So without further ado...
|Ceremony (location fee, officiant)||$400||$150|
|Reception (venue rental, food and service, beverages and bartenders, cake and cutting fee)||$17,000||$24,000|
|Bride's attire and accessories (including alterations, hair and make-up)||$2,000||$1,750|
|Groom's tux and accessories||$250||$0|
|Flowers and décor (bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, ceremony decorations, reception decorations and centerpieces)||$2,000||$1,015|
|Music (ceremony and reception musicians)||$2,000||$1,100|
|Gifts (bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents)||$600||$660|
Ouch. So, it's pretty obvious where we got into trouble: when we put our budget together, way back in the long ago days of 2008, we had assurances from our family that the guest list would not exceed 150, that we could plan on 130 people celebrating with us. In the end, we had a guest list of a whopping 205 people, and put on a party for 162. Add in a few extras, like upgraded chairs and passed appetizers, and you can kiss your budget good-bye! The lesson of the day is: get the list from your parents EARLY, and don't trust them when they just give you a number! They almost certainly have an additional 50 guests up their sleeves. ;)
I'm just going to go ahead and say that, in the main, there is very little we could have done differently without the benefit of hindsight. Every new thing we thought of (video, DOC, ketubah, a ride home at the end of the night), we took out of somewhere else in the budgetI wore won and low-cost accessories, we got a free rental on Mr. Spaniel's tuxedo from the Men's Wearhouse, chose a hotel that would give us a free suite for reserving a large block, and hired a freelance florist instead of an established shop, for example. We also took every precaution we could think of on the reception costs by hammering out our guest list early. Unfortunately, just because Mr. Spaniel and I were all wedding all the time does't mean our parents were, and I guess a year beforehand they did not have their wedding caps firmly on their heads... leading to last minute invites that came too late to have chosen a less expensive venue after all!
Admittedly, if this were all coming out of my own pocket, I would have put my foot down more firmly on the last-minute guests. Nearly 20% over budget is no joke. But our parents thought inviting more of their friends was worth it, and no one at our wedding was a stranger. Mr. Spaniel and I spent only what we could afford, and no one went into any debt for our wedding.
And since I can't think of a better way to close this post...
All photos by the wonderful Meg Perotti, unless otherwise noted.
The Spaniels Are Married!
Watching Paint Dry
Putting Our Faces On
Boutonnieres and Tuxedos
Sneaky Spaniel: The First Look
Something Borrowed, Something Blue
Hey Laaadies! (The Wedding Party)
Signing Our Lives Away
Marriage Is a Process...ion
We've Only Just Begun (The Ceremony)
All Kinds of Pretty and One Big Fat Ugly