If I could tell any newly-engaged girl a tidbit to help her, I now know what it would be.
DON'T FORGET THE SERVICE CHARGE.
Looking at venues, we would do math in our heads, looking at either per person cost, or the minimum, etc. We knew that most places have an 18-20% service charge, but didn't really think about it. I guess in my head I maybe thought it wasn't that much? Well it totally blew our venue budget. Remember when we went over what we wanted at Palomino, and she said she'd type it up and send it to us, and then we could add/change/delete? I got that email. And it blew me away. I made it into a spreadsheet, which I am going to share with you in a minute.
Before you read on, I want you to note that it wasn't an easy decision to share this with you all. A lot of money to one person is nothing to another, and vice versa. Some of you have posted your budgets, or I've seen some on wedding sites, and a lot of the time I'm sort of judge-y. You know, like, "They think that's a budget wedding?" So I'm asking you to put yourselves in my shoes- remember the cost where we live, remember that we're paying for the wedding ourselves, and remember that we are very, very poor and this is a lot of money to us!
Okay, off soapbox. Onwards!
Here's the beginning of the excel document I made. I did this so I could add columns where I could then omit items and see where we stood. The total cost is for everything listed on the proposal.
Above are the food items. This could change depending on what people order, and most importantly, how many people come! We selected the fruit and strawberries thinking it would be nice, as not everyone loves cakes. They will be getting a dinner salad and rolls, meal with sides, garlic bread, drinks, and cupcakes- $840.00 more? For that they can stop at Arby's on the way home if they are honestly still hungry after the schmorgasboard. SORRY! Geez Louise that's more than we're paying for cake!
Below are the non-food details... not so bad! I LIKE OUR SUBTOTAL! That's just above where we were hoping to be.
Wait a second... there's more.
Yep you can't forget that SERVICE CHARGE! It was nearly 2k for us, and for more pricey areas/higher budgets, this could get expensive and quick. But that wasn't all...
About 3k above where we would feel comfortable. I calmed myself down and thought through the details. I was really upset that to have a cheaper bar, we'd need to pay $2 per person for soda. They get free water, coffee, lemonade, and iced tea, so chopping this was an option. (Soda comes with any open bar package, but we chose just domestic beer and house wine.) The fruits are definitely out, as well as the projector and screen. We thought it would be nice to show a slideshow during dinner, but for that cost, the $25 bar TV's showing our slideshow will be enough. Something to do while waiting for drinks!
I took these considerations and made a few choices.
I emailed with two of my blog gals, Laura from With This Ring, I Thee Blog, and Stephanie from I Do at the Zoo. Stephanie was kind enough to send over her bar and food spreadsheets to compare! And Laura added columns detailing what she though would be necessary versus what could be cut. Here's the spreadsheet with her additions on the right:
Luckily, Laura is also crazy about excel. I'm sure you can't read this, just trust me, it's a magnificent document.
I feel confident that Mr Pug and I can make this work. We'll be cutting things for sure! What smaller things on my list would you cut? For example- would you be ok with lemonade, water, coffee, and tea? Would you prefer to see the tulle swags with twinkle lights go, or the green uplighting? Do you think the champagne toast is more important than soft drinks? Should it be all sparkling grape juice to save money? Would you be baffled if there wasn't a champagne toast?
Thanks for not judging, guys! And thanks Laura and Steph for listening! We're going over this tonight, will probably sleep on it for a while, and then have to give the final go-ahead from our proposal in early January. I'll letcha know!