Budget, Research and Guest List

In this episode we start to discuss Emma’s wedding research and suppliers she is looking for. We also discuss budgets and how she is deciding how much to allocate for each service. We also cover guest lists and how many people she will be having at her wedding.

Wedding Podcast Episode 2 Transcript

Marcus (00:00):

Hi and welcome to the Partyology experience. I’m here today with Emma DeJong and we are talking about her wedding and the planning of her wedding over the next few months. In today’s podcast we’re going to talk about budget ,research and guest lists. Now these topics we get asked about all the time ,what should you do, and what order should you do them in? I think for these three things, I’ve put them all together because you sort of need to do them all at the same time. So the first thing you need to work out really is a guest list because once you’ve got your guest list, you’ll know what size venue to look for and you know how many people you’re catering for. So once you’ve done your guest list then it’ll give you a good idea what sort of budget you’re going to need for your reception and for all the other things. So Emma in your research so far or doing your guest list how many have you got coming to your wedding

Emma (00:58):

So around one hundred. It’s sitting at around 112 at the moment, which I think it probably will stay closer to that amount rather than a hundred, but we’ve just told the venue a hundred for now until we work out who’s coming and who’s not coming. The best way that we kind of work this out is we actually did have an engagement party, so we would just use the same list as a guide and took some people off that we thought weren’t going to be invited to the wedding . But that’s probably the best way we did it. So have you struggled then, I guess to hone it back in, because how many did you have in your engagement party? 135. You’ve basically lost say 20 people. Have you found it hard to sort of kull it down a bit?

Emma (01:38):

Not too bad to be honest. Some people I think knew they’ll just come to the engagement party and we’rent going to be invited to the wedding. They were people that were like friends of friends that we knew, but we invited them to the engagement that are not coming to the wedding. So it wasn’t too bad to be honest. I think if I had to kull it down to a hundred it would be more of an issue because I know it’s 12 people that would be very upset. But at the moment, yeah, its around 112 which is not too bad.

Marcus (02:01):

One thing people say they struggle a lot with when it comes to guest lists is how many to invite and how to fit everybody into some sort of budget. I personally have been preaching for years as an unwritten rule and this sort of works but might not work for everyone, but to me I think you should only really invite people to your wedding that you think you’re going to be friends with in five years. Now that sort of makes it hard If you’re working with people and you may have worked with them for a couple of years and you’ve created a great relationship and for whatever reason you left that job you could then ask yourself the question, would I still be friends with this person after I leave this job? Or if they left would I continue being friends with them? So if you don’t think you’re going to be friends with that person in five years time and you follow that rule then you probably will find it easier to cut back on your guest list.

Emma (02:52):

Yes it’s a really good tool to use I think because work is a hard one.I think you work with these people all the time, so you have to face the music do you or don’t you invite them if you are going keep working there. But if you don’t see yourself being friends with them outside of work really like long term, then I don’t think that it’s something you should be looking into. I think you should just not invite them and it is hard, but it is what it is. I find sometimes with guest lists, it’s hard when you’ve got parents that say but I want to have my friends there as well and well we’ll pay for our friends. So it can get into of those sorts of things as well, especially if your parents are sort of paying for some of the wedding as well.

Emma (03:26):

You do get in that sort of sticky situation but I think if you and your partner really talk about it and what you want you kind of work it out. Even speaking to my parents a couple of days ago they said they could of kulled like 40% off their guest list for their wedding they said it was ridiculous. I don’t want to look back and go, I could have invited say 60 people instead.We literally have a hundred people or 112 that are like our closest dearest family and friends. So its really quality over quantity then. A hundred percent, I don’t want to have 200 people to get married in front of 100 is daunting enough.

Marcus (03:56):

Yes I agree .We had 140 at our wedding and a lot of those we don’t see anymore so yes I totally get that. Yeah. So let’s talk the most important thing, budget. Budget’s a big thing for everybody. Obviously budget determines what you’re going to do ,How are you going to do it and all those sorts of things. So have you set a budget and have you worked out how much money to spend on each component of your wedding?

Emma (04:19):

This was a hard one for us I think because we’re both on sort of different terms. I think I have more realistic ideas of how much things cost and BJ has no idea. I think when I told him some of the costs of what it was going to be on the day, I think he nearly had a heart attack and fell on the floor. So I’ve actually decided not to talk to him too much about budgeting. I’ll just go along with the planning and let him know at the end.We,didn’t want to spend crazy amounts of money. We do want to spend more money on renovating our house as we spoke about last time. We have sort of a rough idea of where we’re both sort of happy with budget. I think I’ll be happy to go over it by about 5,000, but that will probably be pushing it with him.

