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Everything listed under: wedding budget

  • | #WeddingWednesday | Common Mistakes Not To Make

    wedding aisle with flower frame

    As a bride you might feel pressured to make your wedding day absolutely perfect.  There are a few steps you can make to take some of the weight off your shoulders.  First of all, let the professionals take over so you can focus on enjoying this special time!  But before we can help you, let's look at these common mistakes that we can all learn from.

    Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine recently asked some of the top wedding planners what some of the biggest wedding mistakes were.  Here are the ones we felt were most important but you can read them all here.


    Picking a dress or wedding venue prior to establishing financial parameters is a lot like shopping without glancing at price tags and then strolling up to check out with your fingers crossed. You risk falling for a gown or location that breaks your heart when you realize that to afford it, you'd have to cut your guest list in half—or cancel the honeymoon. "The three initial hurdles are budget, guest list, and venue, and they should be tackled in that order," says planner Lynn Easton of Easton Events in South Carolina and Virginia. "Your budget defines your options and drives your decisions." While drawing one up, "include charges for overtime, gratuities, and car services from the start," advises New York City planner Marcy Blum. "By doing so, you avoid throwing money at things you weren’t prepared for."


    Just because the setting may be breezy doesn't mean the planning is going to be easy. "With alfresco affairs, people think we're just putting a tent in a field, and it’s going to be beautiful," says Hamilton. "They don't realize all the logistics necessary for a tented event to go off without a hitch." Bear in mind you'll need to rent bathrooms, kitchen facilities, lighting, fans or heaters, and generators.


    Yes, the movie version of your big day will go months or even years between viewings, and videography is a tempting place to cut costs. However, "Nothing compares to being able to relive your wedding in real time; it goes by in a flash," says Easton. "Our clients always call us to gush over the details the next day, and it's hard to hear when their only regret is not having hired a videographer."


    Of course you want your family and friends to have fun, but ultimately it's your wedding. Worrying too much about what other think of your decisions will take the joy out of the wedding-planning process and the focus away from what everyone is really celebrating, says Baab. As long as there's enough food, proper temperature control, and plenty of seats, you know your guests are well taken care of. Anything beyond that—colors, dresses, décor, venue—is all about you! 


    It's a commonly shared stat that you can expect at least 10 percent of your guest list to RSVP "no." While that may be the rule-of-thumb, it's not an exact science. And this can mean big problems for your budget or space if you've booked a venue that holds 200 but invited 240 with the expectation that 40 people will skip the festivities. "No one can guarantee how many guests will RSVP and how many won't until invites go out," says Baab. "The only way to truly keep your guest count and budget manageable is to limit your number of invitees." 


    It's great to stick to some wedding traditions if you like them, but don't feel obligated. If you just follow along and do what you think you're supposed to do, you'll end up with a wedding that says nothing about who you are. "What makes each wedding special is the bride and the groom that are being celebrated," says Cameron. "If tradition is important to you, infuse it with your personal style and attitude." With this simple tip in mind you'll create a wedding that shows off your family traditions while also reflecting your personality. 

  • | Get Glowing | Lovely lighting on a budget

    lighting on a budget

    Ask any photographer and they will tell you it's all about the lighting.  Achieving that perfect shot can be a difficult task without the light needed to back it up.  In that respect, event designers face a similar dilemma.  How do you take a room and completely transform it with lighting?  With unlimited resources it can be a fun and exciting undertaking, but when on a budget it quickly becomes a challenge.  That's where we come in!  We work with the best in the industry to achieve whatever look your event needs and fit your budget. 

    Wondering how to keep your lighting costs down?  Here are some tips from Bizbash on how to use lighting on a budget...

    1. Keep the timeline tight.
    Labor is a significant portion of the lighting vendor’s cost, so reducing the number of hours the team has to work in turn reduces the overall bill. “If you can get away with one long day to install, focus, operate, and strike, that will be less expensive than coming in a day or two earlier, as most techs are billed on a day rate,” says David Smith, president of Los Angeles-based ShowPro.

    For similar reasons, Smith suggests automating the process as much as possible. “On larger systems, add automated lights and cut conventional lights,” he says. “Although automated fixtures are more expensive up front, the savings on labor and lifts [to manually focus], especially in union situations, will more than mitigate [the cost].”

    2. Think less is more.
    When cost is a concern, lower-tech solutions can produce results that are just as effective and attractive as the industry’s newest technology.

    For instance, good old-fashioned candlelight is universally flattering—and budget friendly. “To date, the most cost-effective and dramatic solution for enhancing a room is candles,” says Ira Levy, president of Levy Lighting in New York. “If you have to make decisions based upon budget, keep perimeter lighting and opt for candles on the tables.”

    Another simple but crowd-pleasing approach to lighting is using string lights, which make for a budget-friendly solution even in a big space. “Draped string lights can transform large spaces or outdoor areas quickly and create an intimate bistro feel,” Levy says. The strands come in sections as long as 100 feet and, he explains, can create an appealing glow when dimmed. “For a unique feel, use large, round bistro bulbs rather than standard-shaped lightbulbs,” Levy says. “Take it a step further with vintage Edison bulbs—and always use clear bulbs so you can see the glowing filament.”

    Smith adds: “Some of the most beautiful events are lit with candles and practical lamps and chandeliers, with theatrical lighting reserved for the stage and entertainment. Every event doesn’t need to be a color-changing spectacle.”

    3. Exploit video technology.
    Guests aren’t likely to distinguish between lighting and video effects within an event space—but opting for video solutions can significantly cut down on lighting needs and cost. “Video projections covering the roof of a tent virtually eliminate the need for a sizable lighting system, as the reflected light from the projections can cover ambient lighting needs,” Smith says. And for a bonus cost-saving effect: “Often this same projection system can drastically reduce the need for decor as well.”

    4. Cut cords.
    “Not only is [it] an environmentally friendly way to go, but wireless lighting can reduce costs as much as 50 percent,” says Jon Retsky, the co-owner and lead designer behind San Francisco-based Got Light. “While the cost of wireless equipment may be a bit pricey, the savings in cords, wires, gels, tape, and labor adds up, especially in venues that allow very little time to set up and remove.” Going wireless can also lead to savings in power consumption fees from venues.

    “[If there isn’t] money for pattern washes or an elaborate lighting design, sometimes a handful of wireless uplights will transform a room and create high drama in the flick of a switch,” Retsky says. “Uplighting is the first place to start when lighting a room—and frankly you could stop there and still make a huge impact.”

    5. Look for a venue with built-in infrastructure.
    Saving money on event lighting can begin at the point of venue selection. “If you are working on a sound stage or building that is rigging- and power-friendly, you can save loads of money by eliminating the need to build ground support structures to put lighting in the air,” Smith says.

    6. Go for gobos.
    If the video projection and scenic budgets are both limited, Smith suggests organizers consider using custom photo-realistic glass gobos. “The quality of gobos and lighting fixtures has evolved to the point where a producer can achieve dramatic impact by simple gobo projections on the perimeter of an event space,” he says. The reflected light helps cut down on ambient lighting needs, and it makes for scenery that is fluid and eye-catching.

  • Engagements ~ The B Word


    My adviceestablish a budget.

    People tell me all the time they don’t know what they want to spend. When I start throwing around figures, though, it becomes apparent what they don’t want to spend! Having an idea of cost will help you manage the wedding with ease. You may not be able to afford your dream everything, but you can decide what’s important to you and splurge on that aspect. For everything else, search for great alternatives to fit within your budget.

    ~ Brittany