Amanda
Just Said Yes July 2021

Small budget, big expectations, and covid

Amanda, on January 8, 2021 at 10:50 AM Posted in Planning 0 17
Saved
Reply
If anyone knows about the enneagram, I’m a type 9 (peacemaker), so conflict is not my thing, while people-pleasing is.
We just got engaged on New Years Eve. My fiancé wants to get married this summer and wants a wedding of 200+. My family is concerned about covid and being in gatherings of 200+. My concern is also covid but also budget and finances. Our budget is probably 7k. (Probably being because my dad won’t give me an estimate because he put my fiancé at an ultimatum saying “either a small wedding this summer OR large wedding next spring”) I just feel like there’s no compromise between my parents and my fiancé, because of his wants (not to have to make cuts and wants to get married this summer to “move on with our lives”) and what my financial situation is and concerns about covid. Plus, his brother is getting married in August and is having ~230 (most of which are his family), so my fiancé doesn’t want to have to explain to people why they weren’t invited to our wedding, but got invited to his brother’s. My fiancé doesn’t think the number of guest has anything significant to do with the budget and cost. But also what I NEED is for my grandmother to be there, and I can’t risk exposing her when she lives in an assisted living facility. I just don’t know how to get it through his head that a small budget like that is really difficult to have that large of a wedding without it being a “barbecue in the back yard” and covid concerns. My fiancé’s argument is basically “let’s invite everyone and if they come, great. If not, oh well, that was their choice.” And my mom doesn’t think cutting people in the summer is a good idea if covid is still a big deal. My parent suggested a small wedding then a bigger party and reception later on, but that’s a hard no for my fiancé. So I’m literally just in the middle of everything not knowing what to do with my stress level at 100 24/7. My parents suggested sitting down/calling us for all of us to talk, but I don’t want to do that and make my fiancé feel like we/I are/am ganging up on him.

17 Comments

Latest activity by Becky, on January 9, 2021 at 4:26 PM
  • SHY
    Master January 2022
    SHY ·
    • Flag

    Congratulations on your engagement, and welcome to Wedding Wire!

    This is a difficult situation to be in, because you and your FH need to be a team and also be on the same page. I agree with you that since cases are still rising, having a wedding this summer is still too risky, especially with a guest count as high as yours.

    His argument of inviting everyone and let who want to come, be there...is not very logical. That way of thinking doesn't help when you're working on a budget of ~$7k. I would start research on vendors and get quotes for your guest count. Once he sees how much it's going to cost for a wedding of that guest count, he'll hopefully understand that waiting and saving up is your best option.

    If he's still headstrong about getting married in the summer, and wanting a big wedding, is there a way you can do both? Maybe have an intimate ceremony in the summer, or even elope, then have a large wedding later on with everyone you wanted to invite being there? That way he'll get his part which is him wanting to go ahead and get married, but he'll also get his big wedding later on AND you'll satisfy your parents concerns, while being able to save up money for your big wedding.

    • Reply
  • Violetstorme
    Dedicated October 2022
    Violetstorme ·
    • Flag
    Guest count absolutely matters. For a bigger space you'll generally pay more money and just for catering alone you could easily pay well over $3,000 depending on your area for the bare minimum. Also throwing in COVID concerns is a whole other can of worms because depending on your state restrictions you might not be able to have that many people even outside. While there is a vaccine it takes time for those to be distributed and for people to get them. Some may not even get the opportunity by summer time to even try depending on availability.


    Personally I would sit down and talk and try to reach a calm resolution that's going to be best for everyone. Be sure to be open about your wants, needs and concerns as well. Personally it feels like if he wants a big wedding next spring will be the more viable option if COVID is a huge concern.
    • Reply
  • H
    Devoted August 2023
    Hhh ·
    • Flag
    You need to break this down into manageable chunks. First, detail out a budget by each item with your fiancé. For reference, at $60/person for food an alcohol (which is on the low end for standard catering/bar tending once you add tips/tax etc) you can only invite 120 people if your ENTIRE budget goes to that. Your budget will set how many people you can host, regardless of timing.
    Second, Knowingly planning a large wedding during a pandemic is crazy - spend 10 min on this site to see how many brides are devastated and lost significant amounts of time and money from cancellations/rescheduling. What about bridal shower or bachelorette parties- those would take place in the spring, will events be happening by then?
    Third, explain to him that I upstaging his brothers wedding by sneaking yours in first and inviting the same set of family is going to cause drama. His brother may not care, but his fiancé will. Yes, each wedding only gets one special day, but this looks pretty shady. Do you really want to join his family on a bad note? It is pretty common here to see brides who have fiancé’s that don’t understand the time/money required for a large wedding. You 2 need to get on the same page before you start talking to your families about their opinions.