Marcus (04:55):

So yes, as we say, budget is super hard and I guess it really is hard to set a budget when you don’t know costs of anything if you are not in the industry.You have no idea how much it’s going to cost you per head at a function center or how much the photographer costs or the celebrant. So really you can’t set a proper budget until you, research.

Emma (05:15):

I think a little bit for me, because I kind of understood how much things cost it wasn’t like Oh wow, this is going to cost me a fortune. I think some brides go into this saying I want this and that then they realize that’s its going to cost them $10,000 to have that one particular thing. I think that’s when they start to get a bit upset or they turn into a bridezilla because they want what they want but they don’t have the money to afford it, I think what people need to do more is research before they go into these huge grand plans and then let themselves down. I think that’s sort of the one thing I find people really do and it’s, it’s, it’s hard to come back from that when you are that high.

Marcus (05:55):

You know, Instagram and Pinterest make it super hard because you see all these glamorous weddings and you don’t realize that particular setup was a hundred thousand dollars just in the decor alone. Let alone food drinks. and everything else so that’s where it does make it hard. So I would say research, research, research will then give you a better idea for your budget. One resource we have if you are struggling with what you should spend your money on for your wedding is we have on the feel good events website , we’ve got a blog post on, you rough percentages on what you should spend, spend your budget on. That may give you some idea of where you should allocate your money. Now obviously your wedding reception the venue is going to probably take the most of your budget, but you know, at the end of the day it will give you an idea on what you should spend your money on.

Marcus (06:42):

I mean we’ve got a guide on roughly on what you should spend your money on, but you’ve got to think is the money you’re spending on your wedding going to give you the result that you want. I think a lot of the time when people are planning, they’re not necessarily doing that. So they want party of the year, but they’re spending their money on really fancy cars that are costing them $10,000 to hire these fancy cars and you are only in them for five minutes and then you’re in the reception anyway. Even flowers, and I mean obviously everybody has flowers in some degree for their wedding butt some people go over the top but then they say they want their wedding to be really fun and more of a party. In that case are those flowers really adding to that fun party or should they have spent that budget maybe on more entertainment. They then scrimp on the entertainment because they they’ve spent all their money on everything else. The entertainment is what makes it maybe more fun. So really what i am saying is what is going to be most important to you , and what are you going to get best value for money?

Emma (07:39):

Yeah, I’m working a budget around that too. I think a lot of couples should sit down and go, okay, these are the most important points for us. We’re going to spend more money on those things because they’re important to us. And then the things underneath it not so important. Like they might find flowers, not so important for them, but yeah, the duo and the DJ or the band is really important. They spend more on them and I think that’s the best way to do it, to be honest, within reason of course.

Marcus (08:01):

So in doing your research, what have you found to be good and bad? What’s been your experience from your personal point of view? Obviously you deal with venues and all sorts of stuff all the time, so you’re dealing with them on a different level, but when it comes to your own wedding and looking at say venues and that sort of thing and just other suppliers, what, what’s been the good and bad parts of that?

Emma (08:22):

It’s been quite eye opening for me, to be honest. I think because now I have to organize it for myself and I’m very particular and I think because I know so much about the industry and the venues and sort of what I wanted, I had a very sort of tight idea on how I wanted it to go. So for example, an issue that I find a lot is that the actual access times to get into a venue on the day to do your installation of your room is only like two hours. Now for me doing this as a job, I know things take a lot longer than two hours. So I wanted somewhere that would be flexible with me and let me have all day because I knew that was gonna be able to do as much as I possibly could in that day and make it look as how I wanted it to.

Emma (08:58):

I feel people also have these grand plans. Yes, they cost a lot, but they also take a lot of time to install as well. So you might see that floral installation, it’s $10,000, but it takes six hours to install. You don’t have that time, so then you have to pay more on top of your venue costs just to get the extra time, which I think was getting lots of people. And I have lots of brides complain about this all the time. I’m just saying that it’s sort of misleading in the fact that they pay , $20,000 for a venue, but then it’s an extra $5,000 for the extra time. So for me, I was watching out on that pretty quickly going, I want a venue, thats going to give me access times. And also of course the collection as well. Making sure that was a reasonable amount of time, not midnight that night and it had to be out in a half an hour ,that’s not really, realistic for people.

Marcus (09:36):

So have you found suppliers are they getting back to you on time? Is there long wait times for quotes, all those sorts of things?

