When you are wedding planning it seems like everytime you turn around some one has their hand out for more moolah. This installment of Diaries is going to help you figure out what is necessary and what is not. There will be two installments of this one: I have an awful lot to say about this topic so be sure to check back next week for part two.
There is a saying that my dad always said to me growing up: “take care of your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves”. Growing up, I always thought this was the most rediculous thing I had ever heard. I mean, really, in this age of hedonistic entitlement and the ‘I have to have it all and I have to have it now’ attitude of our generation, do you really care about your pennies? I sure didn’t. I hope my dad doesn’t read this but I have a dirty little secret to admit: I used to throw my pennies in the garbage when my wallet got too full of them! He would have a coronary if he knew that.
Now that I am in my early thirties, have a few kiddies running around and have been running a household and a business for years I have gained that all important and proverbial knowledge of time=prospective. And here is something that just kills me to admit. Dad was right. (I was totally just choking there when I typed that, by the way).
So here is the point: when you are planning your wedding run it like a business. Bottom Line = Top of Mind. The wedding industry has done an incredible job of creating things for weddings, marketing them so well (thank you SLICE & TLC, wedding mags and celebrity weddings on TV) that brides are brainwashed into thinking they MUST have IT!
Every bride has a different idea of what IT is: $10K+ for photography, invitations made of silk, phaelenopsis orchids, 16 piece band, 9 course plated choice menu, celebrity planner. Really, being so inundated with so much wedding fabulousness who wouldn’t want the big celebrity day?
In the spirit of my dad’s sage advice the following is a list of things that you do not need. They are inexpensive (in the grand scheme of all things bridal) but it all adds up. If you follow this advice you can probably trim a couple grand from your bottom line!
1. Favors. You don’t need them. Period. I have cleaned up enough weddings in my life to know that I will pick up a tonne of favors that guests leave behind. Guess where the delightful little chatchkas end up? Answer: THE GARBAGE! Do something edible if you must have a favor; at least you will have a better chance of guests taking them or eating them. The other issue that I have with favors is that it is often not just the favor you need to pay for. Packaging, tags and ribbon all add up.
2. Cake: If your venue is serving you a dessert, why do you need a big cake? Why would pay the cake cutting fee venues impose on cakes brought in if people are already full of the delicious dinner you just spent 50% of your budget on. Alternatively, if must have cake for the photo op then have the cake for dessert and have the caterer or venue decrease the price per plate. It is totally redundant to have both.
3. The Cocktail Hour: In the last decade it has become very fashionable to have pre-dinner snacks and cocktails (I call it the sip and nibble hour). I am a huge advocate for cocktail hour. It allows guests to socialize before their bums are chained to their seats for three hours for dinner and speeches. It also has likely been a considerable amount of time between the ceremony and the wedding reception and your guests will be hungry and thirsty. I also enjoy the element of class this brings to your event. It shows your guests that you care about their comfort. So, yes, I believe you should absolutely have a cocktail hour. But what to serve? It is definately nicer to have passed hors d’oeurves but if you can’t swallow the $1000+ for 150 guests to have a nibble (and I have not even included the ‘sip’ portion of this yet) then have destination platters. Destination platters is the fancy way of saying big hunks of cheese on a platter with some fruit and maybe a veg tray all on a buffet. This is considerably less expensive and still a good way to look after your guests.
For the ‘sip’ bit of the cocktail hour have sparkling wine. Do not open the bar. People can throw back rum and cokes like nobody’s business (if your family is like mine you will know this to be true!). You will be lucky to get 5 glasses of wine out of a bottle but you can get 6+ out of a bottle of sparkling and people drink it slower that they would a highball or even a martini. And here is the best news: there are some very lovely bottles of sparkling on the market that are the same price as a bottle wine.
4. The Late Night Buffet: is just a waste. You don’t need it. People are full. And that’s all I’ll say about that.
I have received a lot of positive response from this series of blogs. Keep your comments and e-mails coming! I love to hear about your trials, tribulations and your joys and snafoos as you plan your way to wedded (and hopefully financially solvent) bliss!