    • Reply
  • Amanda
    Just Said Yes July 2021
    Amanda ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    He doesn’t drink and doesn’t want it at the wedding, so how much do you expect per person without alcohol? Bc it also involves tables, chairs, decor, etc
    • Reply
  • Violetstorme
    Dedicated October 2022
    Violetstorme ·
    • Flag
    It just depends on what you have available and what you have to get. If you need to rent 300 chairs at $3 a persons that's $900 plus taxes and any delivery or setup fees. The average table I've seen runs about $7-$8 a table.
    • Reply
  • M
    VIP January 2019
    Maggie ·
    • Flag

    "My fiancé doesn’t think the number of guest has anything significant to do with the budget and cost."

    I feel like this might be the root of everything. Your fiancé truly doesn't understand anything about wedding planning. Which is fine because not everyone can know everything. But if he can't listen and learn and compromise then it IS a problem. First (before figuring out COVID timing or your parents' needs or anything else), you both need to get on the same page. This is so crucial and is about way more than just wedding planning. It sounds like there are communication issues and you might consider couples counseling to work on this.

    Once you two are on the same page, everything will be easier. You will be able to work together to budget and plan and deal with all of the influences outside of your relationship (e.g., your parents).

    • Reply
  • Meghan
    Master October 2019
    Meghan ·
    • Flag
    Congratulations on your engagement. Wedding planning really can be very fun, once you get past the guest list lol.
    To be very honest with you, having a 200 guest wedding for $7k will be impossible. I don’t even think you could do a backyard wedding for that. When you factor in food, table & chair rentals, linens, food & drink... you will surpass $7k pretty quickly.
    I think your best bet is to price things out & present that to your fiancé. He can either come up with the extra $10k+, or plan your wedding for later on.
    • Reply
  • Katelyn
    Savvy May 2017
    Katelyn ·
    • Flag

    I agree re: budget and discussing with your fiancé. It will be impossible to hold a full "bells and whistles" reception for that number and that budget. Assuming this scale of event is allowed, the only way to accomplish this in my area would be to hold it at church hall. For example, my church hall holds 250+ and would cost about $1,000, which would include tables and chairs, use of the sanctuary, the officiant, and cleaning staff. The cheapest catering option would be something like Chipotle, which when I used it, cost $15 pp after taxes. So that's $4500. A retail cake, i.e. not a wedding cake, and drinks (soda) would be about $500. That leaves $2,000 for attire, photographer, florist, decorations, DJ, invitations, etc. which breaks down to less than $500 per item. For comparison, I spent $1200 on my dress and alterations, $150 on florals, $500 on a DJ and $1100 on a photographer. Depending on where you live, it simply isn't possible to find these items at these prices. You can of course eliminate vendors (DJ, decor, florist, professional photographer). You also may have friends/family willing to do these things, which of course brings it owns risks, and you can find some good deals but you also may lose some of the things that are important to you about your wedding.

    • Reply
  • MOB So Cal
    January 2019
    MOB So Cal ·
    • Flag

    I agree with others that it is highly unlikely you can even minimally host 200 guests with a total budget of $7000. Even if there are NO expenses beyond what you spend per guest, that is $35 pp. The least expensive food/catering options available are likely to be pans of food from restaurants like Olive Garden or El Pollo Loco or something similar, let's be super conservative and say $10 pp, but don't forget food for 200 people will need to be delivered, stored appropriately (you've got to keep it hot or cold, or you risk making people sick), and served (especially during Covid, you can't have 200 people touching the serving utensils), plus plates & silverware (even papergoods from Costco or Walmart are going to run $1-2 pp); also, depending on where you live, some or all of that will be taxable and you'll need to tip workers/delivery person/etc. Conservatively, let's say all of that adds $5 pp (it's a lot more, but make the math simple).... No alcohol? Okay, that's a choice, but you still probably have to have some beverage beyond tap water, so conservatively estimate $5 pp for a combination of soda/lemonade/iced tea/coffee/whatever (and let's say the $5 includes cups, ice, serveware/storage, etc. -- probably not, but for the sake of argument). Want a cake or other dessert? Your least expensive option is probably cupcakes from Walmart or Costco, let's say $1 pp (you still need to get them transported and set up; and depending on the frosting they may need to be refrigerated). That puts you at about $21 pp, for food & beverages ONLY.... Do you have a venue? Chairs, tables, lights, restroom facilities, a wedding dress/suit, an officiant, music, photographer, flowers and other decor, invitations & postage, etc.? I know you see where I'm going; honestly, it is highly unlikely that you can host a wedding involving even the simplest of food & beverage for 200 people for $7000. You could scale back and only do cake/tea/lemonade, if it's not scheduled at a mealtime. If that what the two of you want, then it's a great inexpensive option. But still, a venue that holds 200 people, including places for them to sit can cost thousands of dollars, depending on where the wedding is located.

    I think your best bet is to talk with FH about what the two of you want for your wedding, and then gather realistic cost information for EVERYTHING you'll need, in your geographic location. There are tons of wedding budgeting articles/checklists that can help you make sure you've included everything (tips, taxes, postage, etc.). Be sure you look into any regulations and/or policies that might influence your estimates (e.g., many venues require you to use their own or a short list of approved caterers, so you can't bring in your own food or beverage; some have billing minimums -- especially for a potentially prime summer date; public parks or other spaces may have all kinds of regulations and/or permit requirements, so research them carefully; there is a lot to think about, so really brainstorm everything the two of you can imagine).

    I'm not trying to be discouraging, but it's truly better for you and FH to make important decisions with ALL the important information available. The general rules of wedding planning include start with budget, guest list, and preferred timing -- and make sure all three of those are in alignment before you proceed any further. Generally, if the budget doesn't meet the guest list a couple has two choices: push out the timeline to allow them to save more money or cut the guest list to reduce costs. Easily 50+% of wedding expenses are tied to the guest list, so each guest you cut gives you more money to spend on those who remain on the list. Good luck! Working through these kinds of issues is great practice for marriage -- which will include so many issues and discussions like this and ignoring them to be a "people pleaser" is pretty much doomed to failure.

    • Reply
  • A
    Expert September 2020
    Amanda ·
    • Flag
    I’d stop allowing your parents to have any influence and plan the wedding you want and can afford.
    • Reply
  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle Online ·
    • Flag
    Plan the wedding you can afford on your own without parental help. Once you accept other people's money, they decide all the details and you are just a guest. You and fiance are the only ones getting married so if you want things your way, which they should be in the first place, pay for it yourselves. Do not invite random people that only your parents know who don't care about you.
    • Reply
  • Samantha
    Rockstar October 2022
    Samantha ·
    • Flag
    It sounds like your FH is (blissfully?) unaware of what is involved in hosting a major event. You really are going to have to guide him into seeing reason.
    If you have 150 people, if your entire budget goes towards food, that’s about $46/pp. You will have to find a free venue that provides all tables, chair, silver, dishes...everything, and then a caterer that can keep the cost thar low. Even in a really low cost of living area that will be nearly impossible.
    Does your FH have a head for numbers, does he understand budgeting, that sort of thing?
    • Reply
  • Meghan
    Expert September 2021
    Meghan ·
    • Flag
    I would suggest you and your FH sit down and write the top 3 important things for your wedding.


    Ex:First lookVideographerVenue with ceremony
    Then after narrowing down what’s important look at venues that you both like. This will give you an idea of whether you could even have a wedding next spring. Many venues are booking up FAST because of covid. When we looked for 2021, our venue only had 3 dates left! Researching together will also give you an idea of costs and whether you need to adjust your budget.
    The amount of guests also really changes your budget drastically. If you’re trying to cut down on budget, then people usually recommend trimming the guest list.
    With covid, there are also no guarantees with the number of people we can have since we’re unsure of the state regulations. I would make sure to talk to venues about how they’re handling covid.
    You’re going to receive a lot of opinions so make sure you and your FH are on the same page. You both will need to make compromises to make it work but focusing on those top 3 things will help you remember what’s most important.
    • Reply
  • Eri
    Super October 2020
    Eri ·
    • Flag

    Congratulations and welcome to WW!

