WeddingWire Newlywed Report Exposes Some Harsh Truths About Planning

I was just glancing through the 2017 WeddingWire Newlywed Report – a market research report where recently-wed couples are polled for data. A couple of items really stood out to me:

  • 40% of couples underestimate their wedding budget. This means almost half of people planning a wedding have a picture in their head of their wedding, but an incorrect estimation of what it will cost. To me, this is a recipe for heartache and stress, and could be easily solved if instead of picking a venue or a design vision first, couples first took their budget and evaluated it line by line to find exactly how each item should be allocated. (This is something we do in our very first meeting with clients.)
  • 50% of weddings occur on just 22 dates of the year which are all Saturdays. This means that, for example, if you take the approximately 16,000 weddings that occur in Oregon each year, about 8,000 of them are vying for venues on the same 22 Saturdays. It seems like it would help to have an organized planner on your side to help you find the perfect location. (We have venue sourcing services that range in price from no cost, to a small portion of your wedding planning contract, so get in touch!) 

Wedding-wire-market-research

 

Hope you find the report as interesting as I did, and that it helps you in your planning!  – Emee

Budgeting for your wedding

A harsh reality of planning a wedding is creating a budget. It may not be the most romantic aspect of your nuptials, but it’s crucial, in order to reduce stress and not overspend. Here are some helpful ways to plan your budget:

  1. Talk to all the contributors. Maybe the couple is paying for the entire wedding themselves, maybe one family is footing the bill, or maybe it is being split between many parties. Whatever your situation is, make it clear from the beginning how much (and on what aspects of the wedding) each group is willing to spend.
  2. Decide what your big items are. For some, this is the venue, for others they want to allot a large percentage on food. Deciding on these big-ticket items early on will allow you to budget for the others.
  3. Remember what is important. It can be easy to get focused on getting the vendors their checks, and picking the right DJ that fits your budget. Remember at the end of the day, you’ll be celebrating with your partner and guests, and that will be the most important part.

How-to-set-your-wedding-budgetImage by Mark Sebastian on Flickr licensed by Creative Commons

Finally, the actual numbers. There are a number of budget spreadsheets available online, but my favorite way to get the rough numbers is to ask:

"Picture the meal and setting that you would have for your reception and try to match it to a restaurant you know. Now – what does this meal cost if you were to go out on any regular evening?"

Take that meal cost and multiply it by two to four times, and you have a range of per person cost for your reception. Mutliply THAT by your number of guests and you have a good estimate of a reception budget.

For example, if you like the atmosphere and food at Portland restaurant Ned Ludd, take your per person cost for dinner there (including apps and drinks), let's say that's $85 per person. Multiply that times 2 or 4 to get the range. Your per-person wedding budget range is $170 – 340 per person. If you expect 100 guests, you should budget $17-34K for the wedding reception.

Keep in mind that, the lower the meal cost goes, the less accurate this may be, since you may have venue costs or rental costs for a private venue that far outstrip the cost of a casual meal for 100. Also, while this is a great way to estimate per-person costs, it doesn't address big-ticket budget items that aren't used by guests such as the wedding clothes, honeymoon, or rings. Sometimes the only way to do it is line-by-line.

What method are you using to estimate your budget? Please leave us a comment with your thoughts!

– Malia Exo-Robinson and Emee Pumarega contributed to this blog post.

2013 Global Wedding Study from Splendid Insights

Think-splendid-logo"Splendid Insights will be releasing the 2013 Global Wedding Study during first quarter 2014. In order to represent each segment as best as possible, we'd love it if you shared the survey with your clients, readers and friends! The diversity in responses helps us take a better look at the realities behind the global wedding market. As always, Splendid Insights has no financial bias hinging on the study results, so we're able to share an unfiltered look at the wedding industry…"

via www.thinksplendid.com

The lovely folks at Think Splendid are doing their part to educate us about why we make the choices that we do for weddings. If you got married in 2013, won't you please take a moment to take their research survey?  http://wedn.gs/wed13

What are the different kinds of wedding planning services, and how much do they cost?

Portland-oregon-wedding-planner-costs-reviewsMy assistant and I at a wedding in Boston in 2003. Many thanks to Craig Strong (yes, the Lensbaby inventor) for the photo.

Today's big question: "What are the different kinds of wedding planning services, and how much do they cost?" I can only answer this for my own business, and please know there are MANY fantastic business models out there. This is just what has worked for me for the past 14 years:

I offer three main types of planning, all with set, flat fees. After I meet with my client, I am able to create a customized proposal for them – sometimes all with one type of planning; but many times using elements of several, to get them exactly what they need.

Hourly consulting: We meet at my office, or at a specific place (e.g., invitation store, venue tours) and work on a specific project. Typically, after the project is complete (I find them a venue, we co-create decor designs or themes), I do not work on-site at the wedding.

Wedding month-of coordination (Also called "Day-Of Coordination"): The client leads all the planning themselves, but comes back to me about two months before the wedding and shows me all vendors booked, and explains how they would like the site to be laid out, how they want the day to flow. My assistants and I then take it from there and create/distribute the event plan communications, and coordinate at the rehearsal and at the event.

Full planning and design: The client is in creative control, but I lead the planning process, in that I push action items to the client. (e.g. "It's time to book your caterer"; "It's time to create your overall reception design".) This is our most popular program of service.

Planner-led vs. client-led is a spectrum; ask your coordinator what options are available to you based on your preference and budget.

You can read more in detail about these planning types and get pricing information over on the business website: ejpevents.com

I hope this info is helpful to you – please leave any questions in the comments, or email me! Are you a couple who has found the perfect wedding planner? Tell us about him or her!  Or – are you a wedding planner, who has found success in a different business model? I would love to hear your ideas.