One of the first items I discuss with Clients at our initial meeting is the budget. Not the "dream number" but the actual and realistic amount of money you expect to have AVAILABLE at least 1 month prior to the wedding.(We utilize 1 month prior to your ceremony date,because most of your wedding related expenses will be due in full between 14-30 days prior to the wedding, not on the day of). Based on the figure provided, we compile a planning budget inclusive of everything wedding related, down to the cost of stamps (3 sets)and gratuity. This budget gives us clear path towards a target for spending and a basis by which to select vendors.
So here it is. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth...
Weddings are not cheap. If you do not have a realistic budget in the beginning, you are more likely than not to drown in not only wedding related debt, but stress induced headaches. As your planner, there is little we can do to convince your Vendors to perform as contracted, if you do not comply with the payment terms per your agreement. Make that nothing. There is nothing we can do.
As of late, I've witnessed many couples scrambling at the 2 week mark to "find" $5,000to pay vendors "x,y,x", when they should be relaxing in anticipation of their upcoming nuptials.
Here's my advice.
If you've already begun planning your wedding festivities, somewhere around the 1/2 way point, reassess the initial budget. At this point, there are still changes you can make to prevent running into problems closer to the actual date. Speak to the individuals you believe are contributing to the wedding expenses, and have an honest and open conversation regarding their understanding of exactly what they plan to contribute financially. If you've contracted the services of a professional Coordinator, now is the time to also have a heart-to-heart and discuss where you are on the savings end of the budget, and where you see yourself over the next few months so that the necessary "adjustments" can be made and you can stay on track. After all, there's nothing worse than having the DJ threatening to walk out mid-reception for your failure to pay. (Ask me how I know)