Posts in the 'Liz' Category

Let Your Wedding Crew Choose. Follow and Get Out of the Way.

Rosales_LeClair_Powell_Pictures_DSC0963_low

Credit: Powell Pictures

So, I’ve been checking in with my 2015 couples a lot this week. March’s backyard wedding was relocated to another backyard. May wants a photo booth.  I’m looking at venues with July #2 this weekend. June #1 is in way better shape than she thinks she is. And, actually, so are you. Remember that the next time you start to wonder.

What’s been interesting is that each of them asked about managing their wedding party. And managing their families. Or, rather, managing their wedding party and families’ questions and expectations.

There are just so many of them, you know? Wedding party and family members. And questions.

When is the bridal shower, where is the bachelorette party? Should all 10 of your family members wear the same color as your bridesmaids and/or groomsmen? When should everyone, or anyone, fly in for the wedding? And on and on.

Should you let them choose, or just tell them what to do?

Well, yeah, definitely one or the other.

But here’s the thing: It’s up to you, what they get to choose, and what you want to  dictate. And it doesn’t always have to be one or the other. Most of the time, wedding-wise, people want (cough, cough, NEED) direction. But if it’s something that’s not a big priority for you, it’s okay to let them make the choice .

But let them know one way or the other.  And if the answer is, “This is what we’re doing,” remember to smile and say “Thank you.” And if it’s “Whatever you want to do,” give them a deadline to let you know, well, what they’re going to do. Every choice needs to come with a deadline. Every mandate needs to come with gratitude and a smile. Got it? Now go forth and plan …

What’s the last detail your wedding crew has thrown back to you? And which way did you decide to go. Let me know in the comments below! And if you’d like to learn a little bit more about me and my part of Wedding World, visit www.silvercharmevents.com.

 

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz

Five Good Wedding Planning Habits You Should Probably Start Now

Five Good Wedding Planning Habits That You  Should Probably Start Now

I believe that it’s not enough to simply survive planning your wedding, you should thrive and feel like a Boss while you’re doing it.  Here are five wedding planning habits to start practicing now that will help.

Let’s start with the money, first:

1.Multiplication. Avoid sticker shock that every couple goes through, and  remember that you are buying in bulk. For example, Chiavari chairs  for  $10 each? Multiply by 100 = $1o00. $2000 if you’re getting another set for the reception.

2.Ask about the other STDs – Service, Tax and Delivery. Always. Everyone who is delivering a product – your photographer, your photo booth, your cake – is going to charge tax, plus a delivery or travel fee. Your venue and your caterer will charge tax, plus a service fee. Here in Los Angeles, that’s usually adds up to  30% of the bill, on top of the bill, turning your $85 per person dinner into $110.50 per person. Multiply that by 100 …

3. Your last question to any potential vendor needs to be, “Is there anything else I need to know?” There are many unknown unknowns in wedding planning – the stuff that you don’t know that you don’t know, or need to know.  Asking this question will give the opportunity for your vendor to go over anything they might have missed in their spiel, but are mentioned in the contract, or cover concerns other couples should have had. Things like, late fees, open fire permits, parking, vendor meals. That question might lead to more questions, but there are never too many questions. Or answers, for that matter.

And then there’s the mindset:

4. Treat this like any other shopping trip. This past weekend, I walked through Bloomingdales – like an idiot – to get to the rest of the mall, and I was stopped dead by an ankle length full-sweeping silk skirt. If you follow me on Pinterest, you know that’s My Style. $598? No. I took a picture of it so I can maybe find it cheaper online, and then skipped over to Banana Republic and bought another ankle-length sweeping skirt for $75. My point is, that with every vendor, every service, you have alternatives. The last thing you look at is not the only option you have. It’s not only being able to afford it, maybe you just don’t like it. As an ex-bride of mine once said to the hovering bridal salon sales lady, “I know I look good in it, I just don’t feel good in it!” Feel good in it, feel good about it, whatever it is. If you don’t, move on.

