I get asked what budgets I have to have to except a client. It catches me by surprise when someone will ask this because I never think of myself as having a minimum to work with me.
I have a realistic minimum that I look for from clients.
When someone sits down with me and says they plan on having 250 people for a budget of 10,000 that is when I will start to worry. 10,000 unfortunately is not as much money as it use to be WHEN brides and grooms are trying to treat their guests to an experience that is way out of budget. They want dinner, full bar, cake, flowers, band, photographer, transportation, a dress, tux, gifts for the bridal party, a coordinator, favors, invites, stamps, tips, the site fee, and the rentals for 250 to be included. I’d be lying if I said that 150 people on 10,000 is easy to do. Because in this day and age it’s not easy to keep that budget when a bride and groom see a new idea weekly in a bridal magazine or on a realtiy wedding show and then want to add it in. *This is all subject to location and resources. In states like Montana & Wyoming you can definitely pull this off easier than in Downtown Denver. So keep in mind that I am talking about Denver as I type this.*
My proudest wedding was one I did for $5000.00 The couple had a garden wedding. We used the seating that was in the garden. Rented white chairs that were only 1.50 each. We had a total of 120 guests. The flowers were minimum. One bridal bqt and one flower for the lapel of the groom. They had the maid of honor carry a tiny bqt and the best man also had a small flower. The officiant was free because he was a family friend. The music for the ceremony was a string quartet. They remained in place and played for the remainder of the day.
We had four banquet tables covered in a cotton poly floor length linens in white. We had two urns on those tables that only had branches of dogwood stuck in them and other items found in the garden of a family friend. The urns themselves came from an aunts house and had the weathered look to them and were beautiful.
Then two tables in the fountain area for the bar. We only had beer, wine, champagne, water and lemonade.
Food was cheese, crackers, fruit, chicken fingers (they were called tenders to seem more upscale) small ham biscuits. Then cake of course.
We stacked up the napkins. Only had to rent forks for the cake. We used clear plastic plates that were heavy duty and bought those in bulk of 1000 for $60.00. I remember that clear as day all these years later.
The ceremony was at one o’clock in the afternoon. The reception went until four.
The photographer was there for three hours. He came prior to the ceremony when the bride was getting ready. For the ceremony he was there. Then one hour after he was there. He captured the moments that were important and was out of there.
It was perfect and it was $5000.00 It was one of the most elegant weddings because it was simple. But, the components were not fluff. We didn’t have favors. We didn’t have sparklers. We didn’t have printed programs and place cards to worry about. We didn’t worry about out of town guest bags. We didn’t have a zillion linens to match to flowers.
We were kicking people out of the garden at the end of the day. Literally! They all said they just felt so relaxed and it was one of the best weddings they had ever been to. They were fed. They had a cocktail. They got to see their friends and they didn’t have to make small talk or dance in the middle of the day.
So whenever anyone asks me what my minimum budget is I will admit it’s all I can do not to tell this story. I have such fond memories of the couple, the day and the wedding so I am sure that has something to do with it too. But, if I could put a wedding on a resume to brag about it would be this one. It doesn’t take a lot of money to have a wedding that is memorable.
I take any budget. I like to say I take a realistic budget more so than a dollar amount budget though!