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For most people, this is the first wedding they have planned, so you know even less than Jon Snow but that's okay. Our job is to educate you.
In this post we’re talking all things money — from why wedding services are so expensive to how to ask people for money for the wedding.
Why wedding services are so expensive
Weddings are a big deal
When you’re planning a social event that comes with high expectations, it can make you a more demanding client.
A wedding planner, for example, often has to present a client with multiple options for each vendor because the client has a specific picture in their head. Unlike with a corporate client, the planner can’t just pick a florist that they know does beautiful work; a wedding client will want options.
Wedding vendors charge higher because of the extra time and energy we will inevitably spend on a wedding client.
Because weddings are high pressure events, most vendors keep that in mind when they are charging. Weddings aren’t like birthday parties, where you have one every year. You hopefully will only get married once, so if a vendor screws up your wedding, it’s a big deal. And some charge for that added stress.
We’re partly to blame. By “we,” we mean the wedding industry. Specifically, styled shoots. We love styled shoots. We do them. We wish we could do them more often. Styled shoots allow us the creativity to do whatever the hell we want with decor/theme and to work with our dream team of vendors. But styled shoots are just that — dreamy. They showcase our best work. The best food, best rentals, best florals. And that work is f*cking expensive.
So when you’re perusing Pinterest, know that a good chunk of that inspiration comes from styled shoots, so try not to fall in love with a particular look until you speak with actual vendors.
How to ask people to financially contribute
Before you start budgeting, it’s important to know how much money you have to work with.
Sit down with each of your families individually and have a frank and honest discussion about money. It may not be easy, but it is necessary.
Ask them if they are both able and willing to contribute to your wedding. What does their contribution look like? Will it be a lump sum or paying for something specific like the catering?
Figure out what strings are attached. If your parents pay for the caterer, will they want their favorite food served or want a say in what caterer is chosen?
Knowing what everyone’s expectations if they open up their wallets will help you feel more comfortable accepting money.
Set a budget
Do not, again, DO NOT go into debt for your wedding
This really should go without saying, but loads of people actually plan on going into debt to host a wedding. DON’T DO THAT. Starting your marriage in debt over a party isn’t cute, so set a budget and stick to it.
That being said, you need to have realistic expectations of what your budget can get you. A wedding planner is an excellent resource for knowing what sort of wedding you can and cannot have with your budget.
Wedding planner not in the budget? Many planners (including us!) offer a la carte planning services. You don’t know what you don’t know, so enlisting the help of a professional should be a no-brainer.
Figure out what you can afford to spend, then add in your family’s contributions. That’s your budget!
The tasteful way to ask for cash in lieu of material gifts
Material gifts are nice and all, but maybe you just want cold, hard cash. I mean, who doesn't love money?
Asking guests for money can feel icky, but it doesn't have to be. And by now you’ve asked your family for money, so you’re basically a pro.
The right phrasing works wonders
Try putting something like this on your wedding website: We so appreciate that you want to give us a gift, but we feel we have all of the material items we need. What would really set us up for a successful marriage is the gift of cash.
What’s it for?
Give an insight on what you would use the money for: home renovations, a honeymoon, paying down your student loan debt. The reason people don't default to giving cash is because they want to know it's going to something more meaningful than your electric bill. And while that may be what you end up using it for, it doesn't seem as sexy, so people are reluctant to give it.
“Show me the money!”
Be sure to let guests know how to pay you. List your Venmo or Cash app ID and your home address at the bottom of the registry page, and have a location for cards (that hopefully have money in them!) at the wedding.
Don’t think you can afford a wedding planner?
Check out our wedding coaching service! You get a few hours with a pro to get your planning on the right track.