5. Keep reminding yourself that you are not a victim of your wedding.  This wedding isn’t something that’s happening to you, you’re not being forced to pay $110 per person for dinner on a Saturday night. If you start thinking otherwise, or continue thinking that way, you are going to be very, very unhappy through this whole thing.  Throwing a wedding is a choice that you are making. That can be frustrating, or it can be empowering: You get to choose how you’re going to do it, what your wedding is  going to look like, or if you’re going to do it all. You get to say “Yes,” and you also get to say, “No,” and your reasons for doing either are perfectly valid, okay? So, stay empowered and don’t confuse “want to” with “have to.”

You’ve got this.

What are some habits that you’re already starting with your wedding planning? And what do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments below. And if you would like more information about me and my little area of Wedding World, visit www.silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz

Best of 2014: The High Cost of Wedding Fear

Former BAB advice columnist / current wedding planner extraordinaire Liz Coopersmith, of Silver Charm Events, stopped by to give you guys a boost this week! Guys, there’s no reason to feel fear about or shame toward your wedding. Really, honestly and truly. It should be a very happy time in your life, because hey! You’re in love! And you’re getting married! And yes, there’s a lot of bullsh that can surround a wedding day, but don’t let that get you down. Liz explains why:

steve and bridget

From Bridget & Steve’s Intimate, Beautiful Palm Springs Wedding. Credit: EPLove

I talk to a lot of brides every week, as you can imagine. I’ve watched a lot of you exhibit two very disturbing emotions when it comes to your weddings: Fear and Shame.

It’s in the way it takes me at least a couple of tries to find out how much your budget is.

Or, in the reverse, getting upset that you’re spending so much of your/your parents/whomever’s money on one day, when you could use it on a downpayment on a house, instead.

Or, the sideways look you and your fiance give each other when I ask how you met.

Or, when you tell me how much certain family members need to be kept away from each other, or, kept away from you. And then follow up, five minutes later, by saying it’s not that bad … but seriously, everyone has to be on opposite sides of the room.

Or, how you keep giving in to what your parents or your friends want you to do, instead of standing up for what you want. Are you being a doormat?

Or, not giving into what your parents/friends want you to do, and standing up for what you want. Are you turning into a Bridezilla??

You can’t win, because you won’t let yourself win. You’re ashamed of where you are, so you won’t allow yourself to be happy with what you have, whatever that is right now.

Researcher Brene Brown defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.” Shame is built out of the fear that you won’t be understood. And I’ve noticed that a big reason that people don’t feel worthy of acceptance and belonging is that they don’t really think that they can ever get what they want. Not really.

I understand – there is a lot of pressure to make your wedding the best and most perfect and most beautiful day of your life. And (GASP!) there are not supposed to be any limits – financial, personal, logistical – on the best day of your life! That’s what makes it such a great day, right? Poor people don’t have beautiful and perfect days, only people with unlimited budgets do. You can’t have a beautiful and perfect day if your families are always at each other’s throats, only people with close, well-behaved relatives can. Do you deserve to live happily ever after if you met online and not through a Random Act of Fate? What will happen if you tell the truth? You want to impress your family and friends, and most of all, you want to impress yourself. It is a lot of pressure, and completely unrealistic.

The cost of wedding fear is that it focuses on what you don’t have, and on hiding what’s not there. It’s a waste of time. Plus, it makes you feel like crap.

So, what’s the cure?

