First of all, thank you guys so much for your great comments! I'm glad so many of you are willing to offer your thoughts. Mr Pug and I talked and of course, were in agreement about getting rid of the fruits and the projector (the projector was a last minute "why not" of his, and the fruits were since we wouldn't be able to do a dessert buffet.) We are sort of ambivalent about the champagne... I said, "Remember at that wedding, there wasn't a champagne toast!" And he said, "Um, yes there was." Which says to me 1. I was too drunk and 2. If I, crazy Pugzilla Bride Blogger, did not notice or care either way, others might not either. Also, thanks Katerina from GirlWithARing who said her parents really cared about it... we realized before setting anything in stone, we should probably talk to our parents in case something is super-important to them.
Realizing what an "average" budget in your area is seems to be a hot topic. Many of you commented on it, and I noticed it on the Weddingbee boards today here. WB member Snake posted this Cost of Wedding site, where you plug in your zip code and find out the average range of the cost to get married in that city or town, not including the ring or honeymoon.
Ready for this? My hometown of Caldwell NJ has an average wedding cost of $41,918 and $69,863. Yes, seriously. Well, I guess to those of you in Beverly Hills CA ($57,216 and $95,361) would be jealous of that. (Yea that's right, I plugged in 90210!) Indianapolis IN comes in at $16,369 and $27,282, which I think is reasonable. With the $40+ a plate (for CHICKEN!) and thousands-of-dollars venue rental fees we found, I think that means a lot of Indianapolis weddings are smaller than our 200-guest goal. We had to venture north of the city to get a great cost ourselves.
Back to our proposal. I called my mom on the way home from work and had a good cry. I knew this all was coming- the 19%, the cost for drinks, etc.- but had to just cry about all the money we lost when I lost my job (and we had to spend all our savings to get by) or when we had the other money issues I haven't blogged about, and a leaky roof. I complained about the parents who give their kids 30 grand and say "have fun!" I lamented about not having people to talk to about this in my real life. She lets me vent and is so wonderful. She wishes she could help, but my Dad not having life insurance when he passed away really screwed her financially. (CALL YOUR PARENTS AND MAKE SURE THEY HAVE LIFE INSURANCE, NOT JUST FOR YOU, BUT FOR THE SURVIVING PARENT!) Her support really made me feel less gloomy though, and she told me to get in there and hug my wonderful fiance. Which I did!
Just after I went over the spreadsheet Mojito helped me make, Mr Pugs was playing X-Box Live and I was folding my mountains of laundry. And the phone rang. It was our venue's representative. She wanted to clarify a few things on our proposal which I had emailed her about. The first was that I had asked her about linens- and yes, they were included in the room rental cost, not left out accidentally. (YAY!) The other was the bar. (Gulp!)
We had come up with a few bar options we wanted priced, and had expected them all to be on the proposal. In her call she said that she could only put one in that program, but wanted to tell us our other details. What we had on our proposal was the most expensive option. The soda was included (I split it off in my spreadsheet) and it was all $7/person for the first hour, and $3.50/person for each additional hour. She said the other two options would be cheaper! First was the option to buy our own kegs and wine. Second would be to do a consumption bar, where we put any amount of money down, and then decided what drinks we would serve. If the money ran out, we could pay more money that night and keep it open.
Here are my thoughts about the options:
Host Bar Option:
This sounded like a good option, but I was having a hard time deciding how much wine and beer to estimate. I looked at the Real Simple and evite estimators and struggled with, "is this the right amount?" It would be different if we were buying them ourselves, but already paying an up-charge by buying through our venue, I thought consumption might be better. Plus- we'd still have to do the pay for soda versus no soda debate!
Consumption Bar Option:
This option is where we do a set amount. We can select which drinks are available (we'd do domestic beers ($2.75 each) and house wine or champagne ($5.00/glass) and maybe even a premium wine if that means Riesling! ($6.00/glass) Sodas could also be included then for $1.50 each- that way, we pay per soda ordered, not per person! This would be a good option for a couple wanting a signature drink- if we wanted to include, say, a Pugtini, we could make that available too and only pay for the ones ordered. Any other drinks would be available but for cash. I think a good amount to put down would be $2,500. Then, if we are getting close to hitting that mark, our coordinator finds us (or a parent if we designate them) and we can add more money to our consumption bar tab. Even if we go over the original bar cost we were quoted ($3,500) by adding more later in the night, that's money we didn't have to worry about paying in advance. That's what wedding gifts of cash are for!
Here's what our venue budget looks like:
The only thing different for total cost is the reduction of the bar cost to $2,500. Choice 1 eliminates fruits and projectors, and Choice 2 eliminates those plus champagne. I feel much better! We can also do a bit between Choices 1 & 2 by doing all sparkling grape juice.
When has something bad improved for you in wedding planning? And who do you go to for venting purposes besides your fiance?ps... I'M GETTING MARRIED FOUR MONTHS FROM TODAY!!!!!!!!!! HOLY $(@*#!!!!!!!