Everyone knows one of the most stressful things about a wedding (aside from everything!), is the budget. Whether you have a million dollars or twenty to work with, one of the most important things to do when planning your wedding is to develop a realistic budget! Although, one of the hardest things to do is to develop a realistic budget that can incorporate everything you love and desperately need to have throughout the wedding festivities. Here are a few of our tips:
#1) Create a list of the top 3 most important aspects of the wedding. These should be the aspects that are the most important to you, your fiancé, and whoever is paying for the wedding. Consider flowers, music, ambiance, venue, decor, photography, organization of the wedding weekend, size of the guest list, and paper goods.
#2) Create a spreadsheet detailing the vendors you wish to book and the various costs. Make sure you include a "just in case" fund and a "miscellaneous" fund. I always factor in $1500 - $2000 in the "Just in case fund" for our clients. You never know what kind of last minute situation could arise (bad weather, road closure, missing vendor, etc) and you don't want the unexpected to ruin your wedding because you couldn't afford to fix it.
#3) Find out how much vendors charge for flowers, catering, venues, and photography costs in Lake Tahoe. Our pricing is not the same as every other region for several reasons: 1) We are in the mountains and our resources are limited, 2) we have to ship many products in, or factor in a 2 hour delivery service, or drive 3 - 4 hours 1 direction to purchase specialty items, 3) the Tahoe elements can be harsh on equipment and vendors need to plan accordingly, and 4) Lake Tahoe is a tourist destination - the town only makes money during the 3 month peak season when people get married and travel here for vacation.
4) Don't forget to factor in the little details. Ask your vendors for all of their costs so that you don't forget to factor them into your budget. Catering companies will always charge an additional fee for staff; musicians from out of town will need hotel rooms; and the florist will charge an event fee for delivering, installing, and breaking down the flowers.
5) Anticipate the highest bill for alcohol. If you book a venue that charges alcohol on a consumption basis, or if you are bringing in your own alcohol you need to plan ahead. You don't want to run out of alcohol or find yourselves dumbstruck on your wedding night when you discover the bar bill is twice what you budgeted. Work with your planner to figure out an accurate consumption formula - I recommend estimating on the high end, as it is always better for the bill to come in lower rather than higher!