1. Be honest, with yourself and with anyone else you’re dealing with, wedding-wise. Just … be honest. The more you try to hide what you’re afraid of, the more control you give it. And, eventually, it’s going to have to come out. Are you worried about being judged and rejected by potential vendors … who don’t know you? It’s business, not personal. If they can’t work with you, for whatever reason, then you can’t work with them. If they are going to be mean or snooty about it, then you really don’t want to work with them, right? Which brings me to …

2. Don’t go in looking for a fight; don’t walk into the room expecting resistance. What you look for, you will find. I’ve met with many brides who will, in one sentence, tell me they have a limited amount of money, and then tell me that’s not enough for them to have the wedding they want, and then ask me, “You can’t work with that, can you?” This is before I’ve even opened my mouth to reply. I get it – you’re rejecting yourself before I get a chance to do it, but don’t assume. Same thing with your family and friends. Tell them what you need and what you want, and then see what happens. Don’t be defensive, just have a conversation.

3. Remember that you are not alone. Not even close to being alone. If you’re facing a wedding planning problem, there are tons of other couples facing the same thing. Find them online and and seek empathy and sympathy. And solutions, too.

4. Some things will not change, but they can be worked around. If your parents couldn’t be in the same room with each other before you started planning your wedding, odds are then they won’t be able to on your wedding day. You’ve been managing your family for years, and you know how to deal with them — or not deal with them — so they don’t drive you insane. Keep doing that. The historic house you love is not going to drop their rental rate by a couple thousand dollars on a Saturday night. You are probably not going to win the lottery before then, either. Accept it. You might not have Ivanka Trump’s budget, but you’re not so broke that you can’t have a beautiful wedding day, and the love surrounding you will be free (Aww!). It is what it is. If you can’t afford Saturday night, what about Friday or Sunday? Less guests? What about a cocktail or dessert reception? Figure out what you feel comfortable with and go from there.

5. Use what you have to get what you want and need. You think you don’t have anything, or not nearly enough? You’re so wrong. If you have access to the Internet, you can find a local bridal show and see what’s possible. If you’ve picked your venue, you can ask for photographer and florist recommendations. Don’t know how to do something? Google it. If anything, you have too many choices. Keep looking until you find the best option for you.

6. Be grateful for what you do have. A fiance who loves you, and who you want to spend the rest of your life with, no matter how you met them, or what type of reputation either of you had during the Bush administration. Friends and family that are happy and eager to help, even if they won’t back off (they mean well, I swear). One day to celebrate that with all your favorite people in the world. Pollyannish? Sure. True? Totally.

7. Don’t twist yourself into knots. Many a bride has overextended her budget, her patience, and her good will trying to overcompensate for a perceived lack of … whatever. Pull the brakes anytime you hear yourself saying, “I don’t want them to think … ” or “I know it’s still not going to work, but … ” Full stop. Turn around. Find an option that doesn’t make you hyperventilate. Ask for help if you need it. Take help when it’s offered.

8. Finally, give yourself some credit. You’re sitting there thinking, “HowamIgoingtodothishowamIgoingtodo thisHOWAMIGOINGTODOTHIS?”Look around! You are doing it, the way everyone does it: One step at a time.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith

Liz

Wedding Time: The Big To-Do, Part II

EPLove

 Photo: EPLove

Last week I said that while you’re planning your wedding — like, the actual planning and choosing and deciding — you shouldn’t focus on when you’re making those decisions or feel pressured to stay on track and not fall behind, whatever that means. You have a list of checkboxes, take them on by one until they’re X’ed out. Timing is not the biggest factor.

Well, not yet.

Your wedding day on the other hand …

It’s all the contracts. How many hours you have your photographer for. How long hair and makeup has to take. When you can set up your ceremony and reception. When you have to shut the doors behind you. There are so many things that have to fit into so many time frames, within time frames. Manage it by managing your expectations:

Swifter, higher, faster? It’s a Wedding dress, not a cape.

Nothing is going to take less time to do. You will not be capable of doing more in that time than you would normally be able to. So, if hair and makeup takes three hours, make sure you have the three hours, even if it means starting earlier. If your photographer needs an hour for first look and wedding party pictures, give it to her.