    A couple general notes --

    - Everyone goes through wedding sticker shock. If you've never planned an event before, you have no frame of reference for how much things cost, and anything wedding-specific is going to have upcharges (e.g., an updo for prom vs. an updo for a wedding). Every time I'd talk to my DH about a new vendor, he'd be like, "Wait, that costs how much?"

    - Weddings involve a lot of competing priorities, and therefore necessitate compromise. Even if you had an unlimited budget, there would be factors that you'd need to still work around, especially if you and FH have different ideas about what you want.

    - Covid is a wrench in everyone's plans, and even though there's still a lot of uncertainty, at least you can plan with caution.

    For your specific situation, is the $7k coming from you or your parents?

    I also agree with the previous post that mentions writing out your top 3 priorities. For us, they were photography, food/guest experience, and convenience. For others, it could be videography, flowers, and venue. Sit down with your FH and figure out what's truly most important to you and what your must-haves are. That will help you decide what to invest in and what to skimp on or skip altogether.

    I would also talk to your FH about the reality of how much things cost and explain that the number of guests heavily influences that. You generally have to multiply everything by the number of guests -- food, favors, invitations, etc. With a larger guest list, you also need a larger space. Yes, there are things you can cut -- I saw you mentioned no alcohol, and favors are totally optional, but food is going to be expensive.

    There are a ton of ways to save money and a lot of DIY options, but you can't really think about that until you and FH come to an agreement on the budget, guest list, your vision for the wedding, etc. (A lot of people also go over budget, so I'd say don't set the budget at your absolute max.)

    I, personally, would not plan something in 2021 unless it was a small wedding or elopement at this point. Many vendors and dates are already booked up from all the 2020 postponements, and even 2022 is getting filled up now.

    Good luck!

    • Reply
  • W
    Super September 2020
    Willow ·
    • Flag
    I'd tell him to do his own research on catering, venues and vendors, and agree to compare notes in 3 weeks.


    He's not just ignorant about wedding planning. He's neglecting to do basic division. If he wants to make a 200 person wedding work on a $7000 budget, and get married in the summer, he needs to do the legwork. And he can't just assume people will decline.
    • Reply
  • Kimberly
    Super March 2021
    Kimberly ·
    • Flag
    Everyone has hit on the fact that your FH does not have a clue about what things cost for a wedding. That needs to be a serious conversation and research for you both. I recommend doing it together so he can see exactly what’s involved.


    However, my biggest concern is that everything you’re saying is “he doesn’t want that” “he wants this” “waiting is unacceptable to him”. He isn’t the only one getting married and your wants are just as important as his. What do YOU want to do for your wedding?
    • Reply
  • B
    VIP July 2017
    Becky ·
    • Flag

    I think he really just doesn't have a clue how much these things cost. We had 60(ish) people at our wedding (in July 2017 in Alabama) and spent around $20,000 - and Alabama's relatively inexpensive as far as weddings go . . .

    We got married at a historic home (they provided tables, chairs, staff, a DOC, and an officiant).

    Food was sliders, kebabs, a mashed potato bar, pimento cheese bites, and corn salad (people still tell us how delicious the food was - but it certainly wasn't fancy and it was a served buffet).

    We did beer, wine, soda, and water - but we bought the alcohol, so I was able to get it for less than $500)

    Music was a playlist - no DJ or band (we were going for a garden party feel).

    Hair was done at the salon and the make up artist came to the venue.

    Photography was important to us, and cost nearly $4000 - but the pictures are amazing (and that's all you have at the end of the day - photos and your memory, which is faulty - it goes by so fast).

    My attire was from David's, H's from Men's Wearhouse.

    Plus invitations, decor, flowers (we went pretty simple there), save the dates, gifts for bridal parties, plus, plus, plus.

    You're going to have a VERY difficult time hosting 200 people on $7000.

    • Reply

You voted for . Add a comment 👇

×

Related articles

WeddingWire celebrates love ...and so does everyone on our site! Learn more

Groups

WeddingWire article topics