Smart Budgeting for Your Wedding

As a wedding planner with the Association of Bridal Consultants, and now celebrating our 2nd anniversary serving wedding couples here in Central PA, one of the top considerations when planning a wedding is BUDGET! Both from the professional’s standpoint and the wedding couple’s, there are some basic things to keep in mind when making wedding decisions, and whether or not to hire a Wedding Planner.

First, you should hire a Wedding Planner? Many people think that Wedding Planners are either too expensive or are unnecessary. Nothing could be further from the truth. A well-connected Wedding Planner is offered “insider” rates that are otherwise unavailable to the general public. Most reputable Wedding Planners will pass these costs along to their clients by charging a flat package rate. The savings alone will pay for your Wedding Planner, and you have a real professional on your team. Wedding Planners keep you on budget, keep you on task, will find just the right match for the type of service you want (and can afford), and most of all, take the stress out of the planning process and the whirlwind of things that need to be done on your wedding day. With so many couples working full time jobs, and the seemingly endless choices in the world of weddings, making time in your work and personal schedule can truly tax your patience, even your relationship. Wedding Planners remove the stress, act as mediators (between your vendors, and perhaps members of your family who want something YOU don’t want at your wedding!), and will expertly guide you through all the myriad choices, applying proper wedding etiquette so that all you plan truly tells your story with dignity and grace.

If you’ve planned your wedding totally DIY, having a competent Wedding Planner as your Day-Of Coordinator is tantamount to insuring that everything you’ve planned goes as expected, allowing you (and your family) to actually enjoy the wedding! Trying to manage all the people in your bridal party, having your hair & makeup done, making sure your tables are set, the caterer and florist are where they need to be setting up what you paid them to do — these are all distractions that you shouldn’t have to address on one of the biggest days of your life. You wind up spending more time and energy making sure everything is set, everyone is where they need to be, and are unable to savor the moment and the day. Delegating this task to a family member can cause friction, because your family truly wants to participate in the celebration. They may not have all the information (or skills) to adeptly handle a difficult vendor and remain calm or neutral in tense situations (and they DO arise behind the scenes at weddings!).

Professional Wedding Planners are equipped with all the right knowledge to handle just about any situation that might arise. They know the vendors who are performing your services, as they’ve been instrumental in the overall process from the beginning. A good Planner will know how to stitch up a wedding dress at the last moment (trust me, I’ve done this many times!), tweak a tricky set-up, even cut and portion a wedding cake properly (you’d be surprised how many catering staff get it wrong, and find that there’s not enough cake to go around because of they way they cut the cake!).

Planners also help in the budgeting process from the outset in the way of keeping your guest list in line with the money you have to spend. A lot of couples, from their heart of hearts, want as many of their friends and family to share in their big day. Though taking your budget and guest list into account from the outset will make all the difference in the world. Remember, if you send out a “Save The Date” to everyone on your wedding day wish list, you may find later in the planning process that your budget doesn’t stretch as far as you originally thought and you might be faced with having to pare back on the actual guest list, leaving some of those who received a Save The Date off the final cut. Awkward. A competent Wedding Planner will help you avoid that type of pitfall, and many more.

A knowledgeable Planner will find out what you want to remember most about your wedding, and what you want your guests to remember. They’ll properly apportion your budget to address those priorities, all the while making sure the other aspects of your event aren’t affected. Allocation of funds to the various aspects of the wedding is fraught with room for error without a professional’s keen eye.

The way I look at it: I love amusement parks and I’ve been to many across the country. I love the energy, the food, the rollercoasters, and when I decide to treat myself to a day at the park I let the professionals do their jobs. Just because I’ve been to many, many parks doesn’t mean I know how to operate one, and I have no idea what goes on behind the scenes so park-going guests can enjoy their day. And I certainly don’t want to try and operate the rollercoaster that I want the thrill of riding.

A skilled and dedicated Wedding Planner is your advocate. Their priorities are YOUR priorities (and if they’re not, find a different Planner — a CERTIFIED Planner!). They will guide you through the budgeting and planning process with aplomb, will present your wedding with all the right touches, and will make you a guest at your wedding. And you can afford one. One of the top skills a competent Planner possesses is the ability to meld their fees into your budget so that you don’t have to skimp!

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