(Closed) Choosing a vendor, finding a budget~! Help!

posted 7 years ago in Money
Post # 3
3314 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

@talibear:  You can get a general idea of costs by searching through venue/vendor websites.  A fair number of them won’t list a price, but a good number will.  If you want to be more hands on then that, call the venue/vendors and ask them what they charge.

I personally would figure out what you want to keep your wedding to cost-wise and what the absolute top limit is.  Then I’d get a rough guess-timate of what your guestlist will be – make it generous because first figures are nearly always low.  Decide between you and your husband what things are the most important to you – ie the things you would be willing to splurge a bit on – and what things are “if money allows” kind of things.

Don’t let wedding forums or magazines convince you that you need a ton of things.  They are really good at making you realize all the things you didn’t miss before and adding $’s on.

The vendors don’t care how long you have been engaged or not, but they will want to know as hard of facts as you can give them – date, # of guests, time, etc.  Without having a budget in mind, you will be limited in being able to negotiate.  

Think creatively, do lots of research, and don’t let the details bog you down… the most important part of the day requires very little money after all!  The marriage that follows is the most important part!

Post # 4
1684 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Use the tools at weddingwire or marthastewartweddings for a rough estimate of the budget and various items that you need to pay for. 

Get a rough guest list – say, 80 to 100, or 100 to 150, or whatever. 

I agree with dodgercpkl about her entire post. 

And if your dad isn’t interested in the glowy light thing, maybe you should be looking at entirely paying for decor yourself. No financial contribution = no input. Srsly.

Post # 5
700 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

One I had a rough estimate of guests, the first “budget tool” I used was The Knot budgeter to start playing with numbers and see what all needs to be paid for. Things like venues and photographers are likely to have some prices listed on their site, so you can start to get a general idea for your area.

My FH and I also sat down with our parents, separately, to see what/if they would contribute, and he and I looked at our own finances given the amount of time before the wedding to see what we could save up. With those numbers (everyone’s contributing for us – all parents and us – and FH is putting in the most), I was able to start putting more concrete numbers to items on the list. Once I knew our total budget and what TK said we should spend on any given item, I really started looking at things with a clearer picture.

For example, I knew that TK said I should spend up to $X on a venue. If one I saw online cost $X+more, I knew I’d have to cut numbers somewhere else if I ended up going with that venue. I also knew that I wanted a friend to officiate the ceremony and a friend’s band to play for the reception, so those were numbers I was able to adjust immediately. Florists, photographers, caterers – those are harder numbers to nail down and vary greatly.

If you’re already looking at dresses/shoes and are leaning toward particular designer(s), see what their prices are and plug in those numbers too. Or, if you’re going a pre-owned/heirloom/discount route, plug in those numbers too.

To give you an idea of my planning timeline (not that there’s any right way)…

We got engaged last July and had our engagement party in September. We asked our wedding party by the end of the year. The first thing I actually booked was the venue (in January), and it’s a good thing, too – our date changed because of the availability of the venue. From there, I booked the caterer/coordinator and rentals (March) and the photographer (March). Then I found a dress (in March – I was surprised I found it so early) and bought it. We booked the cake baker in April and paid the deposit in June. We’ve talked with florists and stationers but we’re not really seeing what we want, so we’re probably going the diy/online route with bridesign.com and vistaprint.com. Future Mother-In-Law is working on the rehearsal dinner and just booked the restaurant (in June). The band and officiant, my friends, have known I wanted them since December, so they’re in. I’ve had a year to plan so far, and another year til the wedding.

I guess my biggest suggestion is to sit down with the families and talk guest list and financial contributions. Once you have an approximate guest list and the top end of your budget (like the PP said), the big picture might be easier to see. Hope this helps and happy planning!!

Post # 6
39 posts
  • Wedding: April 2014

I got engaged in March, and the best piece of advice I have gotten is to pick your three top things (mine were photography, location, dress) and let the rest fall off your back. Unless you are extremely blessed, you won’t ever be able to get everything you want, and by prioritizing things, you are less likely to be disappointed.

I agree with PPs that it might be nice to have a general idea in regards to guests, or at the very least the general mood you are going for, but in my experience so far, it has been nice not to have other things nailed down.

I called prospective venues, and asked what their fee was, what the price included (linens, china, etc) and their maximum capacity was. Also ask for photos of the space! Caterers should be able to give you a per person price so solid numbers there aren’t really needed.

For me, it was a lot easier to discuss budget with my parents and fiance when we had specific examples (and photos) to discuss, along with what those prices included. This allowed everyone to get on the same page as far as what things cost. (This aesthetic will cost X, whereas this aesthetic will cost Y)

From there it will be a lot easier to put other things into persepctive. (knowing if you splurge on X, it means you will have to give a little on Y) it will either be worth it, or not.

Also, I messed around with several online budgeters, but finally decided to customize my own in an excel spreadsheet.

Hope this helps, and happy wedding planning!

Post # 7
463 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

my husband and i paid for our wedding. we are 23 and in college. i didnt start planning till we set out budget as we only had a 5000 budget, i then listed everything that was on my “must have” list and then what i was flexible on. i entered a lot of contest and won some including our photography which was over 4,000 dollars!! then i started contacting vendors and getting very resouceful! my whole wedding floral package cost 305.00 at sams club for all my already made bouquets, corsages, boutineers, everything!!! get creative!!! 

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