can trust to handle the details becomes a need.  Some couples start the process recognizing that need immediately, and some, like the author, get closer to the date before it all becomes overwhelming.  Think of us as your trainer.  We’re creating a plan for you to follow to reach your goal – a happy, worry-free wedding day – and we’re there to motivate you when you need that extra push.  We work hard to match you with vendors that fit you – your style, your vision, your budget.  We find ways to combine your dreams with the practicalities of the day that might limit what you can do on your own, like set up times and venue regulations.  We take care of the million little things that you simply don’t have time to do, because real life gets in the way.  We want to take some of the details off of your plate so that you and your mom are able to spend time together on your wedding day without stressing that things are getting done.  We’re a cheerleader, an advocate, and that friend that never, ever gets tired of talking about wedding details.

Curious about what we do and how we do it?  You can read more about our services here or, if you have specific questions, drop us a line or give us a call!  We want every couple to look back on their wedding day with joy – no regrets.

Photo courtesy of Ben Q Photography

Designing Your Wedding: Color, Feeling, Motif

photo source: freeimages.com

photo source: freeimages.com

You’re engaged!  Congratulations!  Now what?  If you’ve just begun the wedding planning process, chances are you’re still sorting through the myriad options available to you for all sorts of details: venue selection, guest lists, vendor selection, budget creation, etc.  Of course you could hire a wonderful wedding planning team like Each & Every Detail to assist you with the whole shebang (wink-wink), but in case you want to tackle the process yourself, we’d like to give you some hints on finding a way to begin.

Choosing a design for your wedding can assist you in all other aspects of planning, and keep a cohesive look to the finished product.  A design helps set a loose (or not-so-loose) boundary for both you and your vendors, which can greatly enhance the speed and efficiency of the planning process.  If you haven’t been the person mentally planning your wedding since you were five years old, creating a wedding design can seem intimidating, so we’ve laid out some of the different approaches you could use to begin, in a three-part series.  Happy designing!

Color

It really can be as easy as picking a color scheme and running with it.  Take yours and your fiance’s favorite colors, throw in an accent color to tie them together, and you’ve got a solid design starting point!  You met in college and are rabid fans of your alma mater?  A tweak of your school colors could make for a lovely party, with the added bonus of being an homage to the place you met.  Fashionistas could take inspiration from the runways, and Frequent Fliers from their favorite places.

Pro Tip: Get a few paint chip cards in your colors to give to your vendors (these are free at most hardware stores).  Color is subjective – especially color names – and handing over a swatch in exactly the shade you want will take a lot of guesswork out of the equation.

Feeling

If the color scheme is less important to you than creating a specific atmosphere, it might be best to instead begin by identify the feeling you want your ceremony and celebration to impart.  Identifying how you want your day to feel can dictate everything from which venue you select to which flowers are chosen for a bouquet.  Watchwords for this could be Romantic and Dream-like, Traditional and Classic, Fun and Funky, Sweet and Sentimental, or a hundred other adjectives.  Words that describe who the two of you are as a couple work well for this approach.

Pro Tip: Try to keep an open mind when using this approach as a design touchstone.  What constitutes “romantic” design for you may not be what your vendor imagines.  Combining this approach with another, like Color or Motif, can help narrow the field.  Also, pictures really are worth a thousand words.

Motif

Is there some design element that’s always spoken to you?  Is your home filled with soft edges and round tables?  Have you always had a lucky horseshoe nailed above a door?  Has the Greek key pattern always reminded you of your heritage?  These small elements can have major design impact for your wedding.  They can easily be represented in your paper goods, your favors, your accessories, and even in your lighting!

Pro Tip: Take an example (or several) of your inspirational motif shopping with you, and to your vendor meetings.  Your vendors will love you.

Check back on September 11th to see how starting with a Theme can help you, too!

We love hearing from you!  How did you design your wedding?  What design elements did you use?  Let us know in the comments!

McKinney Sanctuary Bridal Open House

One of the newest venues in McKinney is hosting their first Bridal Open House!  Please come join us at The Sanctuary on Saturday, September 13th, from 11am – 1pm to check out this beautiful space, as well as meet their preferred vendors (including us).  The Sanctuary is located in the Adriatica Village of Stonebridge Ranch, at 6633 Virginia Parkway.  We hope to see you there!

 

Sanctuary Open House resized