As a continuation from our previous blog post about planning & being prepared when it comes to your wedding, let’s move on to tip #2: prioritizing
2. Make a list and prioritize: This is probably the number one piece of advice that you’ll hear from planners, post-brides, and party throwers worldwide. Before you get in over your head, sit down and make a list. When constructing that list, make sure the following is in your decor budget ranking list:
A. Linens: poly, satin, specialty — Linens are a lot like paint, there’s lots of different kinds and styles. The main ones are flat (Poly), Shiny (Satin) and Specialty/ Fancy (like Bengaldine or velvet) and all have different price points. In the linen category you also need to sub-categorize:
- tablecloth length: half length or full length? This is determined by the size of your tables. Liene Steven’s of Blue Orchid Designs came up with a great guide to print out and put in your planning notebook—it’s a must have: http://www.thesmartplannerworkshops.com/ebooks/WeddingLinenChartfromBlueOrchidDesigns.pdf
- napkins: are cloth napkins a priority to you? At between .5-$2 a pop, they can be a nice addition if you plan to use as a decorative element (i.e: way to hold menu cards, in place of charger plates, etc) But if you don’t have the budget, then you may want to opt for something less expensive
- runners or accents: Runners can provide a nice decorative touch to your tabletop, and can allow for you to incorporate color to your tablescape (note: most vendors don’t charge additional fees for a colored versus white cloth— so to save you could just do colored cloths on your tables). Runners are nice, but they can definitely tack on a lot to your rental bill.
- chair covers & chair sashes (no, they don’t automatically come together) I discussed these earlier, and there’s basic covers and then more “fancy” covers in different fabric types. Chair covers can bring a touch of elegance and refinement to your event, but with a low-average of 100 chairs at $300 plus delivery and installation (tying chair bows will cost you $$ if you don’t do it yourself, and it’s not an ideal “day of “ kind of job when you’re trying to be a bride the day of your wedding)
B. Lighting: Before chair covers and sashes and linen napkins and runners, I’ll always recommend lighting. Why? Lighting can take a room and transform it with the least amount of overall expense. A little bit of colorwash, uplighting, or Italian string lights can be a great investment for your event.
C. Flowers: Imagine lush centerpieces overflowing with abundant flowers, or a cool submerged piece for your tabletops? Flowers, like almost everything else, falls into categories:
1. Personal Flowers: bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, flower girl petals and ring bearer accents are all in the “personal” category. Depending on your style of bouquet (i.e: cascading versus hand tied, all orchids or roses) you can spend a lot of money here. The bigger the bridal party, the more you need to budget, though a good rule of thumb is 1/3 of your overall flower budget will go to covering the expense of your personal flowers.
2. Ceremony Flowers & Embellishments: pew bows, church door wreaths, altar centerpieces—this can take a chunk out of your floral budget. Always imagined a church festooned with flowers everywhere – then imagine adding some zeroes to your budget. Ceremony flowers are usually larger undertakings, so they can cost more. And while you might be thinking you can move things from the ceremony to the reception, this might not be feasible in terms of the transportation costs or the possible damage to your lovely pieces.
3. Reception flowers: Vases for tables, guestbook tables, buffet tables, bartops, etc….there’s lots of places to put flowers at your reception. When considering your reception budget, be sure to ask your floral designer about centerpiece minimums and then consider a minimum price multipled by your total number of tables (it can add up quickly). When you are brainstorming ideas about what you’d like to have your centerpieces look like, know that things with specialized elements (crystals, branches, etc) will add to the final price, and the price of certain flowers (calla lilies, orchids, etc) will add to the price point. Talk with your designer about your overall budget and be sure to be realistic about expectations.
D. Miscellaneous Décor Extras: paper lanterns, draping, specialty dance floors, monogrammed aisle runners—there’s lots of “others” in the extra category. $20 dollars here and there can add up on the line-item budget: prioritize the importance early on so that you can not faint when you see how much the little things can add up to cost.
Now you may have just read this and thought to yourself, well, I’ve never thought about any of that stuff. Here’s a tip: before you prioritize, sit down with a piece of paper, close your eyes, and imagine what you want your wedding day to look like. Go ahead, indulge yourself. Imagine that you’re about to walk down that aisle, and what’s on the aisle—beautiful pew markers, or shining natural mahogany? Imagine the altar: decked to the nine with flowers, or simply appointed with a unity candle and rose petals? And now, think to your reception—what do you see? What do your tables look like? When you get done playing imaginary bride, open your eyes, and write a letter describing your wedding day to yourself. It’s ok to say “Dear me, I didn’t imagine anything that fancy” or “Dear Me, woah, it’s time to look for that second and third job, because seriously—our wedding day is going to be A-Maz-Ing. And, it’s going to cost a lot of money.”
No matter what, the important thing is being honest to yourself—and that’s the next piece of advice: being honest, being realistic, and knowing when you’re desperately in need of some bridal-realities therapy sessions. Come back Monday to read all about it.