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Budget Weddings

How & Can I Do It?!?!

 Hello all, I am planning to get married next year in July but I am scared because of my budget & planning for all of this. I know a Venue that we want which is the Le Meridien in Arlington, VA but it is pricey, $13000 to be exact but it includes catering & the reception & ceremony among many other things. We also need a DJ & a honeymoon that we are trying to plan. There is a payment plan that can be arranged of course for the Venue but is this too much. I did not plan on my budget being this big but I feel like it will be worth it.

Re: How & Can I Do It?!?!

  • If you can't write out the check or payments without fear/gasping for air - it's too expensive and probably not worth it in the long term.  Find a place you can actually afford (figure out realistically what you can afford to spend and the real number of guests you plan to invite FIRST!!!  DO NOT look at venues until you have those two numbers in-hand!!!!)

     There are many fabulous venues in the Arlington, VA area.  Don't get your heart set on one until you have the REAL preliminary details worked out!

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    DizzyRaethespeshulestsnowflake[Deleted User]
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited June 2015

    DizzyRae said:
     Hello all, I am planning to get married next year in July but I am scared because of my budget & planning for all of this. I know a Venue that we want which is the Le Meridien in Arlington, VA but it is pricey, $13000 to be exact but it includes catering & the reception & ceremony among many other things. We also need a DJ & a honeymoon that we are trying to plan. There is a payment plan that can be arranged of course for the Venue but is this too much. I did not plan on my budget being this big but I feel like it will be worth it.
    You are planning your wedding backwards.  The venue is the last thing you should choose.

    1.  Determine your budget.  Exactly how much money do you have to spend?
    2.  Draw up a guest list.  Include your FI's family and friends.  Add ten just to be safe.
    3.  If you are Catholic, talk to your priest ASAP.
    4.  Think about what kind of wedding you can afford.  An afternoon ceremony with cake and punch is affordable, and very traditional.  A morning ceremony with a formal brunch reception costs half of what an expensive dinner reception would cost.
    5.  After considering all of the above, NOW you can look at venues.  Don't forget to include taxes and tips in your calculations.  VA is expensive! 
    If any venue does not fill all the requirements of this list, you should definitely not use it!  Your guests comfort is more important than your wedding vision.

    PS.My daughter had a lovely brunch reception at the Norbeck Country Club in Rockville. MD.
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    DizzyRaesouthernbelle0915MesmrEwe
  • Yes but we love the venue. Lol, we have 50 guests so far, we know we want an afternoon wedding, we know the colors.
  • DizzyRae said:
    Yes but we love the venue. Lol, we have 50 guests so far, we know we want an afternoon wedding, we know the colors.
    It's fine to love the venue, but the consequences of booking a venue before figuring out your guest count and overall budget are pretty awful:

    - you can't invite people you want to invite (NEVER invite over capacity)
    - you can't afford stuff you want

    Just do that homework first - it shouldn't take very long (maybe an evening) to hammer out a guest list and what you can afford to spend on a wedding. If you have more guests than the venue can fit, you know you either have to cut or move the venue. If you don't have the money, then you dodged a bullet.
    *********************************************************************************

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    DizzyRaeCMGragainMesmrEwe
  • DizzyRae said:
    Yes but we love the venue. Lol, we have 50 guests so far, we know we want an afternoon wedding, we know the colors.

    That's great, but you're still doing it backwards. You start with the budget first -- how much do you have to spend total? 
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    DizzyRae
  • DizzyRae said:
    Yes but we love the venue. Lol, we have 50 guests so far, we know we want an afternoon wedding, we know the colors.
    I can think of a lot of venues in my area I love, and wish I could have booked.  They were out of my budget, so they were not viable options.  Simple as that.

    It would not be worth it to go into debt for your wedding.
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    [Deleted User]CMGragainMesmrEwe
  • I am looking up places now close to Washington DC that may come with catering services perhaps.
  • Yes I am trying to figure out a precise budget. I do have a guest list,I have 50 people.
  • My first was at one of the Historic Houses in Fairfax County. The price was reasonable and we were able to bring in our own vendors which also brought down the price. Check them out. Mine was at Cabell's Mill. 


