As we all know, there has been a decided downturn in the economy, which has affected the way we all spend our money. If you’re like me, that means not spending any money at all! Unfortunately, you have to spend money if you want to have a beautiful wedding, but you don’t have to overspend. I had a bride a few weeks ago who had planned the wedding of her dreams last year, and it was a large elaborate affair with all the trimmings. As money started drying up, she and her groom became very stressed about the fact that what they had planned was no longer financially feasible and went about downsizing the event. The problem they ran into was that it was only a couple of months before the wedding and a lot of the vendors (myself included) were unable to accomodate fee-free cancellations. They did cancel the vendors who were happy to cancel and then shifted the rest of us around so that they could get maximum bang for the buck.
We were originally scheduled to play their wedding ceremony and cocktail reception, and would be followed by a DJ for the rest of the evening. They decided to cancel the DJ (who was happy to cancel as he was a friend of the family and was doing it mainly as a favor) and have no music for the very short, intimate ceremony on the beach with our jazz trio providing entertainment for cocktails and the main reception. They had shrunk the guest list so that it included only family and very close friends so they felt that the smaller, more intimate entertainment would be fine, and it was.
At the end of the day they were able to share their wonderful occasion with those who mattered most to them in a beautiful location (the Sheraton Oceanfront in Virginia Beach) with great food and top-quality entertainment. It was a truly memorable occasion for them and when they look back I think that they’ll have absolutely no regrets about doing as they did.
The bottom line is that if you have the budget for a “Platinum Wedding”, by all means, go for it! But if you’re like the rest of us who have to watch where our dollars go, don’t think that you can’t have a beautiful, perfect wedding day on a budget. Think about what is most important to you and spend your money there, and then perhaps scale down your expectations for the rest. Maybe you’ll have a jazz trio rather than a band, or smaller florals, or even use the tableware and linens provided by the venue. They’re not as customized or as fancy as those you might rent but they get the job done and generally look fine (or in the case of a lot of the venues where I play, downright stunning!).
A year ago, I threw a retirement party for my husband, who was finishing a 22 year career with the Air Force band and we had great live music, a ton of food, a tasty and attractive cake and beautiful table decor (which I designed and made myself from materials bought at deep discounts on the internet) for 40 people in a country club for under $2000.00. I do realize that this was a bit smaller than the average wedding and probably a bit more informal (although the food consisted of crab cakes and a variety of other substantial items) but it is possible to have a gorgeous, personal event without breaking the bank.
Just remember that it’s a celebration and not a Broadway production. Keep your budget in mind and know that even if you aren’t able to afford centerpieces at $1,500 each or get a $10,000 wedding band, or even feed your guests filet mignon and lobster topped off by a piece of $2000 wedding cake, your friends and family will have a great time and will be happy that they got the chance to share in your special day.