Wedding Budget Strategies

Wedding Budget Strategies

Wedding Budget Strategies

Time is of the essence after getting engaged. That is, unless you plan on hiring someone to take care of all the details i.e. a wedding planner, which by the way runs on an average of $2,500 to $4,000. To help guide you, here are 5 ways to help maximize your wedding budget and plan accordingly.

1) Prioritize – Right away, you will want to prioritize your most important aspects of the wedding to your fiancé and you. Will the groom just die if you do not have a Hummer limo? Or, are photos more important to you?


Wedding Budget StrategiesChicago Hummer Limo

2) In-season / Off-season – Having your wedding during the most popular wedding months are a key indicator that your costs will reflect this as well.


Wedding Budget StrategiesJill Thomas Photography

3) Day of the Week- Saturdays typically tend to be the most popular day to host a wedding. However, many vendors will give deep discounts for choosing a Friday night or Sunday afternoon. If you really like a venue, but the Saturday prices are too steep, consider having the event on an “off” day.


Wedding Budget Strategies

4) Limit Guest List– This might not make you the most favored person, but friends and family whom understand that budget is a big factor should understand. Be choosy about whom you invite. Don’t feel obligated to invite people that aren’t very important to you or you have lost touch with. Just because you were invited to your friend from college’s wedding five years ago does not mean you must invite her to your event.

5) Location, Location, Location – Your location definitely impacts tax, gratuity, and other factors. If you choose a ritzy hotel in the city versus a banquet hall in a rural area you are likely to pay less just because of location alone. Take into consideration that these places also may charge for parking, valet, etc.


Wedding Budget StrategiesOlivia Leigh Photography at The Newberry Library

There are many decisions to consider and finding what is most important is the best way to help figure out where to splurge and where to be conservative. Please stay tuned for Part Two of Wedding Budget Strategies for the last five ways to help save you some moolah!

5 Reasons to Consider a Destination Wedding

5 Reasons to Consider a Destination Wedding

5 Reasons to Consider a Destination Wedding

As I’m sure you have quickly realized – weddings are not cheap. The best way you can keep costs down is by 1) eloping or 2) having a destination wedding. Why are destination weddings a growing trend?

1. Virtually Stress-Free

Pop in the classic movie “Father of the Bride”, and you’ll soon understand why destination weddings are so popular. They are almost guaranteed to be simpler (and faster!) to plan than a traditional wedding and reception.

If you’re not getting married at a resort, you can hire a stateside wedding planner who specializes in destination weddings or start early and do it yourself. Either way, you won’t have to plan a reception, and won’t that be a relief?!


5 Reasons to Consider a Destination Wedding

2. No Drama, Mama

The second reason destination weddings rule? No scene-stealing family drama. Dread having to see your horrible Aunt Rose with the bad breath, or your Uncle Rob with the napoleon complex in tow with fifteen screaming kids? If you don’t want your dream wedding turning into big affair filled of barely-remembered relatives and nodding acquaintances, a destination wedding can a tactful way to dissuade them from attending.


5 Reasons to Consider a Destination Wedding

3. Cost Effective

The affordability of a destination wedding has many couples speeding off to the airport faster than you can say “I do.” For instance, a couple can fly to an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica, get married, and stay for a deluxe week long honeymoon for a few thousand dollars, including lodging, meals, drinks, and airfare. Compare that with your average 150-guest wedding costing about $22,000 — which can easily skyrocket to more than $40,000+ in big cities — plus a few extra thousand for a honeymoon. To ease the financial burden, many couples opt to travel to a place where they can get married, have a honeymoon, and still have some money left over to start their new lives together.


5 Reasons to Consider a Destination Wedding

 4. You Call The Shots

While formal weddings hold meaning for many couples, linking them to the traditions of their ancestors and culture, others want the experience to be unique, with a ceremony and location that reflect their true colors. The world is your altar. You make the rules! Feel free to wear a sundress or shorts (even a bikini!), go barefoot, carry fern fronds, hire a ukulele band, and toast your love alone on your balcony at sunset. If you can dream it, you can do it.


5 Reasons to Consider a Destination WeddingHelen Havard Photography

5. You’re Already on your Honeymoon!

The best thing about a destination wedding is that you can combine a honeymoon vacation with the actual ceremony itself. Still want that tropical wedding on the beach? Many resorts offer wedding/honeymoon packages, where you get married, have the reception, and enjoy your honeymoon right at the same resort. This is particularly true in popular honeymoon destinations, such as Thailand and Hawaii.


5 Reasons to Consider a Destination WeddingWhite Orchid Wedding

At a typical wedding, you’re on the run, meeting and greeting. Destination weddings are on vacation time. You’re usually required to arrive a few days early to fill out the paperwork, so by the time your wedding rolls around, you’ve had two to three days of fun with your sweetie, family, and friends. How often do you have the opportunity to spend no-rush quality playtime with dear, far-flung friends? This is your chance.

Booking Wedding Vendors

Bakers, caterers, DJs, photographers, florists…planning the wedding of your dreams requires an entire army of vendors and trying to figure out where to begin can be a daunting task. Follow these five easy steps for stress-free vendor selection…

Step One: Book your venue!

