Ok, now it’s time to get down to the details of planning (since we are still hoping to get married this year, which might be a little crazy). Our first step is to establish our desired budget, which is $20,000. This includes the invitations, groom’s dinner, ceremony, reception, wedding bands, and all little things that go along with a wedding. I love Excel files so I found this nifty budget planner online:
At first, we thought this sounded like more than enough money to get us a decent wedding for about 225 guests. Then, we did some internet searching and realized we need to adjust our expectations. Whoops. Welcome to the reality of today’s wedding. (I still can’t believe the average wedding is nearly $30k!)
We decided that, rather than extend our budget, we want to look for ways to have a nice wedding within our budget. From what I’ve read and been told, there are two ways to cut cost – trim the guest list and get less expensive food. We will need to trim the guest list, but we have a lot of friends we’d like to invite and both have relatively large families so the lowest we can probably go is 200 people.
Matt and I have been in full brainstorming mode for the past two days and, as a result, my head hurts (literally. where did this dang headache come from? It must be bad because I wrote “my head hearts” and I read it five times before I realized it didn’t say “hurts”).
The thing that seems to be the most important to us is uniqueness. We want something a little different than the standard banquet hall experience. The problem is the cute venues are all expensive (if it’s not the rental fee, it’s the food!) or won’t fit the size of our guest list.
These are a few of our ideas (please chime in with your ideas in the comments section):
- Friday evening wedding. My concern here is the minimums are lower, but not necessarily the “per plate” cost so I’m not convinced it will save us money.
- Lunch wedding. We could get married around noon, serve lunch, and go out to a bar for some fun. The main drawback of this idea is I really like the thought of dancing into the night with my friends and family.
- Find a unique ceremony site and use a standard banquet hall (or one that will let us bring in food). The reality is that banquet halls have better food pricing and, once everyone is dancing, it doesn’t matter where it is.
Tomorrow, we are going to look at Profile Event Center in Dinkytown. The benefit of this place is it’s in a great location and there aren’t any rental costs if you meet the food minimum. They used to let you bring in your own alcohol but recently changed that policy. Boo to that. That is probably better because we determined it would cost us over $2,000 to buy enough alcohol for our guests (hey, our people like a good time!) but it is much less expensive to give two drink tickets or host a cocktail hour.
We are working on scheduling more showings for Friday. Since we want to get married this year, we have about two weeks to figure out if we can make that a reality. We have already discovered a lot of venues are booked for the year, but luckily there isn’t a shortage of options in the Twin Cities area!
How did you or someone you know save money on their wedding? What is the most unique wedding you’ve attended?