Thursday, February 8, 2007

For The Love Of...Money

"The Benjamins", "dolla bills", "bank" - whatever your vernacular term might be, it's all the same thing - MONEY! And when it comes to the planning and creation of a wonderful wedding celebration, this is one object that plays an incredibly major role in all the "happenings".

You know, not a day goes by that I don't in some form or fashion have the "money" conversation with one of my current clients, a prospective client, a vendor or a member of my team. With the average wedding in the United States now weighing in at about $27,000 - we are talking some serious coin to throw a nuptial shindig in style!!! Now - before you even say it (or think it!!), I can tell you that a great wedding can be yours for the national average - it can also be done above that $27k or even below it. People - listen to what I say - it's about priorities, plain and simple.

One of the very first snippets of conversation I have with anyone who wants me to plan their wedding focuses on the amount of money available to fund this lovefest. You'd be surprised how many folks get the big REALITY CHECK when they are sitting in my cozy little studio, but that needs to happen. Make no mistake about it - weddings cost money. And speaking as a wedding service provider - the numbers that you as a bride or groom-to-be hear being bandied about are not some "pie in the sky", arbitrary figures we pulled out of a hat. They are real, factual costs that come along with putting together the celebration YOU want.

So...from my perspective and experience as a planner (yeah, those 14 years do count!!), let me share with you some "tips" that may make your view on spending for this day a bit easier:

1) If you have a modest budget (under that national average I quoted above), think about whether having 25 people in your wedding party plus an additional 300 guests is a good thing. Seriously.

2) What life will be like after you say "I Do"? Because on the next morning after the wedding - it will rear its ugly head and you need to face it. Don't try to take on this new existence with a mountain-load of nuptial debt. Spend your dollars you can look at your future together with clear, not rose-tinted glasses on.

3) This wedding is about YOU - not your best friend, not your parents, not your Aunt from Podedunk (who thinks she can plan your wedding better than anyone else!), not your neighbors - not anybody but the two of you. As a couple, you've have got to feel innately comfortable with what you are doing - and spending. If you know within your hearts and by looking at your checkbook, that you simply cannot afford to host a sit down dinner for 200 - so be it. Your brunch for 75 will be just as lovely, you will be surrounded by those who love you - and your bank account will thank you.

4) And while I'm on the subject of "people who love you" - that's who you should invite to the wedding. Weddings are not obligatory events, so just because you were in "so and so's wedding", they don't have to be a part of yours. I strongly believe in karma and good vibes - so for your own sanity and peace of mind, only invite people who you love to witness this magical joining. If you haven't seen them in a few years, don't talk to them much OR wouldn't even think about taking them out to dinner - you might want to reconsider having them on the guest list....

5) Don't be afraid to say "no" -to anyone or anything. If you aren't particularly enamored of something - say so. Believe me, your reluctance to speak up might cost you some $$$$$...

I speak from experience - weddings are seriously one of the most amazing, life-changing events. And they do cost money. But the key is to make your spending work for you - not against you. At the end of the day, you want to be able to look back and reminisce about the wonderful experience you had as your lives were joined and you celebrated the love, which in itself - is more valuable than any amount of money you can spend..........

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