wedding planner

Vendor Spotlight | Inspired Events by Mari

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It’s been a while since I did a vendor spotlight, so I thought it was time for another on this #WeddingWednesday! I’ve been working some with my friend Mari from Inspired Events by Mari, so I asked her to write a post about planning your wedding and staying on budget. Thanks for sharing your expertise with us, Mari!

Congratulations!!! You're engaged!!! What an amazing moment! 

Did you know the average wedding costs $35,000? I know, unreal?! We all say to ourselves, "I'll never spend that!!!" or "that's outrageous." Truth is, it is very easy for a wedding to reach that amount. Here are some good ways to stay on budget.

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Determine your budget

What's your overall budget? How many guests are you inviting? Where are you getting married?

These are the first three things to determine when planning a wedding. Where you live and the number of guests will have an effect on your wedding's bottom line. If you live in a city and are inviting 200 guests, be prepared to pay heavily for that versus a country wedding with 50 guests. A reasonable budget is $15-$18k with between 100 to 200 guests for the Champaign-Urbana area. 

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Hire a wedding coordinator/planner

Don't leave wedding planning to a friend or a family member. Go the extra mile and hire a professional that eats, sleeps, and breathes wedding planning. A wedding planner will help you stay on budget, serve as payment reminder to you and your vendors, and be an advocate for you in your vision of the big day. Let them micro-manage the day, while you enjoy with family and friends.

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Have a realistic planning timeline

This is very important. Planning a wedding not only takes time but also takes $$$. There are deposits, installments, and final payments due within the month of your wedding. A wedding is an investment of time and money. I always recommend that if you can spare it, allow 6 to 9 months to plan your wedding. A year or more is even better.

Stay on budget

Do not exceed your budget. For any wedding, your top vendors will be a venue, caterer, cake, photographer, officiant, flowers, attire, and DJ. Everything beyond that is extra. Before you start planning, start building a wedding fund. Have the conversation with your parents to determine where they stand on contributing to the wedding. Never assume though.

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Do your research

Most vendors have websites outlining their costs and answering basic questions. I always encourage that clients take their time when researching. Have a question? Email your wedding planner to get the answer. Most vendors enjoy working with others in their area, and may run a special if you book them and another vendor they work with on a regular.

Where should I put most of my money?

Expect to spend at least 25% of your budget on food and drink. If you book a venue that has their own caterer, this is so much easier as rental fees are typically rolled into the overall cost for catering an event. Make sure you check that they carry linens and chair covers, otherwise that’ll be an extra expense. The best way to not go overboard on food and drink is to keep your wedding count small. If that’s not possible, then expect to pay more. 

Planning a wedding is about a union between a couple. As vendors in the industry, we strive to highlight all the details of you and your spouse's relationship. If you want to plan a wedding quickly, prepare yourself as best as possible financially. If you have time, take the time. There's no wrong way to plan a wedding. 

For wedding planning services and day-of coordination, please visit Inspired Events by Mari on the web!

Five Ways to Alleviate Pre-Wedding Stress

Freaking out about your wedding? You’re not alone. According to a recent study by Zola, 96 percent of engaged or newly engaged couples are stressing out over wedding planning. But shouldn’t the months and days leading up to your wedding be an exciting time? Very much so! But that doesn’t mean it’s all fun and games; planning a wedding takes a lot of work. So, how can you keep your cool in the midst of it all?

Communicate

The biggest indicator of a healthy, sustainable relationship? You guessed it: communication. It doesn’t do any good to keep all of your emotions bottled up inside. Sometimes all you need is a moment to vent out your grievances to a friend or your fiancé. It’s understandable why you might be feeling the way that you do, and you might even find that others do, or have felt the same.

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alleviate pre-wedding stress

Set Limits

Does your life now seem like it’s been consumed entirely by wedding planning? Do you feel like you can’t catch a break? If so, try to establish some parameters for the sake of your mental wellbeing. Your wedding is coming up, sure, but don’t feel like you must be doing something planning-related every. Second. Of. Every. Day. Instead, schedule out what days and times you’ll be focusing on calling vendors, researching venues, and adding up costs. You won’t believe how much better you’ll feel after a day off.

Don’t Go Over Budget

Weddings require a LOT of money, and for that reason, the wedding itself can be perceived as stressful. While it’s entirely possible to blow your life’s savings on your big day, there are certainly some preventative measures you can take to avoid this. It mostly comes down to establishing a budget that includes you and your fiancé’s combined savings, what you will have saved up by the time of the wedding, and any contributions from family members—then, making sure you stick to it. Looking to up your savings in the months before the wedding? Consider a no fee savings app that’ll jumpstart your budget in no time.

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Exercise

Another source of stress comes from the fear of not fitting into your wedding attire or taking

wedding pictures when you don’t feel like you’re at your best. To combat this stress, try to make sure you’re exercising regularly. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to shell out the big bucks to go workout at a gym (although if that’s already the case, then kudos to you). You can get a great workout from simply going for a jog around your neighborhood or doing at-home exercises according to a workout DVD.

Hire a Wedding Planner

Whether you’re halfway through the planning process, or just starting out, a wedding planner or wedding coordinator (also known as a day-of coordinator) can be a huge lifesaver when it comes to easing planning stress. That’s because it’s their job to take on many of the responsibilities that are typically left to you. Planners will help you stay organized, create a wedding day blueprint and checklist, and get in contact with vendors. You can rest assured knowing your whole day will unravel according to plan at the right venue, with the best services.

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