Happy hump day everyone! So for those of you who are new here, my husband and I were married in August of 2018. So this year we are celebrating our 2 year anniversary! In honor of our two year anniversary coming up, I thought I would share Wedding Wednesday tips to help you plan your wedding the whole month of August! We are kicking it off with probably the first thing many people book, the venue and event planner/coordinator!
I don’t always stress about wedding details. But when I do it’s 1 AM and I have to be up at 6 for work.Confetti UK – Source
Figure out your budget first!
This seems like a “Well duh” kind of thing to say before you start venue shopping, but TRUST ME. Weddings are expensive, and venues are no exception. Starting off the search with a budget in mind will help you stay out of realm of starting to envision your wedding in an incredibly out of budget place. (LOL this was me)
When you think about budgeting for your venue, CM Promotions has a great breakdown of what to expect the wedding expenses to look like! This breakdown is a great visual for couples to really get a sense of what to expect, and how to find your perfect venue. Her representation of the venue expenses is categorized as the “reception”, which is 45% of your budget! Let’s break down that 45% in the nest section.
Unexpected Venue Expenses
This may come as a shock (or maybe just an FYI), but many venues just provide the space and NOT the linens, decor, chairs, tables, silverware and plates, bar, and I could go on… This is why the above budget break-down says to budget 45% for the reception! Here is how we broke down that 45% for our big day
45% Venue Breakdown
- 62% – Venue price (We chose a Sunday date and saved THOUSANDS)
- 25% – Food Cost (Catering for 200 people included 2 drink choices, cups, plates, silverware, and 2 entree choices served Buffett style)
- 8-10% Cake and Desserts (We opted for cupcakes and chocolates!)
- 3-5% Remaining budget on linens and rentals (We bought wholesale at Table Cloth Factory and rentals from our wedding planner)
Thankfully our venue, The Springs in Denton, was able to offer chairs and tables for our space, but many venues do not. So our breakdown would have looked a little different had we needed to rent tables and chairs! Food costs were considerably high because we wanted good food at the wedding. We had Babes Chicken catered for 200 people, so that was a large portion of our reception cost as well. We ended up saving on dinner costs because Babes Catering offered two drink choices, two entree choices, 3 side options, plates, napkins, silverware, and tear down and clean up.
One thing to ask your venue is do you have a prep kitchen space large enough to hold your food, cakes, drinks, and anything else that could potentially need to be prepared! If the answer is no, consider unique options such as food trucks or the bar trailers! These are becoming incredibly popular! They add a unique touch to your reception, and keep it fun and lighthearted!
You Don’t Want to Do This Alone. Finding Your Wedding Coordinator
Trust me, you want to have some sort of Day Of Coordinator or a wedding planner to help guide you through the process. Having someone to call your vendors, make a Day Of Timeline, help you find vendors, and basically be your right hand man to all things wedding is going to save your sanity. My husband and I were engaged during my last semester of college. I knew immediately that I would need a coordinator because I 1) had no idea what I was doing and 2) wanted the process to be as smooth and simple as possible!
The difference between a wedding planner and a wedding coordinator are described perfectly by Hitch Without a Glitch:
A wedding coordinator is a vendor working behind the scenes to ensure all aspects of your wedding is running smoothly so you can enjoy the day. They are there to answer questions throughout your planning journey. Six weeks from the wedding, a coordinator will officially begin fulfilling their responsibilities by reaching out to each vendor the couple have contracted and introduce themselves.
Your wedding planner also ensures the success of your wedding and is with you throughout the process. There are two types of planner assistance; full-service and partial planning. Full-service planning is for those couples who need help from A-Z. Everything from vendor selections to hotel block procurement—all aspects of the process are taken care of by the planner.
One glaring difference is the planner is with you your entire journey. They are there ready help you book, find, schedule, and negotiate vendors to make your day perfect. My husband and I chose to go the route of a planner because we knew right off the bat we needed help. We worked with Donna McClendon of Emerald Aisle Events to help us ensure we had all our ducks in a row. She helped us book our florist, photographer, venue, catering, and ceremony officiant. Honestly, it was the best thing we could have spent money on for our busy schedules! We met with her what felt like almost every other week and she helped me make sure I have everything planned in a timely manner and stuck to the budget I gave her.
Wedding Coordinators are a little different! They are with you about 6-8 weeks out from your big day, and help you coordinate your day. They reach out to the vendors that you have chosen and introduces themselves as the new point of contact for your wedding. This is great because as you get closer to the wedding, you may start becoming busier as the final details start being wrapped up. A great choice for wedding coordinator is CM Productions! Cindy will make sure your day runs smoothly and all your vendors arrive on time and have what they need to be successful! Plus, if you may have missed something, she can refer you to a list of recommended vendors so you can have the perfect day.
How do I find a venue or wedding planner?
The best place to start are websites with directories like Wedding Wire, The Knot, Zola, and Wedding Wire! You can see reviews, read testimonies, check out past work from vendors all across your area. Another great way to search is instagram hashtags! You can search #DFWvenue, #DFWweddingplanner, #DFW(insert vendor need here) and find amazing talent that way!
When you reach out to vendors, always include a nice email of DM introduction such as:
“Hello, my name is ____ and I am getting married on ____ at ____ and I am in need of ____! Are you available? What are your prices?”
Or if you are on the hunt for a venue, ask them if they have the dream date available or availability for the month you want. This year, everyone’s date appears to be October 10th, so many venues may not be available for the month of October and November! BUT it never hurts to ask!
The most important thing to remember…
“At the end of the day, you are marrying your best friend, and the rest is just fluff.” This is the best advice I received about wedding planning. When you step back and think about it, it’s so true! While the rest of the “fluff” may be what we dreamed of, the real magic is the sparks between the bride and groom.
When it comes to wedding planning, it can be stressful! Send this post to a bride or groom so they can get the insider scoop on how to search for venues and wedding planners and how to break down the cost of their big day!