Hey ya'll, welcome back! Today I want to chat with you about budgets. Most often one of the first steps in planning a wedding is to decide on a budget. The budget will include all major aspects of the day and determining this number early on can help prevent a lot of unnecessary stress. Budget is generally determined by factors such as: number of people contributing, amount of time to prepare, expectations, and average cost of vendors in the area. Ironing out these details will help you prepare a realistic budget and get started! The greater Kansas City area is home to what I truly believe are some of the most talented and easy-going vendors in the state of Missouri. Because of the large amount of talent across the KC metro and the vast competition this creates you will find that a majority of vendors in the area offer very reasonable pricing for the amazing quality of their work. Kansas City is where affordability meets quality for wedding vendors. If you are a Missouri bride and not sure where to begin your search, I highly recommend starting with Kansas City.
As one of the top-rated wedding photographers in Kansas City I can assure you that I am constantly adding to my services, skills, equipment, and software all while watching the market to insure I am offering competitive pricing. I also offer payment plans and custom packaging so that I am able to work with couples on nearly EVERY budget. I believe in taking high quality photos of high quality people, I could care less about social status. If you've made it this far you may be starting to wonder if I'm ever going to get into the details of a wedding budget, and the answer is yes!
Building a budget for your photographer:
Average cost for 6+ hours of wedding photography in the Kansas City area: anywhere from $1,500-$2,500. Quite the range isn't it? It really depends on if its a quote for a single photographer or a team of two photographers. Double the staff would be nearly double the price, makes sense? Other factors that contribute are the photographer's experience, other included services such as engagement or boudoir sessions, digital files, albums, etc. If you find a photographer that you love but they seem out of budget, ask them for a simplified quote for the things that are important to you, the price can vary a lot when you start adding in extras. I would advise you to research carefully anyone offering their services for less than $1,500 for 6 or more hours of photography coverage, as they may be under experienced and trying to lure couples in with their low pricing. Experienced professionals understand the amount of work and time that goes into photographing a wedding and all the post processing of the thousands of files thereafter, and they will charge accordingly. Wedding photos are not an area of the budget to skimp on. This is the only component of your wedding day beyond your new spouse that will remain after the wedding is over.
Areas to save by pulling a DIY:
A recent budget bride myself, I have all the tricks! Lets go over 3 major areas to put your DIY skills to use and save big.
1. Centerpieces: Keep it simple, and DIY! In the grand scheme of things I can promise you no one truly cares about or even remotely remembers whats in the middle of their table at a wedding. Centerpieces should be kept small so that they don't overwhelm the space of the table or cause an awkward obstruction of view for your guests trying to have conversation among the table. Additionally, pricing for these silly table weights can skyrocket to nearly $30-40 PER centerpiece if they are too elaborate. Look for shorter, simpler designs that include candles, short vases with a single flower or baby's breath, or maybe even a nice picture frame with your favorite snapshot from your engagement photos along with a table number marker. Keep it simple. No one will miss the gigantic extravagant floral arrangement that they had to stare at through all the dinner, dances, and speeches since they could not see over or around it. Most DIY centerpieces can be done nicely for about $10 PER centerpiece.
2. Linens: Buy them from a wholesaler in bulk then resell them to a rental company or individual. Sometimes your venue will even purchase them from you after the fact to add to their own rental supply. This option ends up much cheaper than renting and they come brand new (no worry about stains!) as well as gives you the freedom to choose any color combination you like! I did this and ended up only paying $25 out of pocket for the use of my linens in the end after reselling them (and I did not even clean them after, I sold them as is to a rental company!).
3. Alcohol: Find a venue that allows you to bring your own beer/wine/liquor (whatever you choose) and have only a few selections for your guests. Try to limit it to beer and wine to really save, or if you do want to include liquor just have one to two cocktail options to limit the types of liquor and mixers needed. Display the cocktails as "Brides Favorite" and "Groom's Choice" for a fun detail. Set a budget of what you are willing to spend, go to a liquor store directly or a wholesaler such as Sam's or Costco and buy their larger bottles/cases. Have a family friend or trusted acquaintance run the bar and keep drinks chilled. With this option, you can generally return any unopened cases/bottles and get a refund! This was a major money saver for us rather than paying for a wet bar at venue price or asking our guests to do a cash bar (which is obviously the cheapest option--next to a dry wedding--if you don't want to provide any alcohol yourself!)
Most importantly, don't let society or anyone tell you what you have to have at your wedding. Decide what's important to you, and do those things. Those who are there to celebrate such a big day in your life are there for that reason only. They won't think less of you if you do punch and cake instead of a full meal and open bar or if you don't have extravagant wedding favors or centerpieces. Just do you, and remember that at the end of the day all that matters is that you just married the love of your life and got to share it with those who matter most to you.