Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The RealityCHECK Series: How Much Wedding Can You Get For $$$$?

This blog topic has been a LONG time coming. And the following dialogue is why: 

Me: "So....what have you and your fiance' discussed as far as wedding budgets/parameters/spending is concerned?"

Prospective Client:  "Um...we're looking at $10,000"

Me:  "And that's for how many guests and it will include?"

Prospective Client: "oh, 300 guests.  And we'd like to have sit-down dinner, open bar with specialty drinks, lighting, over-the-top florals, rental linen, custom cake, live band & D.J., engraved invitations and 3 limos."

Me:  **Blank Stare**

I'm not joking.  Not in the least.  I cannot begin to tell you how many times I've had couples sit in my studio and pretty much have that EXACT conversation with me..word for word.  And yes - I have given them the "blank stare".   Once I compose myself (trust me, it only takes a couple of seconds), the harsh reality of it all sets in and I take on a new role as EDUCATOR.  There's a real bottom line here:  Most people have no idea what a wedding really COSTS simply because they've never had to put one together nor do they have any concept of what market pricing looks like.  It really is that simple.

So.....I'm going to spend the next few blog posts giving you the "skinny" on costs.  I'll keep it really straightforward, no sugar coating or "lip glossing" - because that's not going to help things at all.  In order to have a wedding, well - at least one that's not at the courthouse or JOP's office, you have to shell out some dollars.  The amount of $$$$$ you cough up are highly dependent on a few factors such as:
Location (geographics)
Time of year (yes....January is less expensive than June)
Number of guests (75 guests can be easier on your wallet than 400!)
Time of day (I know - not everyone is an "early bird..but it can help you save $$$!)
Your level of "realism" (what you want vs. what you can AFFORD)

The media and the Internet have truly contributed to this phenomenon.  And I mean that honestly.  You see all of the lovely gorgeousness splashed over the pages of magazines, on websites, in blogs, on television and of course, you WANT it for your big day.  But um...there's this little thing called money which has to come into play.  With the exception of a couple of "outlets"'re not told how MUCH that eye candy costs.  So you "assume" that your dollars can cover it.  That's your first mistake

Wedding planning professionals such as myself, can and SHOULD school you really quick on what's doable and more importantly, what isn't.  Because we work so closely with other service providers in the industry, we can give you the "run down" on approximate dollar amounts because we see them every day.  And you need to listen.  Carefully.  Please.  Trust me.

What ever dollar amount is sitting in your bank account or checkbook for this occasion - well, it's what you have.  You can do a great wedding on any amount, as long as you are CLEAR about what said money is going to get you.  That goes back to the realism factor I mentioned is what it is.  If all you have is $10k..well, that means all you have is ten thousand dollars.  And it's only going to go so far.  Remember the "conversation" I had with the client?  Yeah....$10k was NOT a reasonable thought process.  And I told them so.....

Stay tuned for the rest of the series.  I welcome your comments and thoughts....this is a ripe area for discussion, not only from industry professionals, but consumers also.  The best clients (for me) are educated ones........


Susan Viesti "The Wedding Singer" said...

...I enjoyed your post here very much. I look forward to following your blog, very well written and informative. I am DelsDiva, Del's Groove hopes to work with you in the future! All the best~ Susan

Janet said...

Hello Linnyette:

Thanks for all you do in helping to publish the much-needed "money" topics in the wedding planning industry. While it is nice to fantacize about lavish weddings, (and the media isn't helping here) $$$'s are the only key to opening those gates. Look forward to your future posts on this topic... and great job! It's like that old saying - "an educated consumer, is our best customer!"

Mindy said...

This is a wonderful idea and I know it will be very helpful to me and a lot of your followers I'm sure! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I read your blog,all of the time.It is always so very insightful.In reading The Reality Check series,I was wondering,how much it would cost if i had a wedding planner,how much would it cost,or figure,into the $6,000,00 budget.Thank you,very much.

Richmond, VA Wedding Planner said...

Thank you for this post. I have wondered for the longest time, how can I politely say "turn off the tv!"

Sandra Elidor (WOW FACTOR Weddings and Events) said...

I deal with this all the time. I spend most of my time educating then actually planning. This is why I really want to teach brides how to plan a great wedding without starting the marriage with zero I also want to teach soon to be wedding planner.
Living in South Florida makes everything worse. They want everything, but they don’t have the money and they want to invite 300 people. I tell them all the time, plan your wedding budget after you plan your life budget. I also get the brides that don’t have a budget and they want pay as they go. We need to have more wedding educators for planners and brides.