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Budget Weddings

Get a wedding planner for the whole wedding, a day of coordinator, or something else.

Hello. I am starting on planning my wedding recently planning on having it around Nov 15. I have started looking at checklist and what to do and venues to look at which is pretttttyyy overwhelming. I was wondering what someone who planned it themselves or had a planned would recommend. I was thinking of having a wedding budget of $7-8000 for the whole wedding. Around West Covina area. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Re: Get a wedding planner for the whole wedding, a day of coordinator, or something else.

  • I don't know where West Corvina is or relative costs there, but I would not consider a planner at first . After seeing some area venues and narrowing down your choices to what you want for reception food and drink, then pricing gowns and menswear, you can see what is realistic.

    Anyone who is reasonably organized can plan a wedding and reception. When the budget is 30,000 or more, it is easy to let go of the percentage or fee.
    Well,easier.
    But for me and most of my friends and relations with 5000 to 25,000 budgets, spending 500 to 2500 for someone else to gather info I would then go over and make decisions about would have meant doing without things I really wanted, for something easily done by me - NO WAY.

    Nothing is hard. It is just a pricy costume party for planning purposes. You may also be surprised at how you enjoy the process of seeing things come together.
    This is likely the first time you and FI have laid out this kind of money for something with lots of little choices, rather than a residence or single big thing. Working out priorities and each taking responsibility for some things, facing numerous obstacles and working things out with no fighting, is the best marriage prep for real life. Preview of in-law relationships included free of charge. Future household budgeting too.
    I found that in planning for myself and numerous family and friends, at least half of what is on those intimidating planning checklists can be crossed out for any particular bride. Spend a month pricing etc. after an initial list making session to determine the number of people to plan for.
    We did it with a five month engagement period and that included a Maggie dress with some custom changes made at the factory. Don't let dress shops pressure you with how soon you must make up your mind.
    Do yourself a real favor and buy an actual etiquette book. The principles of good manners in entertaining from 5 to 7 years ago are the same as now, and lots of people sell etiquette books after all wedding and maybe early couples entertaining and first baby issues are past. Or check out one from the library. The book will increase your level of confidence with every step of planning.

    Enjoy it. Planning is all anticipation and is exciting.
    twoleighsVgalz
  • Neither a coordinator or a planner are must haves, it depends on the type of wedding you want. Some people rely on family/friends for the details. I would prefer not to do that which is a big part of why we hired a doc. How many guests (roughly) are you intending to have? What is your general sense of the type of wedding you want to have? Will it be outdoors, will it be a simple ceremony and dinner at a restaurant? 

    A day-of-coordinator can be money well spent. This is not someone who plans the wedding, but instead begins to take over a couple weeks before the wedding (following up with vendors, etc), and does what you would do on your wedding day if it wasn't your wedding day -- pays vendors, makes sure things run on time, etc. 

    I don't know the going rates where you are, we are paying $700 for a day of coordinator and her assistant. A friend of mine is hiring someone with less experience for $400 for the day. 

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  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    I dont think you will be able to find a wedding planner that will fit your budget, or a quality one that would worth  the money. And most day of coordinators I know range from $500- $1500, which is a huge chunk of your budget. So I would try to stay really organized and plan it yourself.

    *West Covina is in the Inland Empire, so east of LA and Pasadena.

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • Wondered where W. Covina was. I think Greenland is closer to me.
  • It depends on how much time you have to deal with things & what things cost around your area. I know that for that budget & what things cost in my area I couldn't afford a planner at any level. One thing that made it easier for me is that I wanted to keep things simple but elegant. My venue was great with that. The person price that they gave me included all linens (chairs too), food, bar, cake, centerpieces from their inventory, card box. So I didn't have to deal with linen rentals, a cake vendor or florist for centerpieces or a card box. That made things so easy for me.  All that left me with was my bridal party, photographer, limo and ceremony details to worry about. If you plan on having a large wedding party and you aren't someone who normally will stand up and take charge, you may want to day of coordinator to help make sure your bridal party stays on schedule & does what they need to do.
  • KatWAG said:

    I dont think you will be able to find a wedding planner that will fit your budget, or a quality one that would worth  the money. And most day of coordinators I know range from $500- $1500, which is a huge chunk of your budget. So I would try to stay really organized and plan it yourself.

    *West Covina is in the Inland Empire, so east of LA and Pasadena.

