Ask the Experts: Budget Crunch

By Andrew Rapp | Boston Weddings |

Q: I’m worried about overspending, but don’t have any idea what I’ll need to spend to have the wedding I want. Should I set a budget first and then live with it, or plan first and then decide if I can afford it?

A: “I always start with the budget,” says Sherri Sadowski, owner of Worcester’s Sassy Soirées. “A wedding isn’t worth going into debt over … and where there’s a will, there’s a way.” You don’t have to plan your budget down to the dime, but most planners like to work within a range of one-quarter of the final cost, so narrow it down before you start.


Q: I’m worried about overspending, but don’t have any idea what I’ll need to spend to have the wedding I want. Should I set a budget first and then live with it, or plan first and then decide if I can afford it?

A: “I always start with the budget,” says Sherri Sadowski, owner of Worcester’s Sassy Soirées. “A wedding isn’t worth going into debt over … and where there’s a will, there’s a way.” You don’t have to plan your budget down to the dime, but most planners like to work within a range of one-quarter of the final cost, so narrow it down before you start.

Be prepared for sticker shock. A good place to start is with what is typically the largest expense—your reception venue. “If you’re very budget-conscious, you should definitely think about an off-season wedding,” suggests Donna Kim, owner of The Perfect Details in Concord. Kim says the reception is usually about half the budget, so “go with the biggest number and then work from there.”

Leslie Barbini, owner of The Wedding Belle in Nottingham, New Hampshire, says the most common mistake is to underestimate what a photographer will cost. “If you want a really great photographer, that’s going to cost you much more than you expect to spend,” she says.

A CLEAN GETAWAY
Q: Because of our work schedules, we have to leave for our honeymoon the morning after our wedding. I’m afraid of leaving a big mess behind. What “day-after disasters” should I be prepared to have a deputy handle while we’re gone?

A: Sherri Sadowski, owner of Sassy Soirées in Worcester, advises a complete hand-off of post-nuptial duties. “You should be prepared to have someone else handle everything the day after,” she says.

In the marriage maelstrom, there are an infinite number of things that can get left behind. Most common are things that the wedding party provided and planned to take home, such as cake toppers, toasting goblets or cake knives.

Don’t forget to haul home your loot. Gifts, cards and cash can pile up, and it often takes more than one person to gather them up. And if you’ll be out of town, have them taken to someone else’s house. Nothing delights a would-be burglar more than ready-wrapped items for the taking.

Besides your stuff, remember that your vendors will want their items returned. “The rental company wants their equipment back in the same condition that they left it there,” says Leslie Barbini, owner of The Wedding Belle in Nottingham, New Hampshire. “If not, you’re going to get extra charges.” Barbini says these details are compounded if you’re using a private home for your reception.

Hotels and halls have clean-up crews, but home weddings have only the kindness of friends. “You absolutely have to have a consultant if you are having a tented wedding,” says Barbini. “Otherwise, the friends and family are going to have a ton of [clean-up] work.”