When it comes to outlining a budget for a wedding, the majority of brides don’t have any idea where to start, or how much to allot for each part of it. That’s perfectly okay, because you don’t plan a wedding every day. Since this isn’t something that you do every day, most people haven’t a clue about prices. Every bride will suffer from sticker shock when going shopping for venue rentals, linen and table rentals, photography, wedding catering, D.J.s’, flowers, and most everything else that comes with planning a wedding. Why are the mouths gaping when the prices are revealed? It all comes down to one basic reason. Nobody does their math!
98% of the brides and grooms we meet with have absolutely no idea of how much the average wedding costs. The following scenario is so typical, that it is almost becoming generic, except for the very few that have done their homework.
The bride comes in, we welcome her, sit down and we ask what her vision of her wedding is. (They ALL say they just want something simple!) ”What do you want to see when you make your entrance into the ceremony and reception?” I ask. ”Well, my dress is….. we have 10 bridesmaids and 10 groomsmen, 3 flower girls, 1 ring bearer, 2 mothers , 1 step-mother, 2 dads and 1 step-dad, 4 grandmothers, 1 grandfather, and a step-grandfather, all of whom need flowers. And we will need 2 big arrangements for the ceremony, and I would like to have shepherd’s hooks down the aisle with kissing balls hanging from them, and the aisle covered with rose petals. We have 200 guests, so for our reception we need 25 centerpieces, tables, and tablecloths. We want lots of flowers and lots of candlelight. Then, we will need something for the buffet, something for the cake tables, and something for the guest table. We really like our initials in roses hanging with ribbon at th door.” They get about this much out and I ask , do you have a budget for your flowers, rentals, and decor? “Not really, but we were thinking we would like to get all of that for about $1,000.
“Well, let’s do the math. based on the minium cost. If you serve McDonald’s meals to every guest, you would spend about $1,400. The table and chair rentals would be several hundred dollars more, plus the cost of the linens, and you haven’t purchased any invitations, thank you cards, or postage to invite them yet. On the low-end of that cost, you will spend approximately $800.00. And what about centerpieces? They start around $50, if you do them yourself. You have 25 tables, so that would be $1,250.00. You mentioned in our phone conversation that you want peonies, roses, calla lilies, and stephanotis with bouquet jewels; hand- tied with silk ribbon for your bouquet. That’s $150 or more for your bouquet. You have 10 bridesmaids. Bouquets start at $55 and go up to as much as $350, depending on the flower choices. Corsages are $20-$40 each. Your boutonnieres are $12.50, since you have chosen calla lilies with berries, fern, and the stems wrapped in ribbon with rhinestones on it. The large arrangements have 75-100 blossoms in them, minimum, so they begin at $275.00 each. To make a kissing ball, we have to cover the entire circumference with flowers, requiring at least 25 or more blooms, depending on the size of the flower. They are labor intensive, too. It will require 1,000 roses to make petals to cover your aisle. ”
Recently one of our brides told us she had bought candles, ribbons, and some favors, and had already spent over $1,000. It all adds up. There are so many hidden costs in a wedding. Paying the officiant, having your dress cleaned and preserved; and buying gifts for your bridal party, to name a few.
The realization is that to be able to have a wedding with a minimal budget, you will have to make difficult choices. Prioritizing what is important to you is the key.
Trimming the guest list is the first thing you need to do to be able to stay within a small budget. Don’t have more than 3 or 4 attendants, and be willing to compromise on flower choices. Here are the current wholesale cost for a single stem of the following flowers from Whole Blossoms and Fifty Flowers. You can check other on-line wholesalers for comparison. Don’t forget to add labor for 4-6 or more floral designers for 3 full days.
1. Casablanca Lily$2.50 per stem
2. Gardenia $18.00 – $20.00 per stem
3. Hydrangea – $7.50 -$10.50 per stem
4. Lily of the Valley – $10.00 per stem; 5 stems pictured
5. Lisianthus – $1.69 per stem
6. Orchid – 7 stems for $199.00
7. Peony – 100 stems for $439.99 ( you have to buy 100)
8. Garden Rose – $2.77, must buy in bunches of 12, 10 stems per bunch.
9. Stephanotis – $52.99 for 25 buds; no stems or centers.
10. Tulip – $2.11 per stem, in packs of 10
Be realistic about your budget, proritize, and know what you want before you make the appointment with your vendors.