    DizzyRae
  • Perhaps you have fallen in love with something that you cannot afford.  Here is a wonderful piece of advice from Miss Manners.

    1. When you had that childhood wedding fantasy, you were a child. If you don't have better taste and a greater sense of social and fiscal responsibility now, you're too immature to get married.

    2. People are more important than menus. Figure out first whom you want to have there, and then what you can afford to serve them, not the other way around.

    3. A phrase you will be happier if you forget: "the perfect wedding." Perfection does not exist this side of heaven, especially when it involves complicated arrangements and all kinds of other people, and you'll drive yourself and others crazy if you think you can achieve it.

    4. Another phrase you will be happier forgetting: "It's your day." The joining of two people involves two (or more) families and other relatives and friends, and you ignore their feelings and comfort at your peril.

    5. Your guests are not your personal shoppers.


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    DizzyRae
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited June 2015
    DizzyRae said:
    Yes I am trying to figure out a precise budget. I do have a guest list,I have 50 people.
    Have you talked to both of your sets of parents yet, considered social couples, added 10%???  It's easy to start with thinking "oh, it'll only be 50" - then you sit down with names, add a social units, couple of kids, officiant, couple photographers, DJ (yes, some of your vendors will have it as part of the contract that they be fed!), etc.  50 is too even of a number to have really worked out your guest list.  Next, budget, if you don't have the money now, you aren't going to have it in 12 months.  Going into debt for a wedding IS NOT worth it!  You will find a venue you love just as much that's within your budget.  But the one you listed just isn't it.  For $13K in that area with 50 guests, you should be able to do 100% including your dress, cake, DJ, venue, food, drinks, tux, flowers, etc. with money to spare.  Going UNDER budget is attainable without doing anything yourself for less than what this venue wants to charge you!
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    CMGragainDizzyRae
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited June 2015
    What is important to me at a wedding: (Completely my own opinion)

    1. Climate control - I dislike outdoor weddings, especially if they come with mosquitoes!  Give me heat/air-conditioning!
    2.  Comfortable place to sit and a place to put my glass and plate.
    3.  Food!!!!
    4.  Noise level  I hate it when the music is so loud that I can't hear the person seated next to me.
    5.  Ease of parking the car.
    6.  Stairs, but no elevators.  I have trouble walking up and down stairs.
    7.  Timing.  Please don't make me wait forever.  Your pictures should not be more important than your guests.

    What I don't care about at a wedding:

    1.  Centerpieces
    2.  Themes.  It's a WEDDING, not prom.
    3.  Alcohol.  I know I am probably in the minority, but we just aren't big drinkers. A glass of wine is nice.
    4.  Dancing.  DH hates it.  I don't mind others dancing for a while, but if you don't have dancing, I wouldn't miss it.
    5.  Pretty venues.  They are nice, but comfortable is better than pretty.
    6.  Favors.  Only if they are chocolate.  I never turn that down.
    7.  Expensive invitations.  Eh.
    8.  Custom printed napkins. Who cares?
    9.  Custom printed stamps for postage.  Extravagant.
    10.  Calligraphy.  Your own handwriting is perfectly fine.
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    [Deleted User]MesmrEweDizzyRae
  • Like PP said, if it's going to be hard to do the payments or you get a pit in your stomach when you write the monthly check, find another venue. It's not worth it not to have money for other things just to have a specific venue.

    MesmrEwe
  • CMGragain said:
    What is important to me at a wedding: (Completely my own opinion)

    1. Climate control - I dislike outdoor weddings, especially if they come with mosquitoes!  Give me heat/air-conditioning!
    2.  Comfortable place to sit and a place to put my glass and plate.
    3.  Food!!!!
    4.  Noise level  I hate it when the music is so loud that I can't hear the person seated next to me.
    5.  Ease of parking the car.
    6.  Stairs, but no elevators.  I have trouble walking up and down stairs.
    7.  Timing.  Please don't make me wait forever.  Your pictures should not be more important than your guests.

