Posts Tagged ‘skimp vs. splurge’

Where NOT to Skimp: Key Wedding Elements

wedding rings

3 Wedding Things You Don’t Want to Skimp On

(Me:) What?  Only three things?  So unfair: I’m a wedding planner! – we know that EVERYTHING is important!   But, if you insist… I suppose I could narrow a few dozen things down to a few key elements.   And, it would take barely a breath for me me to rattle off a list; however, I’d prefer to share some ideas and experiences instead – because as we like to say: no two weddings are alike.

DIY wedding flowers

As founder and primary planner for my company, I have experienced hundreds of weddings and worked with such a wide array of couples that it’s difficult to even cast a client profile.   Nonetheless, I have noticed a few commonalities that I can share:

DIY Wedding (Type 1): Couples who have a very strict or tight budget need to watch expenses and will certainly benefit from help of a planner to advise them early on.  Of course you can save money by doing some things yourself, just be realistic about what is possible and what will send you over-the-edge.  I encourage these couples to invest in a seasoned planner / coordinator that can advise them and assist them the day of the wedding.  Don’t skimp on the venue, because food and built-in amenities (linens, interior space for contingency, staff, etc.) have tremendous value, and can make or break the entire day.  Don’t skimp on the photography because things such as limited hours (partial coverage), inexperience – which often times translates into timing issues on the wedding day, and inadequate or poor quality images & editing are not worth the expense.  Summary: Hire a planner to help you and for advice making wise budget decisions; secure a good venue to accommodate your guests comfortably and provide most necessities; hire the best qualified photographer you can afford.

An investment in experience is far wiser than savings gambled on inexperience.

Young & Fabulous (Type 2): Couples who enjoy the luxury of a larger budget have countless options and rarely skimp on anything.  They are able to plan an event with all the trimmings – spectacular décor, an amazing venue, the elaborate wedding cake, etc. However, even these couples eventually reach a point where they need to rein in costs.  For them, my advice is:  Be the best hosts you can be.  Don’t skimp on your bridal party – offer to pay for their accommodations, hair and make-up, and offset the costs of their attire.   Don’t skimp in any area that jeopardizes your guests’ comfort – anticipate their experience and make sure they are not too hot or too cold, or too far from one place to another.  Lastly, don’t skimp on taking care of your vendors – that’s an investment that will pay off in spades!   Summary:  If you have the money, invest it throughout.  The level of style and grace should be perfectly matched, and result in a great experience for all.    second wedding-beach wedding

Second Weddings and Blended Families (Type 3):  Almost without exception our second wedding clients are at least in their mid-thirties and beyond.  They are less inclined to host over-the-top events, or invest a lot in décor, and the guest lists tend to be less than one hundred.  Their priorities often center on quality, and we encourage them to splurge on Food and Beverage, Photography and/or Videography, Entertainment (wanting guests of all ages to have fun).   Summary: Set the tone for the wedding with a less traditional venue where guests can enjoy quality time and a lovely meal together; hire a great photographer to capture all the fun and memories; add an interactive element or unique entertainment to keep everyone amused and in the moment.

(c) 2012 E. Delgardio

Extreme Chic on a Shoestring – Are you saving or sacrificing?

“We’re on a tight budget.”

Yes, I know (but I don’t say it out loud). Times are tough, money is tight, and everyone is trying to save a buck. But lately, I’ve been hearing this way too much.
And you wouldn’t believe the trends I’m starting to see! Flower-less centerpieces, DIY linen installations, sub-par vendors, and more! It sounds funny, but in the end, it’s really not.

Maybe you’d like to poll the guests from a recent wedding that I coordinated (notice I said coordinated, NOT planned). The bride contacted me to help her with the reception design and we put together a great look for her. However, she insisted that she wanted the reception to be ‘cocktail style’ – meaning that she wanted the guests to mingle – therefore she only ordered 100 chairs for 200 people…. Hmmmm…. I think you can see where I’m going with this.

“What’s your budget?” I ask. Rarely do I receive a truthful answer, that is, until I quote a price. It’s not a problem because I know my services are not inexpensive. I charge what I’m worth: I’m an educated, experienced, nationally recognized industry professional. I work with clients and couples who realize that what I bring to the event planning process is more than the ability to create a memorable day – I help them create amazing and memorable moments. I am a specialist; it’s like comparing stitches to brain surgery. Shopping Cart

Anyway, I do appreciate that many people are on a budget. Whenever possible I do the best I can to meet them where they’d like to be. After all, I love what I do, so for me there’s a lot more to it than the paycheck.

In a previous post, I wrote about how Brides and Grooms can protect themselves while shopping for vendors. Check it out – there is a lot of good advice there. This post centers on something different; it’s about being realistic. There seems to be a trend towards style over substance. Let’s go back to my story about the bride with the 200 guests. Do you think those guests cared how good the room looked when they realized they might have to stand for the rest of the evening? Nope – they bailed at their first opportunity. Do you think they felt valued and appreciated? Nope.

It’s my responsibility to tell my clients if something won’t work, or doesn’t work well. I educate them. What I’m seeing lately is so many people (future brides and grooms, potential clients) who are out of touch with what things cost being serviced by vendors who want to say yes (because they need the business) – this is not exactly a recipe for success.

My free advice for today is this: If you truly can’t afford the wedding of your dreams – put it off and save more money. If you want to save an extreme amount of money without cutting corners, scale back your guest list, move up your wedding date and consider a week-day event. Also, if you’re planning a wedding or special event be a good host! – that’s just good manners.