Emma (09:48):

I think it’s hard the moment we’re actually halfway through a pandemic, so it is a hard one to answer at the moment. I think it’s slightly different. I’m finding it quite frustrating in the fact that a lot of people are taking a lot of time to get back to you and being in this industry, I understand that people are busy and for us at feel good events it sometimes it can take us two days to get back to people and we of course try not to do that. I’m waiting two, three, four, five weeks for quotes and I understand there is a pandemic, but you also feel like you want to be wanted as a bride and that makes me not want to hire from them. I’m like, if this is the hardest process what’s it going to be like on the day for me, I don’t want that extra stress of having to wait five weeks for you to reply. So for me, I sort of just think I’m being lenient. I’m giving them two or three weeks and I think that’s perfectly fine but you know, four or five weeks it’s starting to get like Im really not important to you at all.

Marcus (10:38):

I think there’s something in that that’s a good test if you’re finding you’re dealing with suppliers, whether it be photographer, venue or whatever it might be, and they’re taking weeks to get back to you from the beginning. You’re thinking what’s it going to be like when we do sign up or hand over some money? You are asking yourself are they going to be painful to deal with every time I have a quick question or something like that. Organizing a wedding can be stressfull there’s lots involved in it. So I think that’s a sign that if you’re finding that, a particular supplier is taking a while to get back to you, then maybe they’re not the right choice.

Emma (11:09):

I found a lot in the world of Instagram, especially my age, everyone’s looking for wedding suppliers on Instagram and all the photos look amazing. But I found a lot of these Instagram accounts, they don’t even have websites. And for me it’s sort of a bit of an alarm bell and they’re not that far advanced in the industry to have a website ,do I trust them or not? and that sounds really horrible but for me in the industry, I think a website is something you just have across the board if you’re in business. So I did find it a bit difficult. It was really hard to get in contact with those people because if they’re not checking their Instagram all the time, okay. It was difficult and if they didn’t get their email and I’m trying to chase them all the time. So it was a bit hard.

Marcus (11:51):

So doing research that you have done are you now finding it easier to set the budget.

Emma (11:58):

It is, I think I, I’m a Pinterest lover. I love Pinterest. I have about 400 million boards and everything, like, as Marcus would know at Pinterest, every theme, every single thing and I think I really sickly know where some of these photos that I see that I understand how much it’s going to cost. The budget I think will be workable.

Marcus (12:15):

How much has it blown out so far since you started doing proper planning to where you are now.

Emma (12:20):

I don’t know if it has blown out because I havent worked it out. The hard part is, I kinda, I’m doing any in my head because I kind of know sort of where things are sitting at the moment. I really do need to sit down and actually do the full budget but I know sort of where I’m sitting. I think I was thinking about 20,000 at the moment. I haven’t really done a little nitty gritty things which I know costs the most . So that would be for the venue , and venue takes up a lot of that and I know that of course I’m not doing a big flash bang wedding. So some weddings start off at 20, 30,000 just for the venue ,but I’ve also got, you know, photography and stuff like that in there as well.

Emma (12:52):

So, yeah, I found that the most expensive part at this stage is venue, which I knew. But photography and videography has really thrown me a little bit. I know marcus already knows this because I’ve discussed it with him, but I just really didn’t understand how much this costs. We do it for work, but to do it for yourself as well and work out how much this costs. It was sort of a bit daunting for me because I was like, wow, I just realized that I thought I’d have, you know, four or 5,000 would be maximum me, but I’m looking from seven to eight to nine and that’s just a normal amount. So that’s where I think I’ve gotten stuck as a bride going, okay, what do I value? Do I value my photos or do I value the video more? So that’s sort of something I’m weighing up at the moment cost wise.

Marcus (13:30):

And that’s another key thing there too. I know with our wedding you want nice photos and they are really important because that’s going to help you remember. You just can’t remember the day unless you have these triggers and you want someone good too. So it’s like how much money do I want to spend? Do I want to spend $10,000 on a photographer? And I know from personal experience and from speaking to lots of other people that those photos tend to go in the album because I’m old school, I’ve got a photos in an album. Now its all digital. maybe you might look at it more often. Otherwise they go in the photo album in the cupboard and you pull it out. maybe any anniversary, or maybe every 10 years. Or when the kids want to have a laugh at what you used to look like and what you wore to your wedding when you were skinnier and had hair. So that’s what you’ve got to sort of think of.

Emma (14:16):

Yeah, it’s a fine line I think and I want to spend more money on the entertainment and the fun part, as I said, I want it to be fun, but I also want to capture it as well. I want to spend more money on this component than I do that, but I don’t want to skimp on it either. So it’s a very fine line.