Create it in order to save it

The easiest way to stay on schedule is to buffer it — Hair and makeup starts at 9, make sure everyone shows up early and ready to go. Take an hour after hair and makeup, or after the last “event” that morning, for everyone to get their stuff before you jump into the limo. If you have two hours to set up your reception, be there before the doors open, prepared and ready to use all of that time. Tell your wedding party to meet at point B 20 minutes before your ceremony. Announce last call 15 minutes before the bar is gong to close. Twirl away the last dance an hour before you have to have everything out of the venue. Lots of people — and there are always a lot of people involved, one way or another — need lots of time.

Making up for lost time

It happens. There are so many moving parts to the day, and so many distractions (most of them fun) that sometimes you fall behind. 8:45pm, photography ends at 9pm, and you haven’t done toasts – yet. Or the cake hasn’t been cut or your bouquet tossed.  Or the music has to stop and you haven’t danced with your Dad – yet.

Jump on it, and get it done, quickest to longest. Cake cutting takes five minutes. And you never have to dance to the entire song. Tell anyone who’s toasting to keep it short and tell them why. And ask your vendors for help and suggestions, okay? That’s what we’re there for.

Do you have any questions about saving time on your wedding day? Let me know in the comments below!

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz

Wedding Time, Part One: The Big To-Do

Wedding Time, Part 1 The Big To-Do

Photo: Persimmon Images 

It’s not always the first meeting. Sometimes it’s the second meeting where it comes up:

“The wedding timeline I found online says that I should have started planning this seven months ago. I’m supposed to have my engagement photos and my lingerie by now!”

Or something to that effect.

Basically, whatever  you’ve done so far, whenever you are, the clock on the wall and the page on the screen is telling you that you’re already behind.  And the clock is still ticking …

Guess what? You are not behind. You are not late. You are fine where you are.

Change the way  you look at it, and the way you look at it will change: Focus on the checklist, not the countdown. These timelines are pretty good about the order of what you should do (pick a date, find a venue, find a caterer, etc.), so stick with that. But it’a all about managing the (admittedly long) checklist. You can borrow my Rule of Threes, if you want.

The Rule of Threes:

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but for every wedding checkbox, there are a ton of choices, and a ton of choices that depend on other choices. In order to narrow it down, and, well, be flexible at the same time, I give my couples three options for each one. So, instead of picking one date that will work, pick three. That way, if you find the perfect venue, you’re not stuck with an unavailable date. Three wedding venues that will work with your style and budget, before you schedule your appointment, so, you’re not as disappointed if the first one won’t fly. Three caterers, three photographers, three dress shops. One at a time for a little less stress. Decide who you want to meet, and then decide who you want to hire.

But won’t that take a lot of time? Truthfully, once you knock one thing off the list, you can use it to find another thing. Venues will have a list of vendors that they recommend, for example. Photographers can recommend videographers and photo booths. If a DJ on your list isn’t available on your date, he or she can refer you to someone who is. Use what you have to get what you want.

Where Time Will Come Into Play

So, you are going to have to manage your expectations a little. You will not always be able to reach or hear back from your prospects right away; it might take a couple of emails and calls. Do both. Try to avoid contacting them over the weekend, because that’s when we all work. Most hotel and venue managers take Mondays off. And, again, figure out at least three days and times when you’re available before you schedule appointments. If you’re meeting face-to-face, expect it to take at least an hour, plus travel time.

There’s one wedding checkbox where timing does come into play: your dress. If you don’t buy off the rack, ordering your dress can take 4-6 months. You can have it rush ordered, but you know … rush fees. Be aware, and don’t be afraid to ask.

It’s the checklist, not the countdown. You’ve got this.

In Part Two, we’ll talk about time management on your Wedding Day, where, ironically, it’s the countdown and not the checklist. Sorry about that.

