-by Lisa R. Nelson
I happen to love working with super small budgets because I see it as an opportunity to become really creative. I love designing events that are different and unique – not the same ol’ thing. Yes, it’s much easier to make a traditional magazine-worthy affair when a couple has the money to make everything fabulous because there are fewer restrictions. But, a great wedding on small budget? Now that’s a thing of beauty. It’s very rare that I come across a couple with the vision – who can see the possibilities and embrace the fact that they are going to have an event that’s a bit different. I love couples who are able not to focus on what they don’t have, but are able to open their minds, think outside the box, and realize great things.
So, this is going to be my focus this week – couples who have $100.00/person or less to plan the entire wedding. First, it is possible, even in metropolitan areas! With that said, you have to make the right choices from the beginning.
Putting guests at 10 foot rounds, with centerpieces, to enjoy a sit down or buffet dinner is not really realistic. Let’s start from the beginning. Say, you want to host 100 guests for $5,000.00 – which ends up being $50.00 for the entire wedding, what choices can you make in the beginning that will save you dough and headaches down the road.
1. Get rid of the wedding party. It’s amazing how much a wedding party can add to a budget. If anything, have a maid of honor and best man and leave it at that. The 20 person wedding party is “out” when you are on any type of budget. If you have 20 good friends that you want to participate in your day – invite them. Just being invited is an honor in itself. You can also choose people to participate in the ceremony/reception – hostesses, readers, guest book attendants, etc. In the end, I think you will be presently surprised that your guests would rather enjoy the wedding than work at it.
2. Hire a planner with professional friends in the industry. Yes, its extra money in the outset, but a creative planner will be worth their weight in gold. He/she will help you develop your theme and direct you to the best possible people. Planners know who to go to, and often times will have friends willing to help you out! What’s better than that?
3. Think of different elegant themes like… Parisian café, Italian bistro, or an evening at the theatre with hors d’oeuvres. These types of themes can be fun to plan around, allow you to stay within budget and make for some interesting food and décor. Plus, you guests will talk about it forever because it’s not the same ole’.
Now, let’s talk about a few pitfalls that plague couples with low budgets.
1. Hiring friends. Family and great friends are wonderful. It’s wonderful to have people who love you and want the best for you. But my opinion is that weddings are very special events that require professionals who know the procedures to make the event successful. Couples who opt to have friends end up having to rent and bring DJ equipment, bring cake plates for the cake, worry about how they will store the cake during the week, worry about transportation, and the like. It ends up being much more work and stress.
2. Trying to stretch a budget to create an event like some other person on the knot or weddingchannel.com. Lisa shakes her head. Not being open and able to change the “mindset” is disastrous. David’s bridal and Mens Warehouse definitely have their place…but there is more than one way to skin a cat. There s nothing more beautiful than an ivory/white silk flowing gown and a dark or light linen suit that sets the tone for the wedding.
So…here we are-back where we started. Just remember that you are lucky to be planning such a wonderful wedding. This is an exciting time in your life. Have fun!