    What I don't care about at a wedding:

    1.  Centerpieces
    2.  Themes.  It's a WEDDING, not prom.
    3.  Alcohol.  I know I am probably in the minority, but we just aren't big drinkers. A glass of wine is nice.
    4.  Dancing.  DH hates it.  I don't mind others dancing for a while, but if you don't have dancing, I wouldn't miss it.
    5.  Pretty venues.  They are nice, but comfortable is better than pretty.
    6.  Favors.  Only if they are chocolate.  I never turn that down.
    7.  Expensive invitations.  Eh.
    8.  Custom printed napkins. Who cares?
    9.  Custom printed stamps for postage.  Extravagant.
    10.  Calligraphy.  Your own handwriting is perfectly fine.
    I really like this list.  But, for me, I'd take stairs off the first one and alcohol off the second one.
    lyndausvi
  • Thank you all for your help, so we figured out our final budget which was $10,000 & the place we found which comes with catering, event space, wedding cake, designs & etc is included & less than that dep. Now my only fear is how to invite guests. We decided to have only 50 because we want something small. But my family is big & I invited all my aunts & 1 uncle which totals to 9 people plus their spouses or 1 adult child. So I did not invite all my family because there are too many people. I invited the main people I think & feel like will approve of my wedding & not badger it because it is a gay wedding. I feel like this is going to cause a big debate or family problem. I do not care that much but then again I do because I do not want to worry about all that. I do have some cousins or even friends that I want to go but I do not want to invite so many people & spend so much when they may not even come.
  • DizzyRae said:
    Thank you all for your help, so we figured out our final budget which was $10,000 & the place we found which comes with catering, event space, wedding cake, designs & etc is included & less than that dep. Now my only fear is how to invite guests. We decided to have only 50 because we want something small. But my family is big & I invited all my aunts & 1 uncle which totals to 9 people plus their spouses or 1 adult child. So I did not invite all my family because there are too many people. I invited the main people I think & feel like will approve of my wedding & not badger it because it is a gay wedding. I feel like this is going to cause a big debate or family problem. I do not care that much but then again I do because I do not want to worry about all that. I do have some cousins or even friends that I want to go but I do not want to invite so many people & spend so much when they may not even come.
    This is why you send RSVP's with the invites - Not everyone you invite is going to 100% show up regardless (AND, some of the people you THINK may not be supportive, may at the end of the day surprise the heck out of you in being your biggest supporters).  But what I can't figure out is how have you invited people if you don't have your location and other logistics already booked?  It sounds like you're putting the cart before the horse on too many details here.  It sounds like you need a coordinator as part of your budget instead of impulse deciding everything before you've asked the key questions of budget, etiquette, and logistics of event planning.
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    CMGragainDizzyRaepinupbride6189
  • scoettoscoetto member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments Name Dropper 5 Love Its
    edited June 2015
    MesmrEwe said:
    DizzyRae said:
    Thank you all for your help, so we figured out our final budget which was $10,000 & the place we found which comes with catering, event space, wedding cake, designs & etc is included & less than that dep. Now my only fear is how to invite guests. We decided to have only 50 because we want something small. But my family is big & I invited all my aunts & 1 uncle which totals to 9 people plus their spouses or 1 adult child. So I did not invite all my family because there are too many people. I invited the main people I think & feel like will approve of my wedding & not badger it because it is a gay wedding. I feel like this is going to cause a big debate or family problem. I do not care that much but then again I do because I do not want to worry about all that. I do have some cousins or even friends that I want to go but I do not want to invite so many people & spend so much when they may not even come.
    This is why you send RSVP's with the invites - Not everyone you invite is going to 100% show up regardless (AND, some of the people you THINK may not be supportive, may at the end of the day surprise the heck out of you in being your biggest supporters).  But what I can't figure out is how have you invited people if you don't have your location and other logistics already booked?  It sounds like you're putting the cart before the horse on too many details here.  It sounds like you need a coordinator as part of your budget instead of impulse deciding everything before you've asked the key questions of budget, etiquette, and logistics of event planning.

    This. All of this. 

