4 Tips to Help Manage Your Reception Costs

piggy bank with money - manage wedding reception costs

We all know that weddings cost a lot of money. The best advice we offer brides and grooms on budgets is “Spend where you need to, save where you can.”

Receptions tend to be the biggest ticket item of the entire wedding budget, and major savings can be realized through some minor adjustments.

There are many wonderful and practical ways to save money without crushing your wedding dreams and vision. Done in the right places, these money saving ideas will take nothing away from the wedding you are dreaming of.

Consider these!

    1. Find a location that requires very little decoration. If you do want to add a little something extra to the decor, create one large decorative element. Not only is it dramatic, but it’s also more budget friendly than a dozen or so smaller elements scattered about the room.
    2. When planning your decor, always imagine the way your guests will be looking at it. What do they typically look at/see? Three main things – 1) The tablescape in front of them, 2) where the bride/groom are sitting, and 3) the cake table. Don’t spend money on decor items that won’t enhance the overall effect. Except for the head/sweetheart table and cake table, which are seen from the front, don’t worry about decorating the skirting of any other tables. For the rest, think tabletop and up!
    3. 11 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding That Actually Work

    4. People tend to take less food if it is passed by the wait staff than if it is placed on a buffet table. The good news is that less food can be ordered, but your guests will still feel pampered.
    5. If you are having a sit down dinner, instead of ordering one high end entree consider half portions of two main entree items. For example ordering half portions each of prime rib and chicken breast, you may be able to bring down the cost per plate while still offering guests a wonderful selection.

    Hearts, Joy, Love!
    Jean

    Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

    Looking for unique wedding ideas that won’t break the bank?Weddings From The Heart can help. Contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

    Photo credit: rich piggy cc

3 Ways to Manage Your Wedding Budget and Cut Costs

wedding budget money

You do have a wedding budget established don’t you?

If not – stop right now and seriously work on it.

Establishing a wedding budget and sticking to it will help you organize, produce and deliver a wedding that is beautiful and yours. On the offside chance that you’ve gone over that budget in some area(s) here are some tips from experts on places to trim those costs.

  1. The guest list. The number of people you invite to your wedding will contribute to a major component of expense – the cost per guest measure. It is reflected in the cost of food, beverages, invitations, reception site and postage. One way to control those costs is to carefully watch the number of “plus ones” you allow. The basic rule is a simple one: If couples aren’t married or in a serious, long-term relationship, “plus ones” are optional invitees for the bride and groom. The same rule should apply to your wedding party and their potential “plus ones.”
  2. Feeding the band. If your dream is to have a band play for your wedding dance in place of recorded music, one place you can save some green is in what to feed the band. Yes, it’s likely that the band members be counting on grabbing a bite to eat before they play or something nourishing between sets – or both. But you don’t need to offer them the same sit down dinner you are serving your guests. Ask your caterer to provide a less expensive (and easier to handle) alternative.

    45+ Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding

  3. There is no rule that says you need to have an open bar for guests at your reception. In fact, you can serve only beer, wine and punch or other non alcoholic beverage at your cocktails before dinner. Some couples have a signature cocktail as an additional surprise for guests, but no open bar will save you big bucks. Remember that it is your reception and if you don’t want alcohol served, that’s fine. You get to decide what you’ll serve. Most experts will agree that having a cash bar is a definite no-no. Guests are guests. That means that they don’t have to pay.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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To see how Weddings From The Heart can make your wedding day stress-free, enjoyable, and just the way you want, contact me at 937-235-2586, 937-581-3647, or jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net and schedule your free, initial appointment!

photo credit: MoneyBlogNewz via photopin

Top 10 Most Commonly Forgotten Wedding Items to Budget For

wedding budget items

Creating a wedding budget can be a daunting task – you’ve got to allocate funds for so many things, including flowers, music, your dress . . .

But there are several other items that have to be paid for. While they’re not really “hidden” costs, they can be easily overlooked until it’s time that you really need it.