So, where in  your checklist are you feeling the pressure right now? Let’s figure it out in the comments below. And if you would like to learn more about my little part of Wedding World, visit me at www.silvercharmevents.com

See you at the end of the aisle,

 

 

 

 

Liz

The Holidays vs. Your Wedding

The Holidays vs. Your Wedding

Two weeks before Thanksgiving, I found out that the current number of Mrs. Coopersmiths would soon be increased by one  – my husband’s little brother got engaged. Yay! But then I looked at the calendar again and frowned. Two weeks before Thanksgiving. Seven weeks before New Years.

Here we go.

The best part of the Holiday season is the number of chances you’ll have to spend time with your  family and friends. And  if you ever lacked attention from any of them, you are definitely going to get it now that you’re engaged:

“Oh my God, congratulations! When are you getting married??”

“You got engaged last Saturday? Did you find a dress, yet?”

“How many guests are you having?”

“My wedding was so stressful. If I had to do it all over again, I’d elope.”

“What are your colors? Do you have a Pinterest board?”

“Where are you getting married? All the good places book up fast, so you need to start looking now.”

Umm ...

Don’t get me wrong, everyone is really happy and excited for you, and you need to remember that once you start contemplating murder. But, all of a sudden, they’re heavily invested in your wedding day, offering a stream of unsolicited advice, unsolicited opinions and a ton of questions that you don’t have any response to right now.  You’re still startled every time your new shiny new ring slides into your peripheral vision, now you’re feeling insecure about how you’re going to pull this all off, anyway, especially since  all the questions make it obvious that you don’t know what you’re doing, right?  Weddings cost how much? And how do you start looking for a wedding venue that’s not even going to be available when you find it?

Get it done and why haven’t you found it and what are you waiting for and NOW. And there’s that pressure even if you’ve been planning for a while, too.  That one question that will be asked over and over — “How’s the wedding going?” — can be a killer. Well, how is it going?, you ask yourself, thinking about the open checklist boxes, the invitations you’re still trying to choose, the bridesmaid dresses that came in the wrong color, the DJ you haven’t booked … yet. Not so great, you’re thinking as you reply while smiling bravely, “We’re working on it.”

Another deep breath. The season of peace, love and joy starts with you, so give yourself a break, first of all! You don’t have to know all the answers right now, you don’t have to accomplish all the things before your Mom’s annual Yuletide bash.  What you do need to do is give yourself credit for everything you’ve already done, even if that’s just finding the person you wanna hang out with for the rest of your life. Enjoy it. Bask, even. When you’re asked about the wheres and the whens and the whys? Shake your head, smile, and repeat after me, “We haven’t decided any of that, we’re going to talk about it next month.” Full stop.  And if you’re not so new and a wedding check-up is requested, list everything you’ve already finished (because you are a Rock Star), and the one (choose ONE) thing you want to check off before the end of the year. If they ask about anything else, shrug and repeat after me, “Yeah, we’ll get that done after the holidays.” Because you will.

So, how are the holidays going so far? Any crazy questions or unreasonable expectations from your nearest and dearest? Let me know in the comments below! And if you’d like to find out more about me and my little part of Wedding World, visit www.silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

 

 

 

Liz

BAB Throwback: Ask Liz – Jumpstarting Your Wedding & A Few Words About Bridal Shower Etiquette

 With BAB taking the holiday off, save for an EPIC Ten for the Weekend full of Black Friday deals and other goodies — GUYS: Pay attention, because you will find out where to get rad deals on twinkle lights, OK? — it seemed like a good time to take a trip back. This classic Liz post takes on etiquette in regards to bridal shower guest lists and gives the super basic rundown of how to even begin to tackle this whole wedding planning thing.

Beau-Coup Gold and Glitter Decor Kit

Dear Liz,

My brother is getting married in May and his bride-to-be has asked for my help with planning the wedding. We will have to travel about four hours to where it is taking place. There will more than likely be 50 (or less) guests in attendance, which is what they want. She doesn’t feel terrible about leaving a lot of people out on her special day especially since she knows a lot of them wouldn’t want to make the trip. I was just wondering is it acceptable to invite uninvited guests to a huge bridal shower in her honor??

