We love weddings!! We just want to admit that right off the bat. The sheer excitement of the bride and her anticipation of a celebration of a lifetime! An event that’s a true reflection of who she and her groom are. Most brides we talk to want their wedding to be different from others; to be the one that people remember; to be the example of what “the wedding” should be like. We at MP also want all these things for the bride. However, one of the first questions we must ask a bride is the dreaded question: How much is your budget?source
Many people think that this represents the beginning of the end of all their grandiose wedding plans but this does not have to be the case. At MP we have a running joke: we want to make a $50,000 wedding look like a wedding for $500,000. So today, we are sharing five lessons we have learned (amongst others) along the way to enable us accomplish this task.
- Think big picture: We’ve all watch platinum weddings and seen those million dollar weddings with the lighting, flowers, string quartet, band, DJ, personalized gifts for all the guests to mention a few fabulous items. For your wedding, you want to focus on the things that are most important to you and the things guests will notice the most. If you want really great food, music and décor, focus on those and have a light touch on the rest. Guests will mainly notice the things they can see, feel, smell, and hear. So focus on your presentation/ambiance, your treatment/service of the guests and the music. A simple linen, place setting with nicely folded napkins and a simple centerpiece from your grocery store e.g. roses, hydrangeas, baby’s breath (low costs), complemented by lots of candles and lighting will make your wedding look beautiful at a lower cost to you than dramatic centerpieces, upgraded linen etc. If you are into classical music, opt for a single player for the ceremony e.g. a violinist and a DJ for the reception. Don’t spend all your money on everything; just on the few that matter. Think about the last wedding you attended; what do you remember most about it. Focus on that!
- Be nice to your vendors: Some brides (not you!) make the mistake of mistreating vendors by being extremely demanding and sometimes rude. The truth is a vendor will do all they can for the client who is nice and respectful. A simple please and thank you is the difference between receiving a discount and having your vendor go above and beyond and receiving the same level of service as everyone else. Remember, vendors are people; honey works better than vinegar.
- Get the look for less: At MP, we are DIY masters. If there’s a look you love and can’t afford it, we can usually find a way to recreate it for much less. So hire us! J or find a friend or a relative with talents and ask them (nicely) to contribute their time to your wedding. Or you can learn how to do something new for your wedding. We’ve created everything from menu cards, to centerpieces, newsletters, to MC’ing an event where the MC was a no show and becoming calligraphers overnight. There are so many templates online and videos on youtube to guide you through this. Go to the dollar store, you’ll find the loveliest vases, frames, candles, candle holders there! Items you’d rent from a decorator for $5 to $20, you can buy at $1 each. Trust us, it adds up! Make sure you give yourself enough time to accomplish this and always take a picture of the finished product so you have an idea how your DIY masterpiece will look on camera.
- Invest in a small menu – Food is a big part of celebrations. We often want to have lots of different types of foods so guests have lots of choices. A smaller menu with very delicious food is more memorable than a large menu with not so tasty food. So use this formula: comfort food for cocktails – think boneless wings, pigs in a blanket or if you’re Nigerian, sausage rolls, meatpies etc. Foods which are inexpensive but familiar to guests which they love to eat. About 3-4 different types is fine. One appetizer and two choices for the entrée is more than sufficient. If you are having a buffett, three choices for meats and three choices for sides is sufficient as well. We like to have dessert buffets that are only brought out when guests start dancing. You can achieve this easily, depending on the restrictions of your location. You should order fewer servings than your number of guests per item e.g. if you have 200 guests, order 50 – 100 of each item and have about 4 times. This gives guests variety at a low cost. You can buy beautiful plates to display your desserts; plates from home or thrift stores are usually a great option. There are also lots of wedding wholesalers online which sell these items.
- Hire a good wedding planner – A good planner will help you in a variety of ways. First to prioritize – a planner will help you achieve your overall vision by guiding you to stay within your budget but also suggesting substitutes where you cannot afford the ideal product. A planner will also likely have already established relationships with vendors and be able to get discounts for you for their services. In addition, even for vendors where there was no prior relationship, vendors are still likely to offer a planner a discount because of the possibility of repeat business.