Monthly Archives: April 2017

10 Tips for Finding the Perfect Wedding Venue on a Budget

bride and groom on steps of elegant historic wedding venueIt is possible to plan a wedding on a budget.  (Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!)  Before you dismiss the idea of a beautiful wedding on a less-than-stellar budget, use these tips to plan the perfect wedding in a wedding venue you can be proud of.

Choose a venue that doesn’t need a lot of décor.

If you want to keep your wedding décor costs down, look for a wedding venue that makes a statement even when empty.  This keeps your wedding décor costs low, allowing you to prioritize your funds for other areas you care about, such as your dress, food, etc.

Look for a venue that lets you choose your own vendors (and costs).

If you want to be able to compare numbers from your wedding vendors, ask potential wedding venues if they have a policy that allows any vendors to come in. This policy puts you in the driver’s seat, allowing you to control who you work with (as long as they meet insurance requirements) and the costs to make sure you stay within budget.

Ask a lot of questions to make sure you don’t go over budget.

wedding venue with outdoor touchesSome venues charge by the hour or add on additional fees that can make your budget number seem like a distant memory.  When choosing your venue, use this list of wedding venue questions to make sure you have a complete list of all costs before you receive the bill.  Another way to make sure you stick to your budget is to ask your venue if they hold a final wedding planning meeting that allows you to make last-minute adjustments so you know the final cost—and that it is within budget.

Pick a wedding date that’s off-season.

There are certain times of the year that are considered off-season for weddings, such as January, March, and November.  To the contrary, June and October are considered busy times.  If you’re flexible on wedding dates or haven’t chosen a date at all, let your budget lead you to the perfect day to get married (this tips can help you choose the perfect wedding date as well).  You’ll get the perfect venue on the perfect day without busting the bank.

Hold your wedding on a Thursday, Friday, or Sunday.

If you have your heart set on a particular wedding venue but want to keep the site cost down, contact your wedding venue and ask if they offer a lower rate for non-Saturday weddings. Many wedding venues offer a lower cost for these non-peak days; if your venue doesn’t, choose a wedding venue that does so you can stay within your budget.

Don’t assume that a venue is too expensive.

It’s natural to see the pictures of a beautiful wedding venue and assume that there is no way that could fit in your wedding budget.  Don’t assume anything until you’ve contacted the wedding venue.  You never know if that wedding venue fits your budget—or if the cost of an off-season, non-Saturday wedding could be the right number for your wedding budget.

Eliminate your transportation costs.

Instead of booking two wedding venues, book one venue for your ceremony and your reception.  Holding your wedding day at one place eliminates transportation costs and allows you to use your wedding décor for both your ceremony and reception.  To make sure you still get beautiful wedding photos, shop around for venues where you can take beautiful wedding pictures without going off-site.

Limit your guest list.

It’s a logical connection: more guests, more cost.  Use these tips to get to the perfect guest list, but keep your budget in mind.  Estimate what the cost per guest is (approximately), and pare down your list to the right number that fits with your calculations.  Some vendors may have a minimum cost or number of guests required, so be sure to ask before you count on a vendor that doesn’t fall within your budget.

Be smart about your bar policy.

To shave dollars off your wedding costs, consider minimizing your bar costs.  In lieu of an open bar, cover the cost of your guests’ beer but ask they pay for hard drinks.  For other ideas, ask your wedding venue staff for ideas on a suitable policy that’s suitable for your guests and your budget.

Look for venues that include staffing.

It’s a common misconception: if you hold your wedding venue at a bare bones wedding venue with a cheap venue fee, your overall wedding costs are going to be kept down.  Instead, the opposite is often true: by the time you hire a bartender, fill the hall with décor to make it beautiful, and hire or buy anything else that’s not included, you’ve spent far more than you would spend at a wedding venue with a hall coordinator, bar staff,and all the other “must haves” of a beautiful wedding.

6 BIG Wedding Planning Regrets to Avoid

bride and groom dancing at summer wedding reception in beautiful wedding venueMistake is such an ugly word, especially when you’re planning the most important day of your life.  But almost every bride and groom has that one “thing” they wish they’d done differently during their wedding planning (note: we’re talking wedding planning, not wedding day).  Here are some of the most common wedding planning mistakes that can negatively impact both the planning and the big day, and how to avoid them.

Not asking the right questions

The mistake: Jumping in with both feet into wedding planning can seem like a good idea at the time, but can lead to some serious backtracking and regrets.

How to avoid the regret: As tempting as it is to jump into wedding planning, asking yourself important questions before you start wedding planning helps you avoid having to backtrack and rethink details.  Have the “talk” with your fiance and family; a short conversation gives your wedding planning direction and brings out all the important requests that you need to keep in mind as you plan.  Once you’ve asked your fiance the right questions, you can start asking the important vendors (like your wedding venue) the important questions that help you find the right site for your big day.

Not prioritizing your budget

The mistake: Many a bride and groom has blown too much of their budget in one area, leaving them with no money at the end of the process.

How to avoid the regret: Even if you hate budgeting, a plan helps you allocate dollars where they are needed so you don’t run out of money when you need it.  Talk to your fiance and family early in the process to prioritize what is important (i.e. venue but not favors, etc.)  As you plan, make sure you track your wedding costs to ensure you are staying on track.  Think of your wedding budgeting as a long distance race: you want to make sure that you fuel all the way to the finish line.

Waiting too long to get started

The mistake:  A couple who procrastinates misses out on the quality wedding venues and vendors.

How to avoid the regret:  Everyone wants to enjoy their engagement, but it pays to be proactive.  Wedding vendors work on a first-come, first-pay basis and you want to get the best.  As soon as you set a date (or time of year), start checking off boxes on all the important parts of your wedding: contact wedding venues, find a wedding caterer, and start asking friends and family for recommendations for entertainment and photographers.  If you’re on a super time-crunch (six months or less), use these tips to plan your perfect day very, very quickly.

Taking on too many DIY projects

The mistake: Everyone wants to save money while wedding planning, but taking on too many do-it-yourself projects can suck up all your time and money.

How to avoid the regret: Be realistic about the amount of time you have to devote to do-it-yourself projects.  Put the most important projects (to you and your budget) at the top of the list.  Don’t be afraid to ask other family members and close friends to help (only if they ask!).  Be prepared to go to plan B if you don’t have time to complete all your DIY projects.

Taking on too many wedding planning tasks

The mistake: Wedding planning can be an overwhelming process for anyone.

How to avoid the regret: The wedding planning checklist can feel endless.  If you’re overwhelmed, consider hiring a wedding planner or choosing a wedding venue with an event planner to coordinate and finalize all the details that come with your wedding.  If you’re on your own, don’t be afraid to ask your venue coordinators or vendors for recommendations for other vendors; your wedding venue staff know what florists that do a beautiful job, and caterers can recommend local wedding décor vendors (if they aren’t willing to help, it’s time to contact a wedding venue with more helpful pros).

Not making de-stressing part of your wedding planning

The mistake:  There’s so much to do, so many tasks to check off, that the bride and groom doesn’t remember a single moment—much less enjoy wedding planning or their special day.

How to avoid the regret: It’s easy to get so involved in making sure that every detail is so “just right” that you feel like it flies by and you don’t get the chance to take it all in. If you want to enjoy the wedding planning process and the day, plan some down time before and on the day of your wedding to relax.  Use these tips so you can make sure you actually get to enjoy your wedding day, such as taking care of payments in advance and assembling an emergency kit for any ‘just in case’ scenarios.