The following are the most common items that all couples will have, but usually forget to include in their wedding budget.

Alterations
Your wedding gown will require some type of alterations, whether it’s a hem, a little nip at the waist, or adding straps to a strapless gown. Depending on how much is needed, this can easily cost you several hundred dollars.

Undergarments/Accessories
What goes underneath is (almost) as important the gown. Besides that beautiful dress, you’ll be wearing a veil, shoes, undergarments, shapewear, and jewelry.

Marriage License
Don’t forget to make it legal! Marriage licenses typically cost between $20 and $100, depending on where you’re getting married (see your state’s and county’s guidelines).

Postage
Make sure you carefully weigh your invitations with all of the enclosures. You won’t want them coming back to you with postage due (or end up putting on too much postage ans wasting money). Also keep in mind that square or over-sized invitations will require extra postage regardless of how much they weigh. You’ll also need stamps for your save-the-dates, RSVP cards, and thank-you notes.

Wedding Day Meals
You’ve got a fabulous dinner picked out. Don’t forget you and your bridal party have to eat the rest of the day too. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Bagels and a fruit tray is perfect for breakfast, and a platter of sandwiches makes a great lunch.

Meals for your Vendors
Your vendors will be easily with you on your wedding day for 8 -12 hours, and unlike other jobs, we cannot leave to take a lunch break. We need to re-fuel so to speak, so we can be able to give you our best. Your vendors (photographer, videographer, coordinator, dj or band members) don’t have to be fed the same meal that you are providing for your guests. Most caterers offer vendor meals.

Counting Yourselves in the Final Head Count
When you’re counting up those “Yes” RSVPs, it’s too easy for forget to count yourselves (or your parents if they are issuing the invitations). You’re gonna want to eat too, so remember to add yourselves to the final head count.

Sales Tax/Service Charges
When you’re looking at that catering menu, the listed prices do not include the service charges or sales taxes. Service charges can vary anywhere from 18% to 22% of your catering bill, which can be a quite significant “extra” if it wasn’t figured into the budget in the first place.

Day-of Coordinator
So many times brides don’t hire a day-of coordinator because they didn’t include one in their budget, but after the wedding day they wish they would have had someone there to take care of all the little details for them.

Your wedding day should be the one day where you, your fiancé, your mom, and your BFFs (eg. your bridesmaids) should only have to think about enjoying yourselves, and NOT on worrying about if deliveries have been made, and things are set up the right way, and the everything flows smoothly.

Overtime
When your reception is in full party mode and you want to go over the scheduled end time, or if you got a late start and are running behind) overtime charges will incur. Remember this goes not only for your venue, but for your photographer, videographer, dj/band, and day-of coordinator. Not only will they require overtime fees, these fees will most likely need to be paid that night.

Add a Miscellaneous category to your budget and allocate 10% of your wedding funds to it. You can use these funds for any forgotten items or last minute must-haves.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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Need help with developing your budget or other wedding planning assistance?Contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Photo credit: sinksanctity via photopin cc

20 Easy Ways to Cut Your Wedding Budget Without Cutting Back On Style (#11 – 20)

Are you looking for ways to cut your wedding budget without sacrificing your wedding vision and style? Check out 11 – 20 of these 20 easy tips.

11) Use Non-Floral Elements in Your Decor

non-floral wedding centerpiece elements

Non-floral items such as pinecones, twigs, berries and feathers are inexpensive ways to enhance your bouquets and other floral arrangements. Christmas bulbs, paper or fabric flowers, crystals, and seashells add inexpensive, but fun touches.

Bowls and vases filled with brightly colored seasonal fruits are fun and festive, but less costly than floral arrangements. For an Autumn wedding, try bowls of acorns or fall leaves.

12) Order Additional Cakes
Instead of having your wedding cake large enough to serve all of your guests, order one smaller display cake for pictures and your cake-cutting ceremony, and have extra cakes out of sight in the kitchen. You will save money since the ‘kitchen cakes’ aren’t as elaborately decorated. And once they’re all cut and plated, no one will be able to tell the difference.

