Recently I came across a prospective client looking for someone to assist her with decor for a wedding. This client, in particular, was not the bride or groom, but a helpful relative lending a much-needed hand in trying to make this event come to fruition. The basic information I was given led me to believe that what the client explained was possible with the small budget given. After the initial conversation, I requested further specific information in order to truly assess what my needs would be in order to provide the client with a clear explanation of what the budget would cover. As a planner, I realize that there are elements to design that the client may not consider, and therefore tried to cover all bases in my line of questioning. The response I received upon inquiry was ten times the amount the client budgeted for decor. Here are a few things I realized in this exchange, Pinterest give brides unrealistic expectations when on a budget, Do-it-Yourself may save you money, but you have to dedicate a lot of time and resources to make the impossible possible, and finally there are many areas brides and grooms overlook when planning their decor budget.
Based on this experience, here are some tips to assist you in budgeting decor into your event:
How many tables will require decorations? (Be sure to include gift tables, dessert tables, memorial tables, sweetheart tables, etc.)
When using Pinterest use it as a template, do not attempt to replicate the image. Simple is just as beautiful as more extensive designs are.
When anticipating budget consider the cost to decorate each table? For example, if you have 10 tables and a $1000 budget that gives you $100 per table to spend.
Know the do’s and dont’s of your venue. (i.e., open flame candles or electric)
Determine the size of the space. Arches and backdrops are a beautiful addition, but ensure there is space for these elements in the design.
Don’t assume artificial flowers are less expensive than real ones. Depending on the design you can still end up spending more money than you planned on flowers. Be unconventional, check your local grocer. Wegmans, Harris Teeter, Safeway, and Giant have their own floral departments and can save you hundreds of dollars on flowers. Also, if you are flexible with the flower types getting you what’s in season can save you tons of money as well. The rule thumb here is color over flower type equals big savings.
When considering who to hire, determine what they have in stock and try to build a design based on the materials they possess.
Finally, have fun with planning, but be flexible. Flexibility in planning can not only make for a more pleasurable planning experience but allowing your planner and/or designer to be flexible can come with discounts.