Signed,

Shower Struggle

Dear Struggle,

Yeah … no. You really can’t invite people to the shower who haven’t been invited to the wedding. Showers = gifts and money. So basically you’re telling them that even though they weren’t important enough to watch her get married, they can still travel X amount of hours to give her a blender. Plus, you’ll be positioning your future sister-in-law – publicly — as “the woman that didn’t invite them to her wedding.” At some point, to someone, she will have to explain why, and probably have to do so over and over again.  Trust me, someone will mention it or ask for details. Awkward. Awkward, awkward.  If you are worried about a low turnout, invite the guys, too.

Dear Liz,

I just got engaged! Is there some type of simple check list, for starting to plan a wedding? Like…

1- Budget

2 – Guest list

3 – Dress??

I’m so overwhelmed by the whole process!

Signed,

In the Deep End

Dear Deep,

Welcome to Wedding World! First of all, bonus points for putting your dress third. That sort of practical thinking will get you far around here. Start with your guest list — his list, your list, and your parents’ lists. And, yeah, if your budget is a consideration, figure that out while you’re getting your guests together. You should reserve half of your budget for your ceremony and reception site, and your catering. A little perspective – a comparable wedding dinner at Olive Garden for 100 guests would be around $5,000. Those are also the first three things you need to pay for. Once you got that done, I give you permission to start shopping for your dress. You should probably book a photographer first, but there’s no reason to be a saint. Have fun!

Who did you invite to your bridal shower? How long did you resist shopping for your dress? Just engaged, and got questions? Let me know below! And, you can find out more about me and my slice of Wedding World at silvercharmevents.com.

Got a question for Liz? Go to the Contact page and let us know what’s up!

 

See you at the end of the aisle,

Weeding out Your Wedding Nightmares

There is one wedding-related recurring nightmare that I hear about over and over and over. Yes, more than the one where you look awful, despite hours of hair and make-up. Yes, more often than your groom/bride not showing up. Or the one the one where you can’t show up because you’ve locked your keys in your car. Somewhere in Siberia, which is  even worse because you’re afraid of bears … like the one staring at you over the hood of your locked car.  Okay, fine, that was just one bride.

Hey Nearlywed That Wedding Nightmare It's Probably Not Going To Happen

Nope.

The most often recurring wedding nightmare I hear about is where none of your guests are having a good time. Over and over and over. They’re going to hate the food, they’re not going to dance, they’re not going to talk, they’re going to ignore the candy buffett/photo booth/chocolate fountain, and stand around and stare at each other, and at you, with deep regret and condemnation.  You wake up in a cold sweat (again) at 4:00 a.m. One thought goes through your head: It’s going to be the worst wedding ever.  All the hard work, all your vision, for naught. YOU. WILL. FAIL.

Instead of anticipating the day, you’re stuck future-tripping over, dreading all the horrible things that could occur.

#REALTALK

This is 10 years of wedding planning experience talking to you right now: Things might go entirely according to plan, or just go wrong, this is true. But all of your guests having a bad time at your wedding? With the one or two exceptions that you can name — because you know how they are —  It’s not going to happen.

(yes, it will, you’re thinking at me)

No, it won’t. Why? Because you have gathered your favorite people, some of whom you haven’t seen for years, in one room. As much as you’re looking forward to seeing them, they are looking forward to seeing you, and seeing each other. And that’s what they are going to do.

(they won’t like anything, you mumble in your head)

Not true, but your guests will follow your lead. If you’re having fun, they’re going to have fun. So, open the photo booth by dragging a couple of bridesmaids into it. Grab your brother and attack the candy buffet. Go up to the bar and order a signature cocktail. Be the first one on the dance floor. Tell everyone you talk to how glad you are that they came. You created this wonderful day, you’re marrying the love of your life, while surrounded by everyone you both love. Look forward to it. And when you when you get there, enjoy it, all of it, and your guests will, too. I promise. Repeat this as often as you need to: “I’m going to have fun, so everyone else will have fun.”