11 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding That Actually Work

13) Have a Signature Cocktail
If you want to serve something more than just wine and beer, why not try a signature drink. You can choose a favorite cocktail, or try one that coordinates with your wedding theme – Pina Coladas for a tropical themed wedding or a Gin Gimlet for a Great Gatsby theme.

14) Shop Around for Your Bubbly
Champagne is a sparkling wine produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France. It’s a festive way to celebrate, but can get pricy. Check out this list of several sparkling wines that taste just as wonderfully, and cost less than $20 per bottle.

15) Beg, Borrow, (Don’t Steal!)

borrow wedding keepsakes

Special keepsakes such as a cake knife/server or toasting glasses are a nice touch, but in reality, after the wedding day most couples just end up putting these items in the attic. They never see the light of day again. Save some cash by borrowing your keepsakes and accessories from family and friends. You’ll also be getting your “something borrowed.” By the way, this little cutie was the same cake topper the bride’s parents had on their wedding cake!)

16) Keep Your Bridal Party Small
Keep the number of your attendants to a minimum. The fewer the people, the fewer attendants’ gifts, bouquets and boutonnieres you will need to buy.

17) Have Your Centerpieces Do Double-Duty

wedding centerpieces do double-duty

Think about using an alternative to traditional flower centerpieces. Your wedding favors grouped together in a pretty bowl, or individual tiers of wedding cake on a cake pedestal make pretty centerpiece presentations.

18) Downgrade the Fancy Ride
Limousines definitely look elegant, but you’re only going to be in for a short time. You can save money by getting a town car instead of a 6-passenger limo for the bride and groom’s getaway at the end of the evening.

Or rent a premium or luxury vehicle from a car rental company such as Avis or Hertz – you can have it for the whole weekend for a cost comparable to a renting a limo for just a few hours.

19) DJ vs. Live Musicians
Simply put, DJs typically cost less than a live band.

20) More Music Money Saving Tips
For a ceremony and reception that are at the same location, consider hiring a DJ provide music for both. However, if you prefer live ceremony music, choose a smaller combo such as a guitar/violin duo or string trio instead of a quartet, then have them provide the music for the cocktail hour. On the other hand, if you want a live band for your reception, hire only the keyboardist for the cocktail hour.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

For more money saving tips and planning ideas contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Photo Credit: Use Non-Floral Elements: Washington DC centerpiece openField photography

20 Easy Ways to Cut Your Wedding Budget Without Cutting Back On Style (#1 – 10)

Are you looking for ways to cut your wedding budget without sacrificing your wedding vision and style? Check out 1 – 10 of these 20 easy tips.

1) Choose Flowers That Are In Season

wedding flowers that are in season

Many popular and beautiful flowers are available year round. However, there are some — peonies and lilies of the valley, for example – that have a limited bloom season, and quite expensive out of season. So choose flowers that are in season.

Also consider using flowers with a similar look. Cabbage roses resemble the pricier peonies and are available year round. Other year-round flowers include: Carnations, Baby’s Breath, Sunflowers, Asiatic Lilies, Dendrobium Orchids and Spray Roses.

2) Put a Limit on the Alcohol Choices
You can save money by serving just wine and beer, instead of having a full open bar. Your guests will be happy and so will your wallet.

If your reception site allows you to bring in your own alcohol, purchase wine by the case as many places offer a case discount. You’ll pay your caterer a corkage fee to pour it, but wine purchased through him can cost twice as much. Most merchants offer a 10 percent discount for buying wine by the case.

3) Let Mother Nature Do Your Decorating

Let mother nature do your wedding decorating

Choose a naturally gorgeous site and save on decor – such as the well-manicured lawns of a country club, or beautiful gardens for outdoors, and an art gallery or historic home for indoors.