Marcus (14:31):

I think if I was to do it again, I would potentially spend it on video, which we didnt get but I would definitely get a video now. Because you can see people’s reactions and what people’s emotions are. I know a photo capture that, but video is just so much more.

Emma (14:48):

One of my girlfriends got married. I watched her video and I cried the whole time and we watched it two or three times and I cry every time. I’m like, I’m not a cryer. Why am I crying? They’re good at their jobs.

Marcus (14:59):

So again, it’s what’s important to you and this helps you decide as we said before, if you’re big into florals and you want it to look like a flower shop, then you spend heaps on flowers and that will make you feel good. Yeah. But you know, at the end of the day as we sort of talk about a lot of feel good events is is that going to create the best experience or is that going to give you the end results you want ? So the research then at this stage is, you were saying your, your only sort of part of the way through it. It’s not too traumatic for you at this stage.

Emma (15:28):

No, not at this stage. I think it’s just more waiting for people to get back to me. But research wise, most of the content, like it’s so easy the digital age these days with Instagram and Pinterest youve got everything at your fingertips. With the pandemic I can, you know zoom suppliers or FaceTime them or any of those sort of things. So it’s definitely been a lot easier. I’m sure it’s a lot easier than when you plan your wedding Having to, you don’t feel so stressed because you can see physically what their work is.

Marcus (15:55):

I mean, when did research we used to have to ring up venues and then they’d send us something in the mail, there was no internet and they’d send you an album of photos that they’ve done at this venue and the price list. With the research and, and finding supplies and all that, it can be very stressful. And you know, one of the key things we find from weddings and any events and clients that we deal with is that you’ve got to have trust in those suppliers,.

Emma (16:29):

100% if you dont trust them then on the day your worrying that if they’re going to show up or not, are they going to do what they said they’re going to do? So finding suppliers, no matter whether it’s photographer or cake people or florist or whatever, you want to feel comfortable. You want to have a connection with those people so you can feel like they’re not gonna let you down more if you, if you don’t connect with them and it’s all about price, then you potentially can run into issues.

Emma (16:55):

It’s not all about price. It’s price comes down to it and in a degree, but it’s not my top one priority. Like it’s always in the back of your mind, but it’s like if I love someone and I click through them so well, I’d probably pay the extra $2,000 and just, you know, call it a day.

Emma (17:08):

That’s right. If you’ve seen, say it’s a photographer, and they’ve been really awesome to deal with and I just thought they’re just so easy. It made it seem so stress-free for me , you will pay extra for that course.

Marcus (17:20):

So we’ve covered the guest lists. You’re all sorted in that. You’ve worked out roughly how many you want to come , you’re in the research path ,so you’re heading down that way and you’ve sort of got a budget at this point, so you’re on the way there. Hopefully you’ll be able to nut out the budget, I guess when you’ve sort of finalized some of the suppliers and stuff, waiting for the quotes to come back.

Emma (17:43):

I think that’s when I will do up my firm budget. But I’m doing the thing that I tell everyone not to do and thats do a firm budget and I haven’t done a firm budget .

Marcus (17:49):

If you’re paying for the wedding yourself, which a lot of couples do these days obviously makes a difference on how much you spend. We know the average spend for a wedding is around the $50,000. It’s getting high now, so that’s a lot of money. So you really want it to be a good fun time.

Emma (18:04):

Well thats a house deposit , you want to make sure you have a good night.

Marcus (18:07):

So you really want it to be good for all the right reasons so it’s a, it is a big decision. If you’re lucky enough to have parents or other family put in money, then that’s great. But it’s tough to work out their budget. But I guess from what you’re saying, research, research, research to find out what supplies you want.

Emma (18:26):

I think do that first before you really work out your budget. Because I think some people they do, they just have unrealistic ideas on how much things cost. And then I think they fall in love with a look and then they can’t go backwards and then they’re, then they’re becoming stressed because they can’t afford what they want. And I think that, you know, I will go over my budget a little bit and I’d be happy to spend a couple extra thousand dollars because if it’s going to be worth it, it’ll be worth it. But not tens of thousands I think, you know, don’t stretch yourself to the point where you can’t leave. You’re going to be eating rations for the next eight years.

Marcus (18:56):

It’s not worth it eating wedding cake for three months afterwards because you can’t afford the wedding. Well thanks Emma it’s been great talking about budget and research and stay tuned and we’ll be discussing more suppliers and everything tog to do with wedding planning in our next podcast. Thanks for listening. Thanks.