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Not much planning happening

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akw94

Brilliant_Rock
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Feb 10, 2006
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Hi everyone,
I haven''t posted much lately b/c I just haven''t been in the wedding planning spirits. Turns out that my budget is a lot less than planned from family (which I already assumed was pretty small). So I am trying to figure out what to do. I have a feeling I will have to cut my guest list. It was at about 85 adults and now probably only inviting family + bridal party which is about 49 adults. It is very upsetting. It''s important to me to celebrate w/family and friends. In fact, the dress, cake, invitations, flowers, etc.. all mean very little to me compared to that. Which is why I had already planned a dress under $500, do my own flowers and invitations and even thinking about doing a non-traditional wedding cake (another topic to come). So I''m very unsure how I will make this all happen w/such a small budget. I also thought about not inviting out of town family but that really isn''t what I want. So looks like it will only be a few close friends and the rest family. Which is ok, not what I wanted but ok.. I guess.
This is really tough!
What do you think is easier/cheaper? To have something in an already planned venue, like a country club and have whatever simple chicken dish for lunch or at a regular park where you have to rent tables/chairs and get a caterer. I was going w/the regular venue but now wondering if, given ceremony costs and liquor costs, I''d cut a lot by having it at a park. There is no liquor allowed so that solves that problem. Also, maybe I can cater something besides a boring piece of chicken to have as lunch. So I don''t know.
Just having a hard time w/all of this!!
 

janinegirly

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 21, 2006
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3,689
hi dixie, sorry to hear about the setback, but don''t get too discouraged, there are ways of accomplishing things differently. Here are some other ideas:

*you and your fiance can start aggressively saving and postpone the wedding date
*you can have a limited registry and hope guests give $ instead (this is common in northeast), that will help offset some costs.
*you can limit your guest list to VERY close friends and family and request that only guests known to you be included (it''s not ideal, but I''ve seen it done at many weddings)
*you can keep to limited guestlist, and just have a party with the friends you left off

Ultimately, you just have to realize it''s about the marriage & not the wedding (remember how it was just waiting to be engaged?! this is nothing...haha), and make the cuts where necessary to accomplish what you like. Or alternatively, start sacrificing in other areas so that you and FI can save $$. Look at high yield savings accounts. Hope this helps. As far as park vs. reception, I vote for reception site. I believe it is cost efficient and less stressful (it''s all part of the package), but I don''t really know the ins and outs of park weddings, so can''t say much there.
 

akw94

Brilliant_Rock
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Feb 10, 2006
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Janine,
Thanks for the response and the helpful comments! I appreciate them!
I like the idea of having a minimal registry. I thought about that and actually had planned to add a honeymoon registry for those willing to contribute in a non-traditional way. That is pretty much like having cash for the honeymoon so it will save our costs there. Funny, today I was reading something on registries and thought... oooh, I could use that, that, one of those, etc... It is easy to get carried away even when I realize I have everything I need already. We maintain two households now so have plenty of stuff!
I have a feeling we will limit to very close friends and family. It''s hard b/c so much of my family lives out of town and I really don''t know who will come and who won''t.
I thought about doing a little something w/those we can''t invite at a later point. That''s also a good idea but I wonder, am I just substituting a cost now for a cost then. It would still cost to have a party w/friends later. Although it is later so it would take some of the burden off now.

I just want *this* part of the planning to be over!

Thanks again for the thoughts!!
 

janinegirly

Ideal_Rock
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Sep 21, 2006
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3,689
well it''s true that it''s hard to estimate whether OOT guests will come or not. Since they are close friends and family, why not just reach out to them (it takes time, but it''s a good way to gauge if they''ll be able to make it). Ask your mom to ask her family, dad to ask his,etc. I also talked to my close friends who will be travelling and told them to save the date, and could gauge from their response if they will definitely come or on the fence.

If you have a party later, I would not consider it like a reception where you''re paying for everyone''s food. It could be a more laid back get together, rent out a room at a bar (usually free) and people pay as they drink. It''s more a get together than a wedding even but allows you to mingle as a couple. You could pay for open bar for the first hour if you''d like to treat guests a little.
I think cash as gifts will help offset costs. I also think you should consider saving if this means alot to you. Putting a little away each month makes a big diff, and you could move the date a little. Right now you''ve got a pretty short time frame. I used to think 9 mo''s was tons of time, but now I realise...
 

akw94

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 10, 2006
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1,937
I have thought about asking people if they''re able to come, I just feel a little weird about it. I don''t want anyone to feel that I don''t want them to come and am trying to imply something. It''s tough though b/c lots of family has a # of kids and it would be so helpful to know in advance.
Do you think there''s a good way to word the asking?

You''re right about the party afterwards. I didn''t want to set myself up for another big cost but it doesn''t have to be that way. I will keep that idea in mind!

