Budget do’s and don’ts for your Montana Wedding

I often see my brides and grooms contemplating the many choices they have in front of them while they plan their wedding.  The most common errors occur with budgeting…leaving some important things out to make room for the more frivolous expenditures.  I call these things the “wants” vs “needs” and I am here to help you sort it out.

Be sure the following has room in your budget!!!

Needs:
–a divine photographer
–a planner you can trust, check their references or it’s a waste of your time and money***at least 5 brides from the current year and at least 5 vendors that have been in the industry more than 3 years
–a florist that will create a day that is a reflection of you***references and samples are a must!
–a venue that meets your needs
–a stylist to make you look your best for your wedding day
–a beautiful gown for you and a snazzy suit for him
–cute shoes
–stationary and printed items that pull your look together
–a smart caterer that will work with you and all those fun ideas.  One can really express themselves with food!  go for it!
–music, live band, DJ or an ipod, no matter which direction you go, this can set the mood and theme for your event just as much as other details do.
–cash bar, at the least!
–the marriage license
–someone to marry you and a plan for the ceremony. This is often an afterthought and I would hate to see the ceremony just disappear all-together. Come on, this is why you are having a wedding!

This icecream truck was only $50 to come to the wedding site, and we only paid for what the guests wanted!  It was such a great addition and at such a low cost! 

Things such as special transportation, favors, make-up, and the bar are negotiable items to nix or cut back on in the budget and not a necessity.  A bride and groom can get to the wedding in a family vehicle, you can make your favors (even bake cookies), do your own make-up, and not host a bar all night….you can go without these things…no really, you can!~  

If you enlist the help of a professional, it is up to them to spell out for you where your money is going, and creative ways to make it go farther….

Here is a smart list from BRIDES magazine that I thought I would share with you….
Do’s
–do consider dates that fall outside the wedding high season
–do look into having a day reception. You can serve a lighter meal and expect a lower bar bill*** a morning wedding with a brunch reception would be divine and uncommon.
–do pick a fully furnished site to avoid rental costs on chairs, tables and linens, which can add up*** The Woodlands, Chico Hot Springs, Lazy B Farm, and Gallatin Gateway Inn are great examples of this…
–do pick a venue that doesn’t specify which vendors you must use in their facility, instead, choose on that has a wide list of approved vendors in a range of prices.
–do pick a planner that can offer you discounts on a range of services, often they have insider deals that no-one else can touch.  http://www.leslielukas.com/ can do just that! 
–don’t get married during a holiday weekend–hotel costs for you and your guests will be at a premium as well as flights and vendor fees.


Flowers & Decor
–do reuse the bridesmaids bouquets at the reception, they can be used on the head table, slipped into vases on the escort card table or decorate the powder room.
–do take advantage of seasonal sales to buy items like candles
–use masses of candles you bought in bulk
–do not order out of season flowers that need to be flown in
–don’t spend money decorating reception areas that won’t be heavily trafficked, such as staircases and hallways.  Put your money where guests will see it. 

–don’t think of centerpieces have to be classic floral arrangements, a glass bowl filled with water, rose petals and candles is a luminous, low-cost alternative, especially for decorating the bar, escort card table, and more.
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