Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Champagne Dreams on a Beer Budget

When Tony and I got engaged I had all kinds of amazing wedding dreams. Things like photobooths, designer dresses, filet mignon AND lobster..... But some of those dreams were put into a clearer reality once the wedding was actually happening, and not just a fictitious event in my head.

I obviously knew that weddings were expensive. I just didn't know how unbelivably expensive  they actually are. So since I know that I am not the only person who is on a realistic budget, I thought I would be completely transparent and share with you all what we are spending on this lovely affair. 

Our budget: $15,000 

So I wanted to start off by talking about the biggest expense of our wedding: the venue. I already have this amazing place in mind of where we would get married before we even got engaged.. surprise, surprise. This place had it all – an outdoor space for the ceremony, gorgeous wooden beams in the reception area, outside patio for cocktail hour, picturesque landscapes. The list could go on and on. So of course this is the first place I contacted after we got engaged. I was so happy when I saw an email pop up within an hour from their event planner with an attachment of menus and pricing.

And that’s when it happened. That was the moment all of my wedding dreams were put into a harsh reality. “We cannot afford this!” Here is the breakdown for what this venue wanted, price-wise:

Rental fee: $4,000
Ceremony fee: $1,300
Food for 85 people: $6,375 (not including tax + gratuity)
Open Bar for 85 people: $2,975 (not including tax + gratuity)

For those of you keeping track, that would leave us with a whopping $350 to spend on flowers, decorations, a DJ, transportation, etc. etc. Nope, not happening.

After I got over the fact that this wasn’t where we would be saying ‘I do’, I started looking into a million (might be exaggerated) other places. A lot were in the same range as the first venue, some didn’t have a ceremony space, and some were just plain ugly and not going to work for us.

After spending a good week stressing out about the budget and thinking we would never find a good venue, I finally took the advice my Mom had given me about looking into a Martin’s venue (these are a chain of event rental spaces owned and operated by a family in the MD area.) The newest one is located in Cockeysville, Maryland, and is gorgeous!! 

The best part, too, is that they offer SO much on-site, such as: Ceremony space, reception space, DJ, food, alcohol, cake (if we wanted it through them), event planning service, centerpieces, linens, and ceremony music. So we said YES to this venue and then picked a date – which is a story for another Wedding Wednesday. 

The breakdown for our venue is a little hard to show since they kind of roll everything into one cost per person. Basically, it comes down to being about $120 per person (for everything!), which equals $10,200. Much better, and now we are left with close to $5K to spend on flowers, transportation, photography & everything else I am not thinking of at the moment.

Budget: $15,000
Venue: $10,200
$$ Left: $4,800

Oh, annnnd here is a little preview photo from our engagement shoot the other night. I'll post more next week :)

Courtesy of Lauren Myers Photography

Wedding Wednesday
Love Always Nancy J