Unfortunately, we just can''t move the date much. We''re considering moving out of state in ''08 and there''s plenty to do to prepare for that so I want to be able to focus separately on the wedding and on the move. Otherwise, the stress will just double! I do plan on using some savings and possibly other means of getting $ to use but I hate to count on $ that I don''t yet have. And I really don''t want to use every cent I have now or go into debt b/c we still have the rings and honeymoon to pay for.

I''m working on it though and feeling a little better about cutting the list. Sort of. It changes frequently!!
 

janinegirly

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 21, 2006
Messages
3,689
it's the dixie and janine thread! haha

as far as asking people if they can make it, no, you don't have to flat out ask. Working a party (which is pretty much what a wedding is in the early planning stages) is like being a politician, you have to phrase things a certain way and try to reach out personally to as many as you can (if you want them to attend,etc).! Just touch base, ask how everyone is, and say, "so our wedding is Sept XX...be sure to mark your calendar!" I did that and I could tell...some people said "I'll Definitely be there!!" (yes this far ahead) and others said they'll try or didn't respond (which is OK, but those last 2 categories I gauge as maybes and assume only a certain % will show, like maybe half). With family, you can be direct--or say, here's some hotel info since you'll be traveling..and you can tell by their response. With my family, I just flat out ask though..

And I am not promoting you save every cent and spend it all on this wedding...that would be kind of short sighted. BUT if this is upsetting and something you REALLY want, then take matters into your own hands and save and save or move the date. It's a question of priorities and deciding what aspects of what you "want" you can't live without and which aspects you can let go (is it the move in 08? is it 89 guests? etc ).

Keep us posted..
 

fatafelice

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 26, 2004
Messages
1,756
Well, Janine has already given you some great advice about everthing, but I just wanted to add something in answer to your question about cost differences between venues. I''m not sure, but I would think that the park wedding would possibly be less expensive. The thing to figure out is how much the all the rentals, caterer, etc would cost (including all the hidden costs!). I think rentals can often be costly, but if you shop around and aren''t too picky, you might be able to get some good deals.

What time of year are you getting married? Have you thought about an alternate day, like a Friday? Vendors often charge less on off days.

Finally, you clearly have a lot of family...Have you thought of reaching out to them for help? Rather than a sit-down dinner, you could have everyone bring their special dish. I know a lot of brides would not want to go that route, but I personally think that it could be really fun and special to have everyone contribute. Even better, do you have any friends or family with a home/property where you could have the wedding? That would cut costs even more.

I am sure that there is no easy solution, but hang in there and remember that at the end of the day, the goal is a happy marriage, and nothing else (this is my new mantra!).
 

decodelighted

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Jul 27, 2005
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11,534
Aw Dixie ... I''m sorry you''re feeling this way! I remembered a link that I found VERY INSPIRATIONAL in my planning & wanted to pass it onto you ... This Knottie has a 5-7K park wedding that turned out GREAT! I''m not sure what your budget is ... but this young gal has tips ANYONE can use! I borrored LIBERALLY from her.

One way we saved was, as a previous poster suggested, BYO food ... we just did it with homemade desserts to supplement our "cupcake cake". Luckily DH''s family is local & his mom had lots of girlfriends that love to bake. It was a hit & we labeled the dishes with the dish''s name & the name of the baker.

Also - we hired a Super 8 filmmaker off of Craigslist & asked him to shoot with his own Super 8 film camera as well as our Videocamera. Turns out he was a highschool friend of one of my best friends! I placed the Craigslist ad ...

And we negotiated with our photographer to just get DVDs afterwards, no prints or albums. She ended up giving us proofs anyway. We can complete that project when we have more $$.

One more: mini-moon. Too much cash involved in the wedding etc at the time so we just went away for a three day weekend afterwards. We''ll do a trip sometime this year or next when we "recover" financially!

Good luck! Sometimes just the littlest thing can set stuff in motion or click a whole "look" or "feel" into place!
 

akw94

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Feb 10, 2006
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Janine, thanks for your responses! I have talked to some of my family and they say they''d love to come. Unfortunately, I don''t know if that includes the spouse and kids and just feel odd asking such specifics. I wish I could send the invites out now and then book the place! I did try and get my mom to ask around but it really didn''t turn out to be productive.
Priorities, you''re right about that! I''m trying to figure out what they are and keep perspective.

Fatafelice, your mantra is a good one! I am planning for a Sept. wedding and figured I''d do a lunchtime Sat. or Sunday, whatever is cheaper. I''m pretty flexible but hadn''t considered a Friday, mainly b/c I have so many out of town guests. It''s actually most of my family and all of his that live out of town so having them provide a dish or really anything would be difficult. Others have suggested just a cocktail hour type of thing but since they''re from out of town, I''d hate to not at least feed them. Plus, I want to be able to spend as much time w/people as possible. I am considering having the reception at my place though. That is tough b/c I am in the process of selling my place and won''t know where I''m moving until I get a contract on this place. Also, since I don''t know how many people it''s hard to know if my place would be big enough. So many unknowns also contribute to the difficulty.
There really is only one person I know whose house would possibly work but they haven''t offered and I just don''t feel right asking. They offered to have the shower there and I am thankful for that. Of course, I wasn''t even planning a shower but I still appreciate the offer.

