What to Expect When You’re Planning
Congratulations on your engagement! You’re on your way to the Biggest Day of your life…your Wedding Celebration! Your Wedding Celebration is so much more than just a day…..it’s the day that represents who you are and your love for each other to your closest family and friends! There are so many elements to a successful wedding day and we wanted to touch on just a few. Remember please that finding the BEST fit for you is more important than finding the lowest price. So, we’ll begin with your budget………
Budget: The first thing many couples do after they get engaged is to set a date and plan from there, but the best approach is to first set a budget and plan within your budget. The average wedding in the U.S. costs about $30,000, but the Erie area is a bit lower because of our lower cost of living. Budgeting anywhere from $10,000-$20,000 in Erie is pretty normal. A budget is a very useful tool. It helps you stay on track. If you need professional help planning a budget you can consult with a Wedding Coordinator or Wedding Planner. Be a little flexible with your Wedding Date and you’ll be surprised at how much Wedding you can get with your budget!! The main part of your budget is going to be your Venue and Catering. The amount of guests you invite will affect this price.
Venue: Choosing the right venue really sets the mood for your wedding. Once again, being flexible with your date can help you choose the perfect venue for you. Don’t be afraid to plan a Friday or Sunday Reception as many popular venues will have openings on those days. As a bonus, many Wedding Vendors offer perks, like discounts, for booking a Friday or Sunday. Think about your budget and the type of atmosphere you want for your Wedding Celebration! There are venues from rustic to modern and everything in between. When choosing a venue make sure to tour it, ask how many guests will fit comfortably. Don’t try to squeeze 250 guests into a venue with a seating capacity of 250 or it will feel cramped and your guests will be uncomfortable. Also, ask how the layout of the hall will be for your wedding so you can plan your décor and other vendors correctly. You should book your venue 12-18 months before your wedding.
Catering: Many venues supply catering, but not all do. Your catering budget is going to be the one item you can really control and fluctuate depending on your guest count. Catering fees vary a lot. Catering in the Erie area can be anywhere from $15-$100 a plate! That can really add up and drive up the cost of your Wedding. Before deciding on a catering service or a venue, ask to sample their foods. Also ask how flexible they are with minor menu changes, how many serving staff members they supply, and if they will cut and serve your wedding cake for you. Catering doesn’t usually include bar cost or tax or gratuity. You should ask your caterer about these things as well. Check online reviews as well before deciding what service is best for you. You should book your caterer shortly after booking your hall.
Disc Jockey: After you’ve set your budget and secured your hall and food the next most important element to a successful Wedding Celebration is your DJ!! (I know, you though it was the dress….surprise!!) Did you know that many brides express regret after their wedding because they focused their budget on details like flowers and attire and didn’t leave enough for a good Professional Wedding DJ? Your Wedding DJ is responsible for far more than just music. They control the flow of your entire reception and if they aren’t experienced or they don’t have the proper equipment they can easily ruin the Best Day of your Life. A Professional DJ spends up to 40 hours preparing for your Wedding Day long before it arrives. Between consults with you, office work, music selection, equipment maintenance, and ongoing education your DJ is a busy bee concerning your wedding. On the day of your Wedding he/she arrives hours before your guests to set up equipment, run tests, and practice (again) your special announcements so that everything is perfect. After you and your guests have gone home your DJ will spend another few hours tearing down and cleaning up…..turning your 4-5 hour reception into a 10-12 hour day for him. Your DJ Creates Your Unique Memories!!! Set a healthy budget for a good DJ and plan on booking at least 8-12 months before your wedding. Follow this link to read more about the importance of a good Wedding DJ: https://theweddingcoach.ca/itsjustmusic/
Photographer/Videographer: I’m going to cover the next (and just as important) element of a successful wedding day…your Photographer and Videographer. These folks are responsible for Capturing Your Unique Memories..some of which the DJ helped create!! They work together as a team to capture moments for you that you can never recreate!! A Professional Wedding Photographer or Videographer will consult with you several times before your wedding to create a list of photos you’ll want. They’ll arrive on site and spend a good 8-10 hours capturing thousands of images of your Wedding Day. After your Wedding he/she will go back to the office to sort through and scrutinize all of the images they captured, carefully selecting the best for you. They will use special editing software to enhance those images. Editing your photos can take 40-60 hours of work. Most Wedding Photographers will not have your wedding finished for several weeks after your event because the work is tedious and time consuming. Their goal is to provide you with images of your day that you’ll treasure forever. A good photographer has professional photography equipment, may bring numerous lenses with them to use during the day, and uses only professional editing software for the best results for you. Plan on spending at least the same amount on your photographer/videographer as your DJ and book at least 8-12 months before your wedding.
Decorator: Most venues or caterers will supply regular white or ivory table cloths and not much more. Some will even place your center pieces out for you. However, none offer decorating quite like a pro. Hiring a Professional Decorator who will supply table runners, chair covers, and other decorations is a definite help. It relieves so much stress from you and your bridal party. If you can fit a professional decorator into your budget I would do so. I’d plan on booking a decorator 6-10 months before your wedding.
Cake: Choosing what type of wedding cake to serve can help control your budget as well. A traditional tiered wedding cake is going to cost the most, with the average price being about $500. However, some modern twists on wedding cakes can reduce the cost for you and free up budget for something else. A sweetheart cake with a hidden sheet cake can significantly reduce your wedding cake cost. Cupcakes are another sweet variation of a wedding cake. Popular recently is having pie at your wedding with couples cutting a cheesecake! An even more stunning option is the new CAKE MAPPING!!! Check with your DJ for this option. A motion video is displayed on your wedding cake throughout your reception stunning and awing your guests! A DJ can supply a ‘mock cake’ with motion graphics that is on display during your reception or you can order your own special tiered wedding cake.
Attire: Your Attire budget should include dress, tux rental, accessories, and make-up and hair. A wedding dress can cost anywhere from $100-$5,000. Wedding dresses come in a variety of shades of white. Many have splashes of color or you could choose to be bold and get married in a colored gown. The possibilities are endless. Remember that you’ll also need to budget for dress alterations, which usually start at $300. Choosing the right dress for you is a priority for most brides. Budget wisely and have fun searching!!! Plan on searching for the right dress after you’ve booked your hall and set the theme for your wedding so you can search for a dress to compliment what you’re planning. Please remember when you’re choosing your bridesmaids dresses that they should never cost more than the brides dress and that not every girl looks flattering in every style. Also, don’t buy a dress that’s too small or fits just right. It’s easier to take a dress down a size than it is to increase the size. Try not to order online either. Visit a local dress boutique and try on dresses you like to make sure they are comfortable and you like the way it looks on you. There are some other minor elements to your wedding day that are not covered here such as invitations and stationary, wedding favors, and other entertainment such as a Photo Booth. If you have any questions about these elements or others or you need help securing the perfect Wedding Professional for you, don’t hesitate to call! We’re always here to help! Also visit our list of Professionals We Trust to help you select The BEST Fit for You!!!