Friday, November 16, 2007

How to Build a $25,000 wedding

...or die trying.

I have a Platinum (full-service) client, Olivia, who only wants to spend $25,000 for her wedding next August. for 150 guests This will actually be her second wedding, since they're also having a ceremony in Europe in June. No, I don't get to go to that one. Yes, I am kind of bummed about that.
So far:

SEPTEMBER
We started off where everyone starts - Where to have it? Olivia wanted to have the ceremony outside, in a pictaresque location. I'd just done a wedding in August at Villa del Sol d'oro in Sierra Madre, this gorgeous Italian Villa, so that was my first recommendation. We went with her mom to check it out, but they also wanted to look at some place that had it's own catering. We went to the Altadena Town and Country Club next. They have a great menu starting at $69.95 per person, both indoor and outdoor ceremony sites, reception room rental starting at $3,000. Oliva reserved a date for next August.
I also suggested that if she wanted to save money on a dress, she could have it made - I know a great seamstress, Debbie LaFranchi at Debbie's Creative Costumes who could make her dress for somewhere between $500-1000. But Olivia had already found and bought a dress she loved that was way more expensive, but she LOVES it, like, her eyes light up when she talks about it, even. Since it's being spread out over a couple of weddings, and one of relatives is helping her pay for it, she doesn't want to add it to the total, though.
Total spent so far:
Coordination Fee: $3000 + Altadena Country Club:$16,217.50 = $19,217.50
...I know, just like that, right? The reception usually takes about 50% of your budget, so she's a little behind right now. Note that the total doesn't include decorations or alchol (which , which will be added later.

OCTOBER
Time to find a photographer. When you're planning your wedding, always start with the most expensive line items first, like your venue and your caterer. Once you've got those nailed down, you now know how much you have left to spend on everything else. Olivia also has an advantage because she's starting out so early, so she can pick and choose a little bit more freely. If you don't have a year, I suggest going to Here Comes the Guide and being VERY specific about what will fit into your budget, pick your first five vendor choices in each category, and go from there.

Anway, photographers. I first introduced Olivia to Jen and Nate from B and G Photography, and she loved their pictures. I love their pictures, too (seriously, look at the pictures), and they are wonderful to work with, and they're pretty much my first recommendation for anyone looking for a photographer. They start at around $3,500, and that includes an engagement photography session beforehand, a photo print package, plus you're paying for two photographers, so it's a pretty good deal. Olivia's fiancee was hoping to spend a little less money, especially in liew of that the reception is costing, so I looked in my archive and found Enchanted Portraiture, which has a package where they hand you a disc with all your pictures on it for about $2500. It's very basic, but Curtis Bloom does wonderful work as well. Both photographers will have materials at my wedding planning workshop on December 2nd, so come on by.

Olvia's uncle is also part-owner of a banquet hall that's being built in Glendale, and is supposed to be ready at the end of the year. He offered a deal of $75 a person for the food, no venue rental fee, so she decided to go with that place instead.

Spent so far:
Coordination fee: $3000
Reception Hall: $11,250
Photography: $2500
Total: $16,750

Next time, we'll see how November is shaping up for her, and I'll talk about the wedding I have coming up this weekend.
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