Notice how I said, “budget wedding” and not “cheap” wedding? This series is about how to get the most out of the budget you have. Also, it gives me a reason to share what I learned during my year of wedding planning and the photos… oh the photos!
Step 1- Come up with a number
Talk to your people and come up with a number that you’re all comfortable with. Read this: find out if anyone is willing to pitch in for your budget wedding. You’re going to have to be flexible here, not all of your estimates/costs are going to work out exactly as you planned in your excel spreadsheet (I know bummer). Amazingly, we actually came out 3k under budget, but we had to make some tough cuts at the end. I am willing to bet that no one who attended my wedding even remembers that we didn’t have a champagne toast. We got a credit card with 0% intro APR for 12 months and no annual fee. We started making payments right away, but this gave us the flexibility we needed and we earned airline miles! You know I love earning airline miles.
Step 2-Make a guest list
Most checklists you will find will have this step somewhere in the middle, but I think it is helpful to know just how many people you might want to invite to inform your decision. This helps you decide if a venue is going to be large enough and/or if you can afford the size of your guest list at a particular venue.
A few venues set pricing based on the number of guests, so it is good to know a rough estimate of how many people you plan to invite. Also, keep in mind not everyone is going to make it. I have read a few different figures that estimate 15-20% of people will not be able to make it. Our regrets rate was more like 32% because we invited A LOT of people from out of state. We were actually pleasantly surprised at how many people made the trip to Arizona….in August. Example: We invited 185 and 126 accepted.
Step 3- Find your venue
This was my favorite step. Just remember, there is no wrong choice. We inquired at about 10-15 venues (i.e. obtained general price range) and visited our top 5 choices. We had limited options because we wanted 100% indoor space (again, we got married in August in Arizona).
Step 4- Get organized
I suggest making a wedding specific email address and use that to communicate with all of your vendors. You and your fiance can both add the account to your phones and both of your will have access to all of your e-mails.