Seriously, who doesn’t turn into a giddy 3-year old at the sight of a candy buffet?

So, what’s your other recurring wedding nightmare? Let me know in the comments and I’ll share mine with you from my wedding 500 years ago.

See you at the end of the aisle,

 

Liz

Got a Wedding Budget? Then Start With Your Wedding Budget.

drink ceremony

Credit: Beyond the Ordinary

The bottom line is the bottom line: Weddings cost a lot of money. The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is $27,000, although I read one article that said that $16,000 is probably closer. You know, as if that wasn’t a bunch of cash, either.

I know what some of you are thinking – you don’t have to spend that much on your wedding. And you’re certainly not going to! Well, you’re right, you can spend less, of course you can. But if you’re going to, or you have to, then you need to pay attention to where it’s all going. I have watched many a couple set a budget, and then slowly, line item by line item, toss it out the window and themselves into debt, a $175 peony centerpiece and a new (or pre-owned, for that matter) Monique Lhuillier gown at a time. And then becry how the “wedding tax” has destroyed their budget.

The truth is, you’re not paying a tax. You are paying in bulk, paying for labor, and really, paying for your expectations, all of which you can manage.

A little perspective on just the ceremony and reception:

  • The average hotel room in this country is 325 square feet, and costs $139 a night. The average ballroom that holds up 150 people is 2,706 square feet. And someone has to set up and break down the tables and chairs, monitor the AV, etc. You’re kind of getting a deal, there.
  • A comparable wedding meal at Olive Garden — appetizer, salad, (1) drink, one of their higher-end entrees, and a piece of cake is over $50 per person, not including tax and tip. At Olive Garden. That’s $5,000+ for 100 people.
  • Waiters at most restaurants serve 2-3 tables at a time. So, 100 guests is 10 tables = call it 5 waiters, for 8 hours , let’s say at about $15 an hour with service (which is lowballing in L.A., and probably where you are, too.)Setting up, serving, bussing, cleaning. Plus two chefs and a bartender, who will make at least twice that. At least. Are you adding this up?
  • Every table is 13 plates (salad +entree+cake) , 10 forks, 10 knives, 10 napkins, 10 chairs and a table linen.  Every one of those is being cleaned and packed and unpacked and set out and then packed again. Labor.
  • Every table is a centerpiece. Every centerpiece is a dozen or so flowers, depending on what you want.  You’re paying a florist for materials, skill and labor, which you will have to buy and develop if you do it on your own.
  • Every guest is at least four glasses (water + bar drinks + back-up)
  • Which means every guest is at least four drinks.
  • Every guest is one ceremony chair, although you can use one for both the wedding and for dinner. See, saved you money right there.
  • Every guest is a favor.
  • Every bride and every bridesmaid is a bouquet. Every groom and every groomsman is a boutonniere.

“Bulk” is the new four letter word. You are paying for a lot of stuff, whether you’re providing it yourself or your venue is. Ignoring that fact will not make it go away. Being realistic about this and owning your budget gives you the power to decide what everything is going to look like, and how much each one of these things is going to cost. The chairs could be $12 each or they could be $1. The plates could be $0.75 each or they could be paper. And, there is plenty of room in between.

You have plenty of resources to come up with a wedding budget you’re comfortable with – I like Wedding Wire’s calculator – and plenty of resources, like this website and everyone here, to figure out how to use what you have to get what you want and need. Don’t give away your money with a shrug. Don’t act like your wedding expenses are something that’s happening to you. The bottom line is YOUR bottom line. Keep your eye on it!

So, how are you keeping track of your budget, and what are some fantastic ways you’ve found to spend less. Let us know in the comments. And, if you’d like to find out more about me, come visit at www.silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz