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    Grisanti, owner of Carol Grisanti Weddings Event Planning & Design, has been working with brides and their budgets for more than 20 years. 

    What’s the first conversation you should have about money when you’re planning your wedding?

    “I think you just have to be realistic. You can set a goal in the beginning, but unless you have experience planning a wedding, it can be really hard to come up with a figure. The best thing to do is to check with friends who have had weddings. Ask them what they spent on photography. Call around different venues and get a price right off the bat. Try to get a focus on where you think your budget is going to fall. The national average is around $30,000, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it for less. People are always surprised how easily their budget gets away from them. Once you have that dollar figure, keep everything written down in black and white so you can see it.” 

    Do you have any advice for talking with family members (i.e. parents) who might contribute to the wedding financially? 

    “It depends on the circumstances of your family. Get a fix on how much they want to contribute. It used to be that the parents paid for the bride’s wedding. Today a lot of couples are establishing their careers before getting married, so they may assume a large portion of the budget because of that, and then the parents on both sides can contribute some. It’s best to sit down with both the bride’s and groom’s parents to figure out if they want to contribute.”

    What are the basic components of a wedding that couples should plan for in their budget?

    “First of all, I think you have to start with the reception. Your reception is going to take up 40 to 50 percent of your budget, and that price is based on 150 people. You have to decide if you’re going to serve food. If so, what kind of food? Is it going to be a meal or hors d’oeuvres? Are you going to serve alcohol? The girl always wants to think about the dress first, but once you set the date you need to focus on where you’re going to have the wedding and reception. Then you know from there, based on the 40 to 50 percent of your budget, how much you have left to spend on other things. Everybody has their priorities, but it’s important to plan most of the basics in your wedding. Then, if you have some extra dollars, you can beef up an area you’re really interested in.”

    What are some common things that couples don’t account for in their budget?

    “People tend to overlook the small stuff. You always have to factor in hair and makeup, your accessories, gifts for your attendants, calligraphy (if you’re going to pay someone to address envelopes) and transportation (for example, a limo for the wedding party or for out-of-town guests who may not be familiar with the area). These things start to add up.”

    What items commonly end up costing more than the couple planned for?

    “The biggest surprise has come from photography and videography. Most people think they’re going to be able to get photography for less than $2,000. You can, but you have to ask yourself if it’s the quality you want. People are used to seeing some really nice albums and a disc with images.” 

    Is there a time of year when you can save money?

    “I think there is. It used to be that you could go from November through February and get some less expensive dates, because not everybody likes to get married around the holidays. I have noticed in Louisville that any time around April through October, if you don’t book it over a year ahead, you won’t get it. That’s the busiest time of year. A lot of people look for holiday weekends, like Labor Day or Memorial Day. Almost any place will give you a better rate on Sundays. That being said, I don’t think you can get any cheaper rates on gowns or anything like that unless you hit a sale.”

    This article is courtesy of Louisville Bride. To subscribe to Louisville Magazine, click here.

    Photo courtesy of Shutterstock/alexkich

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