Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to Plan (and Stick to) a Wedding Budget

Congratulations, he's proposed and she said "yes!" So, what now?

Here's a list of things to do to help you plan and stick to a wedding budget.

  • Figure out who will be contributing
  • Well, weddings cost money... An average of over $25,000 in fact according to CostofWedding.com. And this doesn't even include the honeymoon. So, the first thing you should do is figure out where that money is coming from. Your parents, yourselves, a wedding loan, and/or whoever else might be contributing to your special day.
  • Determine your priorities and distribute the money accordingly
  • CostofWedding.com does a good job of giving averages for each of the different vendors you'll need for your wedding. Take their numbers and redistribute the money based on your priorities. If you don't want flowers at your wedding, then dump that money into splurging a bit more on your wedding gown, that fabulous meal for your guests during the reception, or perhaps a talented guitarist for your cocktail hour.
Now that you have your budget, here are a few tips for sticking to it.
  • Track your spending
  • There are lots of free online tools out there for tracking your budget. WeddingWire.com has a decent budget app on their website. It allows you to make notes, add or remove items, and adjust the budget for your needs. It also gives estimates for each of the categories for you. You can also make note of how much you've already paid and how much is left to pay.
  • Adjust for overspending
  • THIS IS IMPORTANT! If you splurge in one area more than estimated, you must compensate for it in another. For example, if you just could not resist hiring that darling (and expensive) photographer that takes those perfect shots you've been envisioning for your wedding, you may have to say good-bye to your dreams of having a videographer. 
  • Keep your priorities straight!
  • Try to resist even looking at vendors and venues that are outside of your budget. You must be strong for this. If it turns out that your allotted amount for a particular area is unrealistic, then readjust the budget and your priorities. Not picky about the invitations? Consider making them yourself if you have a bit of a design eye or ordering from Vista Print. Not too interested in a designer wedding dress? Try shopping at a discount bridal store (not that they don't have great wedding dresses).
The most important thing of all is not to stress. If all of this seems overwhelming, consider hiring a wedding planner. A wedding planner will be able to set up a budget AND help you stick to it. For another perk, a wedding planner will be able to obtain discounts for the vendors in their network. Send me an e-mail at ladyautie@weddingseclectic.com if you'd like an obligation free consultation.

      Monday, March 18, 2013

      Happy St. Birth Day!

      Do you know anyone born on a special day? Of course, your birthday is special just by itself, but what about days like Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Leap Day, or Valentine's Day. I was born on Leap Day myself, but this post isn't about me. It's about my green-loving fiancé who just happened to be born on St. Patrick's Day.

      Since I love surprises, I decided to plan a surprise birthday party for him. The day started out normal as our group of Dungeons and Dragons (also known as DnD or D&D) friends came over to play for a few hours. Of course, they were in on the surprise.

      The Plan

      While we were playing, a pre-specified person would call my fiancé to invite him out for a drink. This person was to have Peter away from the house for an hour while our DnD friends plus other guests invited to the party prepared the house with decoration, food, etc. He comes back, we yell "surprise!" and everyone is happy.

      The Problem

      The pre-specified person called me in the middle of playing to say that he couldn't follow through. With my fiancé at the table with me at the head running the game, I couldn't very well announce this to anyone. Thank goodness for text messaging!

      The Solution

      A flurry of text messages were exchanged among me and my friends. Since being on our phones is part of the norm, it went unnoticed by my fiancé. We had nothing prepared for dinner so I suggested we go pick up pizza. "Hun, would you mind going to pick it up?" I said. "And would you mind keeping the birthday boy company?" I suggest to one of my friends.

      Picking up a pizza takes no time at all, so I suggested a few items be picked up from the store too. When a text came to me from my friend saying they were on their way back, I asked for stalling since we weren't quite ready. In short, he stalled for the perfect amount of time for the rest of the guests to arrive and us all to get ready without any suspicion.

      He says it's the best birthday he's had in a long time. :)

      Happy Monday!

      ~Autie

      Friday, March 15, 2013

      Hello!


      Welcome to my new blog! My name is Autra, or you can call me by my internet name, Autie. Here is where I'll be talking about weddings and events I'm planning and giving planning advice along the way, websites I'm working on, and my photography ventures.

      Just a tidbit about me and why I call myself "Eclectic." My interests vary widely from books, to writing, to planning events, to technology and this is only the start of the list. I must also mention that I am a proud geek. I have been this way since before it was cool. ;) Ask me about it and I just might write a geek out blog post.

      Let's kick off this first post with an engagement party in the works... My own. Oh, did I mention that? I'm also a bride.

      We were engaged in Paris. The proposal happened during a dinner cruise on the River Seine as we were passing the brightly lit Eiffel Tower. Ah, it was such a wonderful (and cold!) moment. We were on our 3 week vacation through 4 countries. We want our engagement party to reflect the amazement and joy we felt during that time, so one thing we're planning to do is display the scrapbook we're putting together from the trip.
      Since we are hosting our own engagement party and there's not much room in our $20k budget, we want to keep the costs low. (Though traditionally the hosting of the engagement party went to the bride's parents, more couples are opting to host it themselves for one reason or another. Check out this article on The Wedding Channel for more info.) It just so happens that there's a caterer named Addy's Paella that has reasonable prices for their paella pans. This is relevant to our vacation because it was in Barcelona, Spain where we had paella for the first time. Addy's doesn't require a kitchen so this makes it simple to find an inexpensive venue.
      The venue search will have to wait until a later post, however. For now, I want to express my excitement for having another outlet for creativity and another medium for interacting with you all!

      'Till we meet again,

      ~Autie