“Did you know, unless you are bananas-rich, you are kind of expected to plan an entire wedding by yourselves? Venue, invitations, colors, flowers, caterers. (For example, Papa John’s requires a two-month lead time for weddings! And they don’t do cakes.) You even have to be sure of things like “will the wedding venue have a sadsack on hand in case one of your wedding guests besmirches the restroom?” It really is that detailed.”
My new favorite word for weddings is now bananas.
Read it all here. (Thanks Lauren!)
So, we now have our wedding venue all booked, and it is just lovely. But, it turns out we are having a Brunch wedding, instead of a evening wedding. I was initially a little apprehensive about this (Would people still have fun? Would they dance? Oh dear), but my fantastic friends have been doing their best to cheer me up. So, I had to post this list of reasons to get excited that my friend Beck sent me. Hats are also off to Kate, who offered to go to brunch with me regularly, as wedding homework.
A Brunch Wedding will be fabulous!
1. Everyone loves mimosas - and it makes your champagne last a bit longer.
2. You can serve more variety in your food, because you have both breakfast and lunch to pull from. Continue reading Getting Excited About Brunch
Apparently, there are maybe one or two people who have given me wedding advice who are convinced that I am off my rocker. There is, they say, no possible way to have a nice wedding in San Francisco and not spend the GNP of a small country to do it (it hasn't seemed to occur to them that I might not have access to a whole GNP, making the point moot, but I digress). Given this, I thought it might be only fair to share my "Oh Dear God you want me to throw you WHAT kind of party on WHAT amount of money?" bona fides.
I spent the last five years of my life working in fundraising for non profit theatres in New York City. Non profit theatres, in case you haven't noticed, are not rich, but they do have a lot of fundraisers. This means I have worked on and attended more galas then any non Upper East Side socialite ever should. Continue reading Wedding Budget Wendsday: Not just naturally cheap, but a professionally thrifty
David's family was in town this weekend and we got a chance to take everyone out to our wedding venue and look around. His mom seemed pleased with our 'summer morning garden wedding.' And suddenly I realized, OHHHH, we're doing a summer garden wedding. Right! This is a done thing! Even though Saturday night formal weddings are all the rage right now, tons of people have done morning garden weddings throughout the ages, so I have a wealth of images to draw on. And then it hit me, everything we really like goes perfectly with this. I don't want a big poofy ballgown dress with a train, David doesn't want a tux, we do want lots of fresh flowers, we want lots of sunlight and cheer, and we don't want to spend a fortune. The gods were smiling on us when they gave us this time slot! It's beshert! Continue reading A Summer Morning Garden Wedding
I think the first and most important thing you should do for a budget wedding is, well, put it on paper. I know that sometimes people are a little scared of budgets, and would rather not look at the money too closely, with the hope that you can just MAKE the money stretch far enough. My event planning experience tells me that doing that is just going to put you way over budget. This is something I want to continue talking about in more depth, but here are some tips stemming from years of working on events that never had enough money:
- Events almost always go over budget, usually by 10%-20%. If you can, plan for this. Depending on your personality either budget 10% below the amount of money you have, or make sure each line item contains 10% wiggle room.
- Wedding budgets provided to you by the wedding industry are way more complicated then you need or can afford for a simple wedding. The budget on The Knot has 38 categories! When you see things on your budget like hair & makeup, seven different flower categories, favors, limos, and pre-wedding pampering, its hard not to start thinking that you need to have all these things. You don't! Simplify, simplify, simplify. Figure out what you care about the most, and then start brutally cutting items off the list. If you have extra money you can always put things back on the list later. And no, you don't necessarily have to cut guests. For us, at least, we'd rather have more people eating chicken (or heck, cookies and punch), then less people eating steak.
- Don't be afraid to say "We can't afford that." The wedding world, in a genius of marketing, has made it really shameful to say that you can't afford something for your 'big day'. The message is: "Don't you want the best day of your lives? Don't you really love each other? Then you need the best!" I'm here to tell you that you absolutely do not need the best. You need good enough. What you DO need is joy and love aplenty. The rest is just icing. So don't be afraid to look people in the eye and say "We can't afford that. What are our options?" Which brings me to my next point:
- Don't be afraid to negotiate with your vendors. Negotiate kindly and respectfully. Remember that you are asking people to bring their prodigious skills and talents to help celebrate a joyful day in your life. But that said, all packages are guidelines, and there is often room to cut corners. I've had these conversations with managers of huge hotel ballrooms, with tiny wine stores, and with photographers. Listen to what your vendors need. Maybe they can charge less if you only have chicken, or if you have your wedding at an off-time, or if you make it an hour shorter, or if you let them use your photographs for promotional use. See if they can meet you halfway. In the end, you probably don't want want to work with a vendor who doesn't have flexibility anyway.
- Keep up your end of the bargain. If you've negotiated a vendors prices down, make sure you earn that discount back karmically. If you were a vendor, would you want to work with a disorganized, needy, demanding client? Would you want to work with said client for less than your normal fee? Um. Right. Keep that in mind.
- Talk to your friends and family. Figure out what their skills and talents are. You don't want to force people to do things for your wedding, but they may have skills that they want to contribute. We are finding that our friends have skills that we never even knew about, and we are thrilled that they are offering to help out. It makes our wedding more of a community celebration.
What other tips to you have? Continue reading Wedding Budget Wendsday: Creating a Line-Item Budget
This from Nicole, who’s planning a wedding that makes me want to hug her (and who’s antique engagement ring is very similar to mine, even!):
-our number one priority should be an amazing and unique reception venue, that no one has been to before, that leaves our guests breathless. if this kind of venue isn’t in our budget, we should cut guests from our list.
-our number one priority should be an incredible photographer, who shoots magazine-worthy photos, and will photograph our wedding in a fully artsy and MoMA-worthy style. if our budget doesn’t support such a photographer, cut guests from the list so that it does.
Girlfriend, I hear you. I’d rather have all our friends and loved ones delicately nibbling peanuts out of the palms of their hands, then have five people with us eating steak at the plaza. But that kind of thinking isn’t going to land me in a wedding magazine, now is it?