    I agree it would be a potentially big part of the budget here. But I also think it's not a matter of just staying organized. No matter how organized you are it's difficult to see to all the details yourself on your wedding day, when you need to be getting ready and getting married. If you're like the previous poster and your venue will basically take care of everything, that reduces the headache a lot. Also, I'm not a big fan of asking people for favors, but I have had a couple friends volunteer day-of help - for example, picking up stuff at our house and bringing it to the venue. If OP has folks like that it will help. 
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  • dolewhipperdolewhipper [wh]orlando member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    I'm having a DOC mainly because I was MOH for my sister wedding and saw exactly what could happen if you don't have one: your friends and family or you and your FI become it. 

    I don't want to ask or have anyone feel like they need to take more time out of their day to set up my wedding. I also don't trust venue coordinators since their priority is them and their company, not you. 
    The last wedding I was at the venue coordinator messed up the entire seating arrangement. Wasn't too big of a deal because there were only 7 tables but for my 150 guest wedding that could be a cluster. I don't want to know about the florist who delivered the wrong flowers or that the limo is late. 

    My sister had a $3-4k budget. She had it in a large home so everything had to be rented, set up and taken down and cleaned up. I wish she would had hired even a $400 DOC so I didn't have to order people around and set up tables and flowers. Some of the family members got stuck bringing chairs in from the ceremony space to the dinner space as well as cleaning up after. It was a great wedding but not smart planning.


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  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited December 2014

    @lilbreeezy stop spamming the broads trying to push a wedding planning books. these ladies are looking for an actual person

    @knotriley

    BabyFruit Ticker

  • My sister had a $3-4k budget. She had it in a large home so everything had to be rented, set up and taken down and cleaned up. I wish she would had hired even a $400 DOC so I didn't have to order people around and set up tables and flowers. Some of the family members got stuck bringing chairs in from the ceremony space to the dinner space as well as cleaning up after. It was a great wedding but not smart planning.
    I suspect also on tight budgets you could find someone very even less if you look to craigslist. You might need to interview a bunch but I suspect there are a lot of folks out there who are just getting started in event planning and would take less, depending on the market you're in. I only mention the experience level in my other post to note that different coordinators have different prices. The girl my bride friend hired works with a big event planner in town and is still learning. I actually think she is overpaying this girl because I know the girl in question and wouldn't have hired her myself. 
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  • Usually a wedding planner gives a complimentary meeting/session just to discuss the schematics of your day.  She/he may just give advice/resources for a small fee and be there for the day.  I am assuming you are not having more than 100 guests, so it should not be too expensive.  They may have options such as a basic planning package, but whatever you decide, having at least a coordinator could take a lot of weight and pressure off.  they will deal with your venue/deliveries of items for your reception, etc.  Some are only a few hundred dollars.  Ask if you could have someone for the day for 3 hours.  You don't need them for four or five.  
  • I'm not sure what kind of wedding you're planning, but I'll tell you this:

    My biggest regret is NOT having hired a DOC. We had a very DIY wedding. We did it all, from the food to the setup. Because there was no one officially "running" things, there were a few minor hiccups along the way that a DOC could have prevented or helped with. 
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    dolewhipper
  • I did all the planning work myself--both to have more budget for other things and because I'm organized and very specific about how I do things.  I did, however, have a DOC for all the little things that came up--the old people that showed up to venue almost an hour early, the pin the best man lost for his boutonniere, carrying around some little things like oil blotting sheets, moving the guestbook from the ceremony, etc.  It was well worth the $500 or $600 I spent to have someone running around so that I didn't have to ask someone like my mom to do it.  I wanted my family and friends to enjoy the day, not have me pestering them with questions or greeting vendors, tendering money envelopes, etc.
    dolewhipper
  • I was debating on getting a planner or a DOC for our wedding next September. I didn't want my family to be responsible for getting all of these little details together. I want everyone there to enjoy our day.

     

    Try to sit down and chat with a couple different people. That's what I did. I ended up hiring our DOC to help me partially plan the rest of my wedding for only a little bit more money. It's been such a blessing to have her so far!!

     

    Don't rush into anything. Really do your research on planners as well as different venues. Depending on the type of venue you want you might not really need to worry about hiring too many extra people if you have a venue that includes a ton.

     

    Good luck!

  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited December 2014
    A planner/DOC might take up a large part of your budget. 

