5 Tips for Creating a Wedding Budget Before Booking a Venue
When we meet with couples the first thing we discuss is the wedding budget. The wedding budget will be your guide for planning and designing your wedding. Since most couples have never planned a wedding, they have no idea what to anticipate spending. Couples often come to us after they have already booked their venue which can sometimes hurt the wedding budget. We strongly urge couples consider their budget before beginning to search for a venue. You won’t know know how much you should be spending on the venue until after you have laid out your budget. We find that couples tend to overspend on their venue when they have not set a budget. We felt inspired by engagement season and wanted to share the best tips for budgeting with the soon to be wed so we put together 5 tips for creating your budget before you get started on the venue search.
Decide on the total amount you can afford.
We all dream of things beyond what we can afford but when it comes down to it you need to be realistic. You don’t want to go broke paying for your wedding. Think about what you have saved and talk to family about what they might be willing to contribute before you start so you know what the big picture figure is. If you do this from the start you won’t be stressed later when your funds are gone and you can’t book the vendors you need.
Do your homework.
Do research. Find a free template that you can use to create your budget or start your own as a spreadsheet document. We use Aisle Planner for our brides but there is a fee for this one. Many of the wedding blogs and planning sites have free templates you can use. We suggest you don’t use sites like Wedding Wire or The Knot to guide you in what you should spend. These sites don’t actually have experience creating a budget but rather take the national average and provide suggested amounts. They tend to provide very misleading figures. The best way to create a budget is to do your research. If you haven’t hired a planner or it’s just not in the budget start reaching out to vendors to get an idea of what things cost. Be honest. When you reach out to a vendor tell them you are just starting to plan and would like to know what to anticipate their services costing. If you are honest they will be happy to share their information with you and who knows you just might book their services later.
Consider the style venue you would like.
The style of your venue will be a big factor in the budget. Couples tend to assume having a wedding at a venue which is customizable will be cheaper but it actually costs more. A traditional style venue (ballroom, catering hall, etc.) will be less expensive than a non-traditional venue (barn, farm, retreat center, etc.). Traditional style venues include all the tables, chairs, china, linens, lighting, etc. Whereas a non-traditional venue requires you to bring it all in as well as whatever your caterer requires for cooking. If your budget is tight you might want to go with a traditional venue that includes everything. This way you save on rentals which can start at around $5,000.
Photo: Max Flatow
Carefully consider your guest list.
Your guest list is going to be an essential part of creating your budget. If you choose to invite 200 guests your budget is going to be largely allocated towards food and beverage. In the Hudson Valley, you can expect to pay anywhere between $150+ per guest for food and beverage. This is figure excludes your venue site fee and rentals items, if required. We always suggest starting with just your closest family and friends. Anyone you have not seen in the last year can be the first to be cut.
Photo: Alicia King Photography
Consider your top three must-haves.
Every couple has their own vision. For some, the venue and food might be most important and others music and entertainment. If you have a list of your top three must-haves you will be able to allocate the most to those areas since you will most likely want top vendors for them. The balance of your budget is where you can compromise if the funds are tight. We suggest booking these vendors asap after you have reserved your venue and booked your caterer. Keep in mind the venue and food are going to be the most expensive ticket items in the budget. We typically allocate 50% of your budget to these items depending on your guest count.
Photo: Love and Wolf Co.
We hope this tips you find helpful in creating your own wedding budget. If you are looking for some assistance with your budget feel free to get in touch with us for a stress-free budget plan.
Greenery – Pantone 2017 Color of the Year
The event we have all been anticipating has finally happened…Pantone has released the color of the year for 2017. We hope our brides-to-be will be as excited as we are at this year’s winner! It is so exciting to say that the winner is Greenery! Pantone has marked Greenery as refreshing and revitalizing and is symbolic of new beginnings.
Can it be any more perfect? As if starting your new life with your partner, family and friends aren’t symbolic enough before, now Pantone has made it a tangible new beginning!
Photo: Alicia King Photography
This is very exciting news since greenery is a very transversal color. It can be beautifully paired with the 2016 colors of the year, Rose Quartz and Serenity. Greenery ties everything together. You will find it in almost all centerpieces and used with or without other flowers. Whether you prefer a fancy ballroom or a laid back barn wedding venue you will find it works well in both. The best part is it can be used for any season, a beautiful crisp fall wedding or a sunny summer wedding, and it can be dressed up or dressed down. There are so many different options and endless possibilities with this color that will make the wedding planning process even more fun! The design possibilities are endless, and there will never be a shortage of greenery.
Photos: Alicia King Photography
We can’t wait to see how brides incorporate Greenery into their weddings in 2017. Let us help assist you in finding the best way to add Greenery to your wedding design! Check out our portfolio to see some of the beautiful weddings we have used Greenery in here.
How to Plan a Hudson Valley Destination Wedding
Are you planning a destination wedding in the Hudson Valley? Well, you’ve found the right blog (and wedding planners)! We have everything you need to know about planning your wedding in the Hudson Valley.
There are so many beautiful wedding venues in the Hudson Valley and, of course, our favorites are unique venues that allow you to customize your wedding weekend! So what is it exactly that you need to know? EVERYTHING! Since there is so much to tell you we’ve broken it down into a 4 part blog. So make sure you follow our blog so you don’t miss out on anything!
Let’s start with what questions you should be asking when you visit a Hudson Valley Wedding Venue. Here’s a few that are important to know before you consider booking.
What does the site fee include? Linens, chairs, tables, accommodations, porta-potties, set up, clean up, lighting, ample parking and/or valet service, etc. Rentals can get expensive and can add up quickly so make sure you know everything that will be included ahead of time so you can budget properly.