  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited June 2015
    Don't forget to add in taxes and tips.  They can add 20% to your total.  Ouch!  Also not included are invitations and postage, wedding clothing, rings, officiant fees, license fees.  Make sure you have it all covered.  Have a wonderful wedding!
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    MesmrEwe
  • DizzyRae said:
    Thank you all for your help, so we figured out our final budget which was $10,000 & the place we found which comes with catering, event space, wedding cake, designs & etc is included & less than that dep. Now my only fear is how to invite guests. We decided to have only 50 because we want something small. But my family is big & I invited all my aunts & 1 uncle which totals to 9 people plus their spouses or 1 adult child. So I did not invite all my family because there are too many people. I invited the main people I think & feel like will approve of my wedding & not badger it because it is a gay wedding. I feel like this is going to cause a big debate or family problem. I do not care that much but then again I do because I do not want to worry about all that. I do have some cousins or even friends that I want to go but I do not want to invite so many people & spend so much when they may not even come.
    Surely you haven't sent out invitations to a wedding that you haven't yet planned?  Do you mean that you sounded them out about it?
    Invitations are sent out six to eight weeks before the wedding, no sooner!  Most people send RSVP cards and postage with the invitations, though it is not required.  I highly recommend Vistaprint for economical, but pretty invitations in small quantities.  Wording for a gay wedding is no different than wording for a hetero wedding.
    I am afraid that there is no way that you can invite people before your plans are finalized.
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    DizzyRae
  • No nothing was sent out at all, I am just trying to figure out what 50 people I want to invite. I am trying to make sure I invite people who I know will come. & the wedding venue includes tax & everything. only thing we need now is florist, wedding dress, my tux, & ring. Thats all.
  • I picked a number of guests (35). Picked a budget ($5,000) and then found a venue that fit my guest list and budget (under $600, and fits 40 people). Next is the officiant, $400. Then you budget out the rest according to budget making sure that your guests are properly hosted with food and drinks and that there is a seat for every butt.
    DizzyRae
  • DizzyRae said:
    No nothing was sent out at all, I am just trying to figure out what 50 people I want to invite. I am trying to make sure I invite people who I know will come. & the wedding venue includes tax & everything. only thing we need now is florist, wedding dress, my tux, & ring. Thats all.
    Why don't you make a guest list rather than trying to fit guests into an arbitrary number?  So, make a list of all the people you can't imagine not having with you on the day you marry; bestest friends and closest family, include their significant others, and count that number.  If it's more than your arbitrary number of 50, then that is your new guest list.  If it's less than 50, keep adding people that you're less close to until you get up to 50, then that is your guest list.  Find a location that will fit that number of people and is less than your budgeted amount.  If not everybody comes, then you save money and can buy yourself something cute or put it into savings or pay your AmEx.
    DizzyRae
  • DizzyRae said:
    We decided to have only 50 because we want something small. But my family is big & I invited all my aunts & 1 uncle which totals to 9 people plus their spouses or 1 adult child. So I did not invite all my family because there are too many people. I invited the main people I think & feel like will approve of my wedding & not badger it because it is a gay wedding. I feel like this is going to cause a big debate or family problem. I do not care that much but then again I do because I do not want to worry about all that. I do have some cousins or even friends that I want to go but I do not want to invite so many people & spend so much when they may not even come.
    I just want to throw out there that within the constraints of your venue, you won't necessarily pay the full price for people who do not come. If your venue has a minimum number, that comes into play obviously, and of course you are paying for invitations, but not necessarily everything. If you're worried about low response rates, factor that into your choice of venue (or at least have that conversation with this venue if you've already signed the contract). 

    We invited 100 people to our wedding. We knew we'd get a lot of rejections, so we picked a venue that was not going to charge us extra fees if we fell below that number (which many of the venues around here do). Sure enough, with all but a few RSVPs in, our total count is going to fall below 70. And as long as I have that number in before the deadlines, we are not on the hook for those 30 extra people's dinners, cake, etc. 

