'Real' Wedding Budgets

firstcoastweddings.com Two of the ladies here at The 530 Bride are having weddings this summer!

Kendall Arelleis and her hubby—after having initially eloped—have finally decided to have a reception celebration to share with loved ones; and newbie Christina Rafael is getting hitched in just two short months. Many details will follow on both upcoming local weddings and we thought we'd share their budget-savvy, meaning not $25k, expense breakdown to give you just a taste of how you can have a rockin' wedding at any price.

Up first is Christina's rustic-romantic backyard wedding, (a neutral color palette with hints of blush and burlap), on a Saturday in May. Her guest list is 80-90 people and she has been planning, off and on, since getting engaged in February 2012. She made her dream wedding possible with thrift and antique store shopping, DIY Projects, and discounted services from professional friends.

Below is a rough outline of her budget:

Ceremony & Reception Venues: Free. Family home. Wedding Dress:  $99. Accessories: $65. Hair/Makeup: $130. Tuxedo Rental: $214.98. Rings: $220. Stationary: $263. Cake: $160. Food Services: Gift from family. Catering estimated at $500, not sure on drinks. Photography: $1,000. Florist: $120. Music: $200. Decor: $400. Includes water dispensers, cake stands, fabric for DIY projects, 12 paper lanterns, etc. Rentals: $691.52. Tables, chairs and linens plus out of town delivery.

Cutting that budget and guest list in half, Kendall will be having an Art Deco, gold and pink, Thursday June wedding. Her guest list is around 40, she's been planning for 5 months, and she made her dream wedding possible with saving and recycling item like mason jars, shopping sales, and DIY projects galore; maybe she'll start an Etsy!

Below is a rough outline of her budget:

Ceremony & Reception Venues: $400 Wedding Coordinator: Gift from Veronica here at The 530 Bride! Wedding Dress: $300 + Alterations (pricing TBD) Accessories: $90 Hair/Makeup: TBD, but quoted a discount by Professional Stylist friend for $25/hr Tuxedo Rental: $200 Stationary: $125 Cake: $150 Food Services: $200 Photography: Gift from Professional Photographer friend! Florist: $200 Music: Gift from Professional cousin! Misc Decor: $640 (Includes centerpieces, cake stands, specialty cardstock, votives, ribbon, chalkboard paint, frames, and stencil embosser) Tablecloths & Napkins: $160 Rentals: Labor trade with local vendor!

A word of caution to those looking to cut corners: Weddings come in different shapes and sizes,and while no budget is right or wrong, not all choices made in the name of budget are a good deal. - Be wary of hiring students, craigslist posters, and inexperienced but well-meaning family. They are not "professionals", and while it may be kind of you to give them the experience to hone their skills, do you really want to risk food-poisoning, blurry pictures, or a coordinator who's even more overwhelmed than you? Make a point with every vendor to not settle on anyone until you've seen their portfolio of work and client testimonials. - If a vendor's price quote is going to make or break whether or not you hire them, be absolutely candid with them about your budget. Don't be afraid to ask if they are willing to make a customized package, a payment plan, or allow you to put their service on your wedding registry. - If you think it's going to be cheaper to buy than to rent, think again. Your purchase may not be of the same high quality that a vendor offers, or may have hidden costs. For example, you may think that buying linens and then selling them after the wedding makes more sense, but consider the that you need to have them ironed or they will be wrinkled on the tables, and if you don't dry clean them after the wedding, they will stain. Not to mention the increase in price for paying rather than renting, the risk of a low thread count or sloppy design, and the difficulty to resell, and at a loss.

As real Brides, we too have budget problems. If we had an unlimited budget, we would pick all the highly sought after vendors (and we know who they are!) Sadly, sacrifices must be made. A trick we learned while planning is to weigh out which aspects of your wedding are most important to you and which areas just aren't. Then you can decide how to allot your budget and which vendors are crucial to your vision.

We hope this gives our readers an idea of how to form a wedding budget with limited financial resources; and know that you CAN have your dream wedding, whatever your budget! Happy Planning!

Posted by Kendall Arelleis and Christina Rafael