Selecting a venue for the wedding ceremony and reception should be your first priority. It’s crucial to find and book a locale before hiring any other vendors as the wedding location will determine the wedding date and time. Once you’ve found the perfect place to exchange “I Do’s,” you can begin booking the men and women that will make your big day possible.

Step Two: Bring in a Pro

If you’re planning to retain the services of a wedding planner, they should be your next hire. Not only will an event coordinator help you make all of your decisions, he or she can often offer specific recommendations or help you secure discounted rates with vendors.

Step Three: Prioritize

Once you’ve secured a venue and regardless of whether or not you’ve hired a planner, there’s no absolute rule about what vendor should be hired next. The best way to decide is by determining where your priorities are. Sit down with your fiancé and discuss which aspects of the wedding are most important to you. If you’re diehard foodies, focus your early energies on selecting a caterer. If you have your heart set on a specific photographer, nail him/her down. That way, you can be sure to secure the vendors you really want and disperse the bulk of your budget to the areas that matter most.

Step Four: Nab the Hard-to-Get Guys

Certain vendors, such as photographers, DJs, and videographers, are limited to only working one wedding per day. As a result, the good ones book up fast. Begin researching and setting up appointments as early as possible to guarantee a spot with your top choice in these hard-to-book categories. Vendors such as florists, stylists, and bakers are often able to work several weddings a day, so put these on the back burner until the rest of your vendors are secure.

Step Five: Follow a Timeline

Most wedding planning binders or smart phone apps offer a general timeline of what tasks should be completed at each stage of the wedding process. Stick to the timeline to ensure that you’re giving yourself ample time for all the extra responsibilities such as hiring a designer/calligrapher for invitations, making preparations for hair and makeup, choosing a wedding cake baker, and consulting with a florist. And remember the earlier you get started, the better! The best vendors are in high demand so their calendars fill up quickly. The sooner you begin contacting and hiring vendors, the better shape you’ll be in when your wedding approaches.

Wedding Planners: Pros & Cons

When it comes to the organization of your big day, a wedding planner can be a godsend, helping to oversee every minute detail of your ceremony and reception and ensure the day goes off without a hitch. With that said, the decision to hire a wedding planner is a big one and for all their benefits, there are some drawbacks as well. Before you pull the trigger on bringing in a professional to handle the event, here are a few pros and cons to consider:

Pros for Planners:

-Stress relief: Hiring a trained professional to take over responsibility of the wedding will remove the burden from your shoulders allowing you to focus on the upcoming wedding with excitement and anticipation. Organizing an event for hundreds of guests is so small feat. Wedding planners are experts at it; you are not.

-Connections: An experienced wedding planner will most likely have established relationships with local wedding vendors and professionals, which can help in a bind and with a budget. Due to their connections, wedding planners can often get deals and discounts unavailable to the public, and they can call in favors in a sticky situation.

-Expert Execution: Regardless of your best intentions or the number of wedding magazines you’ve scoured through, there’s a chance that some elements of your dream wedding might not come true due to your lack of experience. An experienced and professional wedding planner will help ensure that every detail of the wedding will be cohesive, stylish, and excellent.

Cons for Planners:

-Cost: Unfortunately, hiring a wedding planner isn’t a minor expense. Typically, you can expect to spend 10-15% of the wedding budget on a planner’s services. If you’re on a particularly tight budget, splurging on a wedding planner might mean sacrificing in other areas.

-Conflicts: For the months it takes to plan your wedding, you and your wedding planner will be in constant communication, figuring out the details of your big day. If you hire a planner that has a distinctly different personality or style than your own, you might be setting yourself up for unnecessary conflict. Be sure to thoroughly interview each candidate ahead of time and only hire a person you feel comfortable working closely with.

-Lack of Participation: Although hiring a wedding planner can be a great way to relieve stress, it also leaves you with a less hands-on approach to the nuptial organization. Although you’ll have input and authority over the planning decisions, leaving the organization to a professional can leave you feeling a little detached from the process. If you’re the type of person who wants to soak up every part of the wedding execution—from addressing invitations to assembling favors—you might regret the decision to bring in a hired hand.

Tying The Knot Wedding Planners


Planning a wedding can be stressful, there’s no doubt about it. It’s expensive and time-consuming and no one seems to care about it quite as much as you do. With all of the added stress, it’s easy to become a little irrational and difficult to deal with, despite your best intentions. Here are a few ways to avoid becoming a total bridezilla in the months leading up to your nuptials…

Keep Your Priorities Straight: Yes, there are invitations to be mailed, flowers to be arranged, dresses to be ordered, food to be selected, but what’s the point of all of that? This wedding, above everything else, is about uniting your life with another, making a public declaration of your love, and committing to become husband and wife. As important as the favors or centerpieces or seating chart might seem right now, at the end of the day, your wedding is about you and your fiancé. When you feel the pressure of wedding planning creeping up on you, take a moment to remember why you’re putting together a wedding in the first place.

