Prioritizing Your Wedding Budget
Having over 22 years of experience in the wedding industry, I have several suggestions to help you prioritize your budget and even save you some money on your wedding reception. With over 5000 weddings under our belts as a company since 1987, we have seen it all at weddings and have had the opportunity to work with scores of vendors. These ideas are opinions based on real facts. Feel free to contact us with additional questions and ideas.
First, think about your budget practically. A great portion of your wedding budget is on the reception itself. The U.S. average cost for a typical reception is $17,900. Food, venue and decorations are of the most expensive. But think about that: Is the party, the fun and the memorable time, really affected by the room it is held in? If you and your guests are having an amazing time, does it really matter what room the party is in? If it is a great party, you could move it to an entirely different room and it would still be great!
Second, simplify things. You will be serving your guests dinner. Does the food need to be the complete focus and the most amazing part of your reception, or can it be attractive, presentable, tasty, hot and plentiful? You can serve an amazing meal that nourishes guests and still have a fantastic party. Yet, everyone gets tied up on "the meal". For example, you can have a wedding at the Ritz Carlton Cleveland for $110 per person. While it may be more elegant, will your guests dance more or truly have a better time? Will they be more uptight because of the elegance around them makes them less likely to relax and have fun? What if you had your wedding at a downtown hotel (for half the price of the Ritz Carlton Cleveland,) still fed your guests a tasty meal and had great entertainment to keep them dancing all night long? The end result of your guests being full is the same.
On the extreme side of things, you can go with your locally-run facilities, even some of the ethnic facilities and church halls, that start at $20 per person for food. You could increase your food budget with these caterers by adding variety. Most of these are updated and clean venues. Guests get the same result and will dance the night away, all without having to worry about the glitz and glamour of downtown or downtown driving and parking.
Third, are decorations that important? When the lights dim and the party gets fun, are the decorations going to enhanced that fun at your reception? Think about it -- probably not! What is really important for your wedding day? What vendor will control the flow of all the formalities and events? What vendor will make announcements and help build the atmosphere of fun at your reception? What vendor will set the right mood and ambiance? The answer: your DJ/Emcee. Your DJ/Emcee can make or break your reception. Consider placing more emphasis on the budget for your DJ/Emcee since they are the person who will capture that fantastic time your guests will never forget.
Fourth, what will you have to remember it all? You want someone to capture all the moments of the biggest night of your life. Leave that task to your trained professional photographer and possibly a videographer. It depends on what you can afford and what your budget may be, but really consider how important photography really is. Ten years down the road, what will you have to remember the night of your life. A night that can never be duplicated! What really is your priority? Of course, you’ll examine each item you are budgeting for to decide if it contributes to the priorities you have set.