When can you check in and when do you have to check out by? This important so you know how much set up and breakdown time you will have and if you can do it all or will need to enlist a team to help. If you need rentals coordinating drop off and pick up times can be difficult. If your rental company has to drop off on Thursday and pick up on Monday will they accommodate that or does everything have to be picked up by check out time.
Can your guests check-in at anytime (if there are onsite accommodations)? If your guests are traveling far they may not arrive until late evening.
Do you need liability insurance and if so, how much? It’s important to know this so you can include the cost in your budget.
How late can your event go? Every town has a noise ordinance. You don’t want to end up booking a venue to find out later that the music has to end by 10 if you were counting on a late night of fun.
Can you select any caterer you want or do they have to be on the venues pre-approved list? Some venues require you use one of their approved caterers because they know the venue rules and have a good working relationship. You want to know this before booking or you could end up stuck with the preferred caterers even if they don’t match your style.
Are there restrictions on how the grounds can be set up? Some venues require the tent, porta potties or other rentals be set up in a specific location. If you have a specific vision for how you want things set up you want to make sure it is allowed before you book!
Do they have a catering kitchen or do you need to rent everything for the caterer? Again rentals can end up costing you almost half of your catering bill. I will discuss this more in the budget section.
What is the venues rain plan and what is the grounds like when it rains? This is important to know because you could have extra rental expenses if there is no indoor rain plan. It’s important to know how the grounds are after rain because drainage may be a problem on the grounds. You might want to ask other brides what their experience was or even consult a wedding professional who may have worked at the venue.
These are just a few of the questions you should ask. Ready to book your venue? Contact us today to find out how we can assist you in finding the perfect Hudson Valley Destination Wedding Venue?
Exclusive Hudson Valley Wedding Venues
We put together a list of the most exclusive Hudson Valley wedding venues. We recently visited three new venues, which are so exclusive, you won’t be able to find them even if you used Google. My goal is to share with you some of the features of these hidden gems and what makes them so special. Who knows, maybe they might be a right fit for your celebration.
A Secluded and Beautiful Private Estate…
Our favorite feature here is the beautiful front porch of the mansion. We relaxed and took in the gorgeous views. Of course we also chatted with the owner Dana, about the endless ways to personalize a wedding on the property. Some of our thoughts involved a wedding weekend starting with a small Friday night rehearsal dinner in front of the mansion. The guests staying on site can enjoy the warmth of a bonfire and some yummy s’mores on the stone patio. Start of the next day with a little R&R before the wedding day festivities kick-off. A small brunch, mimosas and a little sunning out by the pool could be just the right amount of R&R. After a few hours of relaxation, it’s time for the bride to head off for hair and make-up in the mansion. The big celebration would start at around 5pm with a romantic ceremony by the river, followed by the cocktail hour poolside and a reception on the main lawn. Our thoughts didn’t end there. Sunday brunch on the lawn before ending the perfect wedding weekend.
The site fee includes accommodations for approximately 21 for the weekend, acres of secluded private property for your enjoyment along with wedding day and site manager. It’s not your typical private estate venue. The historical mansion features 6 furnished rooms, which you have use of for the weekend. Most historical sites don’t allow use of the mansion. In addition to these accommodations, there is a cottage, which has 5 additional beds and a gatehouse with 3 more bedrooms. What the site fee does not include: catering, rentals, a wedding planner and any other services you may desire. Although you can definitely DIY some of the planning, it is highly recommended you hire a planner to handle the logistics of the day because the property is so large. Check out some beautiful pictures of the venue below.
Photos courtesy of: Southwood Estate
A B&B with the most stunning Hudson Valley view…
The next stop on our tour is Lambs Hill, which is located an hour and a half from NYC. Our favorite feature of the property is the panoramic Hudson River views, which span from Mt. Beacon to the Catskill Mountains. Our site visit was in the winter and the road to the top of the mountain was a little challenging but totally worth the trip. The view is amazing no matter what season it is. It’s the perfect venue for an intimate affair and can accommodate up to 80 guests for a tent reception. Another feature of the property is the natural beauty of the sculptured stone infinity pool. Unfortunately the pool is not for use by guests. This place is like heaven for any wedding photographer. It’s picture perfect. Take a look at the images below to see for yourself.
The packages vary, ranging from a simple 3 hour rental for a ceremony of up to 50 guests to a complete wedding weekend (rehearsal dinner, reception and brunch). All of the options include two nights in the equestrian suite for the bride and groom. What’s not included is: caterer, rentals, use of the pool and a wedding planner.
Photos courtesy of: Lamb’s Hill
A Breathtaking Historic Spanish Colonial Estate …
And finally number 3 on our list of hidden Hudson Valley gems is Rushmore Estate. After many years of hosting private social events the owners decided to open the doors to the public. Although it’s also operated as a B&B, you won’t find it so easily on your own. In order to keep it exclusive the owners limit the number of weddings per year. It offers so many amenities we’ll just list our top favorites. There are tennis courts, boating, fishing, an in-ground pool and breakfast for the guests staying on site. What we love about the property is the endless options for your wedding celebration. It can be as simple as an intimate affair with cocktails on the patio or as extravagant as a 200+ guests for a tented reception. It’s so exclusive, there’s only a limited number of photos available for us to share. The possibilities are endless with this property. It’s a must see.
It will cost you around $15,000+ to rent this beauty. The fee includes all of the B&B rooms in the mansion, exclusive use of the grounds and many other amenities not mentioned above. If you’re not looking for a total wedding weekend there’s an option for a one day site rental.
Photos of the Rushmore Estate courtesy of Bob Skinner Photography
If you’re looking to have your wedding at one of these Hudson Valley gems then contact us today.