Keep Yourself Organized: Regardless of how big or small your wedding day is going to be, there are still tasks to be done. One of the biggest causes of bridezilladom is overwhelming stress. Avoid the added anxiety by staying on top of things. Buy a wedding planner, make checklists, and plan your time efficiently.

Continue Living Your Life: Although it may feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day or days in the month to get everything done before saying “I do,” it simply can’t be all wedding, all the time. You (and most definitely your fiancé) need a break from the wedding stress from time to time. Set aside non-wedding hours each week where you can spend an evening with your partner having fun and talking about anything but the upcoming nuptials. Or set up a girls’ night with some friends or an afternoon of solitary pampering.

Ask for Help: You don’t need to carry the full weight the wedding on your shoulders. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your friends, family, and most certainly, your fiancé (Operation Groom Involvement). Even if you’re a total control freak, there are always tasks that can be done by others, you just need to reach out to the people in your life. However, when you ask…

Be Respectful of Others: Be considerate of time and expense when asking friends and family for help. Your maid of honor and bridesmaids should be there for you in your time of need, but it’s unreasonable to expect them to be at your beck and call 24 hours a day. Be honest with them about your needs and schedule a time that’s convenient for them. Be thoughtful about their budgetary concerns and limitations when picking out dresses, shoes, and activities they’re expected to participate in. Wedding Timelines.

Show Your Appreciation: Don’t forget to say ‘thanks’ to everyone who’s lent a helping hand throughout the planning process. Nothing says bridezilla more than an ungrateful or entitled bride. Be sure to express your sincerest gratitude to everyone—friends, relatives, vendors—who give of their time and finances to help make your wedding day a beautiful reality. Thank you card etiquette.

Choosing Your Wedding Consultant

Relinquishing control of your wedding planning to an expert can certainly lower your stress levels as you prepare for your big day. While wedding planners and consultants aren’t exactly cheap (expect to spend about 10-15% of your budget on one), they are trained authorities on all things wedding related. They can coordinate your dream wedding, lighten your load, and get their hands dirty while you enjoy the magical time of being engaged. But before you run out and hire the first wedding planner you can find, here are a few things to consider:

Budget: Make sure that your chosen wedding planner or consultant is willing and able to work within the confines of your budget. Sure, there are always going to be unexpected wedding expenses that you don’t account for, but when it comes to hiring a planner, find one who is confident that he/she can make your dreams come true for the amount of cash you’re willing to spend.

Connections: Find a wedding coordinator who is well connected within your area. Make sure he or she knows the ins and outs of the city where your wedding will take place so he/she can find the best locations, caterers, florists, and so on. Also, if your wedding planner is networked enough, he/she might be able to score you some serious discounts on vendors they’ve worked with in the past.

Organization: Make sure you select a wedding planner who is organized, efficient, and on the ball. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s a must. If you’re forking over cash to pay a professional, make sure they will handle all of the wedding planning stress from reading vendor contracts to addressing and mailing invitations to supplying your bridal party with all the knowledge they need.

Style: One of the most important criteria in selecting a wedding planner is style. It’s imperative that you view samples/photos of the planner’s previous work and contact references to find out what he/she is capable of. Before you officially hire anyone, talk through your wedding ideas, desires, and vision to determine the planner who could best bring them to fruition.

Tying the Knot is a Hinsdale based wedding coordinator. Be sure to check them out.

Customer Feedback

Event Date: Thursday, August 05, 2010
Event Location: The Danada House for Ceremony (David) and The Seville
Event Type: Wedding
Event Staff: Kyle

Quality of Customer Service via Telephone: Superior
Quality of Customer Service via Internet: Superior
Quality of Customer Service at Event: Superior
Overall Customer Service: Superior
Friendliness of Your DJ: Superior
Promptness of Your DJ: Superior
Professionalism of Your DJ: Superior
Appearance of DJ: Superior
Sound Quality: Superior
Overall Volume Levels: Superior
Music Selection: Superior
Incorporation of Your Requests: Superior
Lighting Effects: Superior
Equipment Appearance: Superior
Planning Assistance: Superior
DJ’s Cooperation With Other Vendors: Superior
Value for Cost: Superior
Overall Performance Rating: Superior

Is there anything specific we can improve on?


Additional comments or suggestions?

The ceremony was at the Dana House and the reception was at the Seville.
Dave did the ceremony and helped organize the entire event. I was worried because we did not hire a wedding coordinator but with Dave there everything ran so smooth I did not even need one and I am glad we saved the money.
Kyle did the reception and all my guests could say was “WOW”, every time I looked at the dance floor there were people out there dancing and having a good time. Kyle was also very helpful in helping to keep the night flowing and I never once worried that people were not having fun, he did a very good job at reading the audience and knowing what they wanted. The entire planning process can be stressful and we did not have time to make an entire playlist and it was such a relief that we chose REAL professionals who really know what they’re doing. Everybody had an awesome time and I would recommend this company to anybody looking for a stress-free wedding day!

Would you recommend our service to others? Yes
May we share your comments with others? Yes
May we add you to our list of references? Yes

Name: Jordan and Michelle Benson