Wedding Budgeting from a Personal Perspective: Part 3By: Vicki Korchagin
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Hello everyone. Continuing Vicki's Wedding Budgeting articles, we have the third installment where she shares with us more of her experiences as she plans a great wedding and does it while balancing the budget. Don't forget to read the first and second articles if you haven't done so already. Enjoy!
A piece of advice: if you are looking to plan a budget wedding, try not to have it at any popular sites, or on a Saturday. Saturdays are the most expensive days to have wedding,s for a good reason. It's a pain in the ass to get people to come out on most other days. However, the people that really want to come will find a way to make it, and this usually lowers your headcount, another good way to lower expenses. At first, I wanted a reception site that reflected my personality, or whatever mushy stuff The Knot tells you. Don't listen to The Knot. It will make your wedding grow exponentially.
The places I looked at included the Philadelphia public library, a winery in the suburbs in Bucks County, The Franklin Institute, and another winery, also nearby. All failed our criteria on several levels. The most important was price. The Free Library of Philadelphia was $2,000 for the site alone, without additional reception catering costs. Other places, such as mansions, were really, really pretty, but cost $4000 or $5000, also without any additional services. So, we started looking at Russian restaurants, of which there are A LOT in the Philly area. If you don't have any specific ethnic or relgiious affiliations, I would encourage you to try and find ethnic family businesses to talk to you, anyway. They are usually way cheaper than standard WIC (wedding-industrial complex) establishments. The restaurant we decided on also had just opened and was looking for good community relations and recommendations-another tip, because using new vendors will open you up to more discounts. Our agreement ended up at $65 per person, which, given that we are expecting 100, will cost around $6,500. This includes live entertainment (standard at Russian restaurants), a full catered meal with 5-6 courses, a cake, and a discount on flowers with a local florist. Sweet!
Now that we had the reception site and time down, it was time for the photographer and flowers. In the meantime, we, on the request of my mom, were looking for a cantor (a singer at synagogues and Jewish events) to perform our ceremony. We initially didn't want a religious ceremony because neither of us are, but we did it to respect traditions more than because be believed in it. Again, because we didn't want it to be too religious, and also because we decided to have it on a Saturday, it was tough to find a cantor or rabbi that would perform the ceremony. We looked again within the Russian community, which is less religious than Jews as a whole, and found one that would perform the ceremony on Shabat (Saturday). Technically, we did this before the restaurant, because obviously, the religious official was the linchpin to the entire wedding...otherwise, we wouldn't be married. The key here is to find someone who fits your own style and what you are comfortable with. We really lucked out, because we love our cantor.
Next up...Dressing up!