    I think a wedding can be planned without help if you are organized. I started looking at places online and narrowed it down to a handful, then started making phone calls with a list of questions pre-made. What do you charge, and what is included for that price? (Just food, food + alcohol, any decor, etc) How many hours? How many guests does the room fit? Are we able to "customize" the package if desired? Parking? Etc. Etc. Narrowed it down to 3 then went and looked at those venues personally- chose from there.

    Same with flowers, DJ, cupcakes, and photographers- narrowed it down to 3 then made in-person appointments with each. I was able to get recommendations from friends, so I went with those too, knowing my friends were of similar mind set in choosing vendors (good quality for the best price). 

    I think having *someone* on the day of is helpful. We had a venue coordinator for the day of (as well as the rehearsal), which was part of the cost of the venue. I didn't really engage with this person much one on one the day of, but we had a plan set out prior with a timeline so things happened when they were supposed to. We also had the ceremony and reception at the same location, which made things pretty easy, and we didn't have many "extras" beyond what the venue provided so there wasn't much set up or delivery stuff to worry about. I think if the plan for the day/ venue was more "open" then a DOC would be helpful. 
    Knottie16476291
  • One other thing to consider is that your venue may do much of the coordination depending on where you have your ceremony/reception. We actually chose our venue, even though it was about $2000 more expensive, because they do all the coordination. All you have to do is drop off the favors/place cards and they do all the vendor coordination for you. If you can do a ceremony/reception at a hotel, this may be possible within your budget.
  • Right now I am ranking venues higher if they come with some kind of planning/coordination help. I was recently invited to a wedding where my FI was a groomsmen (I was not in the wedding), and bridesmaids, groomsmen, and their partners had to (read: were expected to) help set up the night before and the day of, and clean up after. To put it nicely, I would not recommend doing that with your guests. And this largely occurred because the couple wanted to save money and not hire someone to coordinate. 

    End result: I smelled like cocktail hour cheese because when I arrived for the ceremony it needed to be cut. 

    You get the idea.

    I personally don't plan on hiring someone to do the whole planning, but if the venue I pick doesn't come with a DOC, I am definitely hiring one.
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  • kmmssg said:
    Who is your MOH, are they well organized? 
    Just a note to say, it doesn't matter whether your MOH is well organized. It is 100% not the MOH's job to coordinate on the day of the wedding (or to help plan). A kick-ass friend may offer to help with the wedding, but ultimately having any guest or wedding party member be responsible for coordinating the day is not treating them like an honored guest, but like unpaid labor. It's also just a really bad idea. I have been the MOH finishing up wedding tasks on the morning of the wedding, and it doesn't feel good to be treated that way. 
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    charcoalandblush
  • This is my second marriage (first for my fiancé). My first wedding was also a budget wedding. We were engaged 10 months but planned the wedding in only 6 weeks. Even a 3k wedding for 50 people is a lot to plan/ coordinate without help but it was a necessity at the time as we were only 20 and 21 with a newborn. We are spending double this time on the same amount of people and I hired a day of coordinator to make sure everything goes smoothly. We could have a more expensive wedding this time around but my fiancé has been in the wedding industry for half of his life and finds it to be a huge waste of money. I conceded by using a smaller venue with less guests but I refuse to give up on a beautiful wedding. I highly recommend at the very least a day of coordinator. Mine is a family friend who owns a wedding planning business and has already been such a huge help. It will be such a relief to not have to worry about anything the day of and just show up after all these months of planning.
  • I hired a caterer that will serve as a day-of coordinator. The girl who manages my venue will also be on-hand all day to direct guests and ensure the flow of the day. I don't see any need to book anyone to coordinate on top of these two.  

    I am handling all of the vendor-booking and pre-planning myself, going to DIY a lot of decorations, centerpieces, and such - and then the caterer will put them up and do the work on the actual day. 
  • Since you are in West Covina, I would look at The Overwhelmed Bride. I recently just hired her for my SoCal wedding using a 50% off rate special she had. If you are willing to spare the money, she is a good deal. For her day-of services she starts working with you about a month out to contact/confirm with vendors, check out your schedule, etc. She also does set-up/clean-up. I would consider it...

    Wedding Countdown Ticker

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  • Hi! I am in the LA area too and have hired day of coordinator Falon Ballard. She is awesome and will give you a one hour consult (ask a million questions to get started) included in her $400 for the day of coordination service. Then you can email her questions while you plan and that's included too! Amazing deal and you NEED someone on the day of to tell everyone where to go and to set up the tables for you... I felt amazing after meeting with her. you can google her name and you'll find her contact  :) 
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