So, you recently got engaged and now you're wondering where you actually start your planning. After asking around to all your friends you feel as though you're still in the same or maybe worse spot than before.
Well, don't worry. Let's get started....
The first thing you need to decide is how much would you like to spend on our wedding. This can be a little scary, because you may have a different vision than your wedding budget can afford. So, first let's decide on how many guests you would like to invite vs. how many can you actually afford?
Let's say that after a discussion with your Finance' and your family, everyone has agreed that your budget should stay around $20,000. Well, at first, that might seem like a lot of money, but the reality is it depends on your guest count.
Your venue rental and your food & beverage dollars should not exceed two-thirds of your total wedding budget. So, let's say the venue you chose is charging you a rental fee of $3,500 and $100 per person ++ for your food and beverage. This means that you can afford to invite approximately 65 people. Now, how did we get there?
The "++ plus-plus" are the additional fees imposed by the venue. It's called "tax & gratuity". In most cases, the "gratuity" is about 23% along with your counties sales tax. So, if the venue is charging you a $100 per plate++, then you will actually be paying $131 per person (based in Orange County Florida @ 6.5% sales tax) plus the venue rental fee. So, the total cost of your venue to invite 65 guests will be approximately $11,600. Which means you now have about $8,000 left to spend on the rest of your vendors to complete your wedding.
You should also ask the catering manager if your ceremony fees (should you decide to have everything all inclusive--which will save you money) are included in the total rental fee, or if there are any additional charges, i.e., ceremony chairs set-up or additional rental fees. Also, ask the catering manager if the food & beverage cost includes any alcholol or just basic beverage, like water, tea, coffee or lemonaide. Some venues may include some type of bar usually with an additional bartending fee of about $150.
If you want to invite more than the guests above and do not want to add additional money to your budget, you will need to look at other venues that charge less money to rent the venue and how much per plate. There are wonderful locations everywhere....have fun and be sure to ask questions, to make the right decision for you and your guests!
Best Wishes in your hunt for the perfect wedding venue and guest meals. Happy Wedding Planning!