4) Have Your Flowers Do Double-Duty
Your ceremony floral arrangements can be re-used at your reception. Pew décor can dress up a seating card or favor table. Bridesmaids’ bouquets look pretty on the cake table. An altar arrangement is perfect sitting in front of the head table.

5) Offer Champagne for Just the Toasts
Only serve a glass to each guest for the toasts. Or just provide Champagne for the head table and parents only. The rest of your guests can toast with whatever they are drinking. Make sure you also offer some sparkling grape juice for the under-21 crowd.

6) Have Your Wedding Earlier in the Day
Breakfasts, brunches, and afternoon teas are delicious and fun, and they usually cost less than evening receptions. The menu usually consists of lighter fare which doesn’t cost as much as a typical reception dinner. Also, they don’t usually last as long as an evening event, so you may save some money on your venue; and people typically don’t drink as much alcohol earlier in the day, so the bar tab will be less.

3 Money Saving Tips Without Sacrificing Style for Your Wedding

7) Cake and Punch
A cake and punch reception can be quite inexpensive. This style of reception usually takes place in the late morning or afternoon, and is simple and elegant. You can change it up by serving several cake flavors and designs, and serve a festive punch. Here’s one of my favorites (which I found at Razzle Dazzle Recipes).

cake and punch reception

8) Avoid Costly Entree Choices
Instead of serving pricier entrees or cuts of meat for dinner, incorporate them into your hors d’oeuvres. You may love lobster, but it will be pricy to serve lobster tail to all of your guests. Instead, serve lobster puffs during your cocktail hour.

9) Have Your Cake and Eat It Too
Serve your wedding cake as dessert instead of ordering a wedding cake AND serving a separate dessert.

10) Simplify Your Wedding Cake
The biggest cost of a wedding cake is in the labor – so choose a less elaborate design. Use less costly embellishments such as ribbon or fresh flowers.

Tomorrow we’ll conclude with Tips 11-20.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

For more money saving tips and planning ideas contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Photo Credit: (Choose Flowers That Are In Season: Bridesmaids’ Bouquets) Brian James Photography

Jean’s Top 10 Tips for Planning Your Wedding – Part 4

Wedding Planning Tips: Tip #4 – Budget

wedding planning tips budget

4. Set a workable budget

Stay away from budgets that are little more than an “expense report.” I’m sure you’ve seen the kind — you to enter your “estimated” budget and your “actual amount spent.” This is really nothing more than a tally of receipts instead of a true budget.

With no – or an incorrect type of – budget, it will be too easy for your wedding expenses to get out of hand and you end up paying more that what you wanted to, or what you could afford.

Jean’s Top 10 Tips for Planning Your Wedding – Part 1

Before you make any purchases or put down any deposits determine a feasible budget. Start out with knowing how much you’ll have to spend on your entire wedding. This can include money you and your fiancé can comfortable take from savings, how much you’ll be setting aside from your paychecks, as well as money that either your parents or his parents (or anyone else) may contribute.

Once you’ve got this dollar amount, divide it up by percentages based on national average. (Example, the reception is typically 33%-50% of the total budget, transportation 2%, invitations/wedding stationery 4% . . .). This will be your starting point.

Jean’s Top 10 Tips for Planning Your Wedding – Part 7

Next, grab your priorities list (remember Tip #2?) and determine where to make adjustments.

Maybe having lots of gorgeous flowers at the top of your list, but special transportation at the bottom. Then move the amount you’ve have allocated for transportation up to your floral category. Or perhaps you’ve been dreaming about hiring a great band, but although you want the food to be good, it doesn’t have to be too fancy. Then shave off a bit from your reception category and add it to entertainment.

This will help you to know where to splurge and where to save. Spend your money on what’s important to you and cut backless on what’s not so important. Then if you come in under budget in a category you can reallocate the difference elsewhere, and if you go over budget it will be by choice, not by accident.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

For more wedding planning tips and ideas contact me at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!