I am going to do a little comparing of rentals and caterers to see what is cheaper vs. having it at a set location that includes everything.
I had NO idea it would be this challenging!

Thank you again for that mantra, I need it!
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
dixie, everyone has great suggestions, i will say that when we were looking at having the wedding locally, a luncheon cost WAY less than a dinner. like half the price if not more.

also once you mention wedding, all the costs double.

we had our engagement party at a beautiful outdoor courtyard at an upscale hotel on a sunday afternoon, we had the place for 4-5 hours, we had the hotel cater the yummy buffet lunch with an open bar for a few hours, my mom got a band, the hotel had decor that they setup on all the tables and the buffet table (though honestly the courtyard was beautiful, it had all these vines on trellises and the walls were mediterrean kind of brick and the floor was this lovely spanish tile) and the whole thing cost about $2k. honestly at the time i was like okay we shoulda just made this our wedding! haha.
 

akw94

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 10, 2006
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1,937
Mara, the place you mentioned sounds great. I wish I lived near you!! It sounds perfect and a great cost!

I agree about having a lunch and am definitely going w/that. Luckily, it''s actually what I wanted and not just a cost-saver!
 

sarie_j

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 15, 2007
Messages
130
One thing to remember when pricing rentals as opposed to catered all-inclusive type places, alot of the places don''t include set-up in their fees, some don''t even include delivery or pick-up so, and if you do that can be extrememly expensive and be unexpected cost -
An idea on how to have the party you want, while a bit untraditional it''s my favorite wedding I''ve ever been to - the bride stated on the reception cards that the formal reception was from 2-4pm and the informal reception lasted ''til the sun came up -- She had a lovely reception with light hor''doevres (I always spell that wrong) and a lovely cake, and then afterward everyone went and had a big cook-out by a lake nearby. We all had a blast, and she got both her formal fairytale pics and the big party that she wanted. There was beer in big silver washtubs and a family friend on the grill and she called it her family and friend reunion ''05 complete with lawn chairs and red checked tablecloths. Like I said, it''s not something everyone would like, but I remember more about that wedding than any I have ever attended in my life.
 

labbielove

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 28, 2006
Messages
862
Dixie,
Everyone here has offered great advice. Here''s a few more thoughts:
-as the park idea- there may not be much rental $ at all if you have county or state parks near by with lodges.
-Are you members of a church? Our church has a beautiful finished basement that''s used for events, with full kitchen, tables/chairs, etc. No alcohol allowed.

- Great idea as far as a luncheon vs. dinner. How about even a late breakfast/brunch celebration- lots of yummy food options for much less than dinner fare.

-If none of those pan out or strike your fancy, there is absolutely nothing wrong with scaling the guest list way back and doing what you can. These days I find people extremely understanding when it comes to those things. Everyone knows its big bucks.
 

akw94

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 10, 2006
Messages
1,937
Sarie, thanks for the tips on rentals. I had no idea there were other fees and it sure is good to know beforehand! I like your idea of a big cookout. I would probably do something like that but so many guests are from out of town. I really want to have the ceremony and reception at the same place to keep things convenient. But I''m still tossing around some ideas. I''m not giving up yet!

Labbie, we''re not members of any church and actually I prefer to keep it somewhere non-religious, since we''re doing an interfaith ceremony. It becomes more challenging when incorporating religious customs.
I am definitely open to brunch time and I agree, great foods! If that was even cheaper than lunch, I''d be all for it. One place had this great brunch buffet w/eggs benedict, lox and bagels, muffins, etc... Yum! I will remember to ask about alternatives when I check out a couple places this weekend.

Thanks for all the tips and ideas! I appreciate the creativity!
 

Kim N

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 6, 2005
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Date: 1/23/2007 6:14:34 PM
Author: Mara
dixie, everyone has great suggestions, i will say that when we were looking at having the wedding locally, a luncheon cost WAY less than a dinner. like half the price if not more.

also once you mention wedding, all the costs double.

we had our engagement party at a beautiful outdoor courtyard at an upscale hotel on a sunday afternoon, we had the place for 4-5 hours, we had the hotel cater the yummy buffet lunch with an open bar for a few hours, my mom got a band, the hotel had decor that they setup on all the tables and the buffet table (though honestly the courtyard was beautiful, it had all these vines on trellises and the walls were mediterrean kind of brick and the floor was this lovely spanish tile) and the whole thing cost about $2k. honestly at the time i was like okay we shoulda just made this our wedding! haha.
Mara, I''d love to know the name and location of this hotel. It sounds like the perfect spot. Could you share?
 
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