Thursday, 1 July 2010

Planning your Wedding

All weddings start out with the same principle and message: 2 people joining lives together and inviting friends and family to celebrate the occasion.

So why then do budgets often spiral out of control and cause stress and anxiety?

Here are my top 7 rules of how to manage and maintain a budget.

1.  BUDGET: Set your budget on day one of planning and factor in a 10% contingency plan.  A simple spreadsheet can be constructed to help keep track of things.  The main elements of your budget will be taken up by the following:
  • Wedding Venue
  • Dresses and Kilt Hire
  • Car Hire
  • Stationery and Favours
  • Florist
  • Wedding Band and Photographer
  • Cake
2.  COMPROMISE: Could you tell the difference between an expensive wedding or a well presented illusion?  My guess is NO.  Once you have decided on you budget and set up your tracker, I would suggest adding in all of your ideals it will then be crystal clear how much under or over you are.  At this point, you will more likely be over and there will need to be some tough decisions made
  • WEDDING VENUE: Downsize the full day guests or negotiate with your venue on menus, price and drinks.
  • DRESS and KILT HIRE: Is there a cheaper dress out there, or could you get someone to make something similar at a cheaper price? Does your Groom / Best Man / Ushers have their own kilts? You could have all different tartans and link them through the shirts etc. i-craft recommends Luck and Booth
  • CAR HIRE: Do you really need a car especially if you are having your ceremony and reception in the same venue.  Yes it's nice and traditional but question your value for money.
  • STATIONERY and FAVOURS: These can easily be tailored to your budget.  Set your colour scheme and ask for quotes with varying papers.  Any good stationery should be able to 'think out the box' and provide you with solutions varying in price.  The same applies to Favours. i-craft recommends i-craft
  • FLORIST: Be honest with your Florist about your budget, like the stationers they may be able to suggest a cheaper flower that will create the same effect.  Also, consider artificial flower arrangements for the tables that can be gifted to some of your guests, you could even add a little tag saying 'For Aunt Nancy, for making my bridesmaids dresses x' i-craft recommends Artemis Flowers
  • WEDDING BANDS and PHOTOGRAPHER: shop about a well established band or photographer does have the reputation, however, there will be others out there trying to establish a name who are willing to give a discount. i-craft recommends Dougie Thomson
  • CAKE:  Again the same applies for the cake supplier.  Some smaller companies will keep their price lower in order to gain the reputation and portfolio. i-craft recommends i-craft
3.  TIMINGS:  Two elements to consider here. Before the day and on the day.  Before the day ensure you give yourself time to shop around, however, don't get bogged down and spend weeks on insignificant details.  Use the same principles as in business, set yourself a deadline and stick to it!  On the day, entrust someone with the job of ensuring your wedding runs to schedule, this may be a member of the bridal party or you may choose to use the services of a wedding planner.  This person should ensure the photographer doesn't take to long, the meal is served on time and the first dance and buffet are served at the right time.
i-craft recommends: Plans and Presents

4. CO-ORDINATION: Having a theme and colour scheme is free of charge, use it to your advantage as a well thought out wedding can look stunning. This can be incorporated through the dresses, flowers, stationery, cake, groom's outfit, napkins on the table, and favours.

5.  COMMUNICATION:  Often frustration occurs when people start 'assuming' what is happening.    Most people are excited for the happy couple and just want to help in what ever way possible so when asking for advice remember that many people take this as a green light for continuing to advise.  Be assertive and include both sides of the family where possible but don't let people push you about. 

6.  SEATING PLAN:  Take your time to decide on who sits where.  Before I started designing stationery I worked as a Master of Ceremony within a hotel and the best weddings were always the ones where the tables got on well with each other.  It can be a difficult thing to achieve as family's all have the loud one, or the slightly embarrassing one, but in general you can set members of the opposite families at the same table to allow them to 'network' and get to know one another.  This lets people break the ice during the meal and get down to some serious partying once the music starts.

7.  BEWARE OF DIY:  If you have a crafty or artistic side then I would definitely encourage you to venture down the DIY route which will ultimately save you money, however, don't under estimate the time it takes to source and make your own items.  One of the other pitfalls is assuming that something is really easy and although I am a big fan of e-bay and web sourced items, if you have specific ideas it is often better to obtain samples first as they can sometimes not live up to your expectation.  You could also spend an awful lot of time and money discovering that it is really hard to make your own soap, candles, tablet etc and once its packaged it looks like something a 6 year old would be ashamed of!