    Plan for 100% attendance -- always. You need to be able to fit and pay for every single person you invite should they RSVP yes. But if your main concern is that you'll end up paying for people that decide not to come, you really won't for the most part. With that being said, if these people are going to be a hostile presence and you don't want them at your wedding, that's up to you. I wish I'd had the guts to do that with most of my extended family. 


    DizzyRae
  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown mod
    Moderator Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    adk19 said:
    DizzyRae said:
    No nothing was sent out at all, I am just trying to figure out what 50 people I want to invite. I am trying to make sure I invite people who I know will come. & the wedding venue includes tax & everything. only thing we need now is florist, wedding dress, my tux, & ring. Thats all.
    Why don't you make a guest list rather than trying to fit guests into an arbitrary number?  So, make a list of all the people you can't imagine not having with you on the day you marry; bestest friends and closest family, include their significant others, and count that number.  If it's more than your arbitrary number of 50, then that is your new guest list.  If it's less than 50, keep adding people that you're less close to until you get up to 50, then that is your guest list.  Find a location that will fit that number of people and is less than your budgeted amount.  If not everybody comes, then you save money and can buy yourself something cute or put it into savings or pay your AmEx.


    this. When inviting people to your wedding, you invite those who you want to share your day with, regardless if you think they can come or not. You might know that someone has a conflict at this moment, but things change. I was invited to a wedding last summer and RSVPed yes. A couple of weeks later, I was diagnosed with cancer. I could no longer go. Alternatively, someone might say that they can't take off of work, but what if they find a new job by then? Or they are able to switch days off with a colleague?

    Make a guest list of everyone would love to have there, regardless of their current circumstances, and see what that number comes out to be.

     







    DizzyRae[Deleted User]
  • Yes but I have a lotttt of cousins & maybe some few friends I want to be there. My thing is some of the cousins or family dont make it to all or majority family cookouts so why would they make it to my wedding. Why would I depend on them to do so? Plus Im afraid of sending too many invites out then more people than I expected come.
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    DizzyRae said:
    Yes but I have a lotttt of cousins & maybe some few friends I want to be there. My thing is some of the cousins or family dont make it to all or majority family cookouts so why would they make it to my wedding. Why would I depend on them to do so? Plus Im afraid of sending too many invites out then more people than I expected come.
    What?  Family cookout =/= wedding.  You're not depending on them to attend, you're inviting them and making sure that you can host 100% of your guest list in case you have to.  Your last sentence doesn't make sense.  You send out exactly how many invitations you need to to invite the people on your guest list.  You ask for RSVPs at a reasonable time (1-3 weeks before the wedding depending on your caterer).  If anybody doesn't RSVP you call them and ask if they're planning to attend.  If anybody RSVPs for more people than are invited you call them and politely clarify that the invitation is only for X and Y and that you can't accommodate Z but you hope they'll still be able to make it.  It's not complicated, really. 



    DizzyRaeAddieCake[Deleted User]
  • DizzyRae said:
    Yes but I have a lotttt of cousins & maybe some few friends I want to be there. My thing is some of the cousins or family dont make it to all or majority family cookouts so why would they make it to my wedding. Why would I depend on them to do so? Plus Im afraid of sending too many invites out then more people than I expected come.
    Weddings tend to be bigger deals than family cookouts, so especially if your family is local-ish (which I assume they are if cookouts are involved?) you might be surprised at how many people are actually willing to attend. But as Viczaesar said, it's not usually a situation where you are depending on them to attend. The exception would be if you had chosen a venue that requires you to hit at least X number and without these cousins you'd fall below that (which seems unlikely if you've been going forward with a plan for 50 people). 

    If you mean depending on them emotionally, trust me, I get that you might not want to open yourself up to that. I invited the whole extended family because I had to, started to count on them coming because my folks told me to, and although we came out ahead financially I was bitterly disappointed when almost no one took me up on it. But, it's probably better that I offered. 

    I think you're giving off the impression that you do want these people there, or want to at least ask, but don't want to be disappointed, which is why people keep explaining to you how you can make this work. If you DON'T actually want those people there, then it's of course a separate issue, but it sounds like you would like them to come? 
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