Aiyana
Just Said Yes September 2022

Where to Start...

Aiyana, on April 19, 2021 at 4:36 PM Posted in Planning 0 11
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Hello!

I'm recently engaged and planning a wedding for summer 2022. My FH and I are 23 and 24, and live in SoCal. I actually have pretty extensive experience planning events and therefore feel pretty comfortable doing it myself. However, I haven't planned anything of this scale and we are both the first of all of our friends. siblings, and cousins to get married (so no one has advice!).

Nonnegotiable components
-Budget of $12,000 or less
-Guestlist of ~80
-Open bar for at least part of the reception
-Evening Reception

Ways I've thought to save money
-Makeup and hair (I'm a makeup artist and don't let anyone touch my hair anyways)
-DIY Invitations
-A playlist in place of a DJ or Band
-Close relative as the officiant
-Limiting flowers to the bridal party, groomsmen, and a few centerpieces

Things I particularly need help with
-I know absolutely nothing about how to plan and who is involved in planning a bridal shower, bachelor/bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinner (if I even need one)
-How to book hotel blocks
-If anyone is from California, do you have specific caterer or venue recommendations in the SoCal, Central Coast, or Bay Area?

If anyone has any advice I would love it. Starting to plan early as I know the tight budget is gonna require extra work. Thank you, and I'm so excited!

11 Comments

Latest activity by Chelsea, on April 20, 2021 at 1:06 PM
  • Haylie
    Dedicated October 2021
    Haylie ·
    • Flag
    Congrats on your engagement ! It looks like you’re pretty on track with keeping a decent budget ! I’m not in the California area so I don’t have much advice when it comes to that. But I think maybe I could help with the other questions !
    Typically, your family/bridal party would be the ones planning your shower for you, your bridal party would plan the bachelorette party, and the rehearsal dinner is really up to you. We are having one, but ours is going to be very casual at my parents house, pizza , sides & drinks. I think if you wanted to do one, that would be a nice cheap option. In terms of your shower, I would talk to your family and bridal party to see exactly where everyones expectations are and then go from there.
    When it comes to hotel block offs, it seems like a lot of places have different rules. I would find a hotel you would like to use and then ask them about their procedure. They will most likely ask for an estimated number of rooms, so then they can get back to you with a group discount.
    Hope some of that helps !
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  • Krystina
    Dedicated October 2021
    Krystina ·
    • Flag

    A budget of $12k, 80 people, open bar in Southern California is going to be tooougghhh. Our guest list is limited to 50 and we couldn't find a decent venue under $10-15k. The things you mentioned aren't really the big expenses either; the biggest expenses will probably be venue, catering, photography, and videography.

    One of the cheaper options I know of is to do a wedding cruise like with Hornblower. It's generally all-inclusive (cake, flowers, DJ, officiant, coordinator, rentals, everything) and comes in for about the price of most venues. My sister did this for her wedding and it was really nice!

    I looked at a number of venues that partnered with 24 Carrots for catering and they came highly recommended. Wedgewood Weddings also has a number of venues in Southern California and offers packages at different price points.

    A Google search turned up this:

    https://www.wedding-spot.com/wedding-venues/?bmax=5000&pr=Southern%20California&r=Southern%20California%3AOrange%20County&r=Southern%20California%3ACentral%20Coast&sr=1

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  • A
    Super December 2020
    Anais ·
    • Flag
    Another way to cut costs is to look at a weekday, Friday or Sunday wedding. SoCal is a very high cost area so the budget might be tough, and like someone mentioned, the caterer is the biggest expense because it will be based on the amount of people.
    • Reply
  • Aiyana
    Just Said Yes September 2022
    Aiyana ·
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    Thank you so much for your advice! Super helpful. If I manage to pull this off on this budget I'll post an update haha

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  • Aiyana
    Just Said Yes September 2022
    Aiyana ·
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    Thank you so much for your help. I'll reach out to the bridal party in the coming months to see their expectations and availability in helping me!

    • Reply
  • Kari
    Master May 2020
    Kari ·
    • Flag

    I agree with Krystina - you are going to have a tough time keeping the budget under $12k with 80 guests in SoCal. I would definitely look at a mid-week or off-season wedding to save money.

    Keep in mind a lot of DIYs don't save money and require a lot of time. Doing your own hair and makeup will save you a lot of money if you are already skilled in those areas, but DIYing your invites is going to save you a marginal amount of money and likely require more time than the money saved. We got our invites through Zazzle and if you wait for a sale (they happen pretty often) and go with a basic option they are beautiful, inexpensive, and cheaper than anything you'd come up with on your own. Your other cost saving options are all really smart though. I love flowers, but they are expensive, and you can save a lot of money being flexible with selections and opting not to outfit every single VIP with their own flower adornment. Skipping corsages for moms, boutonnieres for all but the groom, and bouquets for bridesmaids, and opting for in season or easier to source blooms will save you hundreds easily.

    Pre-wedding events are completely optional. Brides don't typically throw their own shower or bachelorette, and the rehearsal dinner is nice if you have more than just a handful of people involved in your wedding, but you can keep it really simple and just do pizzas or something inexpensive and casual. If saving money is a priority, it makes sense to not buy multiple outfits and host and fund more parties than necessary.

    Hotel blocks are not one size fits all. Pick your venue first, and then call up hotels nearby and ask them what their policies are. Some hotels require a minimum number of rooms, or will only hold blocks for a certain time and you are on the hook if the rooms don't get booked. Others have more flexible policies. Hotel blocks may not even be necessary depending on when and where your wedding is and where guests are coming from. Where we live, there are ample hotels and our wedding is during a slow time of year, so we didn't even bother blocking rooms and simply guided guests as what towns to look in if they were traveling and wanted to stay locally. Unless the demand well exceeds supply (such as your wedding is the same time as a holiday or major event in the area, its peak travel season, or there are lodging options near your venue because its in a remote location), I honestly wouldn't stress about this too much. Many guests will just find a hotel on their own or use a hotel chain where they have rewards and will ignore your hotel blocks anyway.

    • Reply
  • Chelsea
    Expert June 2021
    Chelsea ·
    • Flag

    Here to help as best I can as someone else who has planned their own wedding!


    -I know absolutely nothing about how to plan and who is involved in planning a bridal shower, bachelor/bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinner (if I even need one)

    Generally, you don't plan any of these things! If you follow tradition, that is. That is often broken, so don't take these as hard rules.

    Bridal Shower - is normally planned by someone other than you and your mom. For example, my Maid of Honor hosted mine. Sometimes the entire bridal party puts it together or an aunt. I have also been to one hosted by the mother of the groom, but idk how common that is.

    Bach party - this is normally your bridal party's plan. You may pick the place and they do the rest? Or you may have nothing to do with it and be swept away with a surprise! Again, people don't always stick to tradition. I was in a wedding last summer where the bride planned her own trip.

    Rehearsal Dinner - This is normally the groom's family's event and it occurs right before/after the wedding rehearsal walkthrough (if you opt to have one). I've seen couple's plan their own as well!
    -How to book hotel blocks

    Find at least two options near your venue (or maybe one near the venue and one near the airport if you've got out-of-town folks). This can be tricky, so make sure to ask for a "COURTESY" room block. For example, I set mine up through Hampton Inn. I asked for a block of 10 rooms. They set it up and anyone who calls or books online for our wedding, gets placed in that block and they get a little bit of a discount too. Two weeks before the wedding, this special rate closes and anyone who did not previously book will not get guaranteed to be on the same hall nor do they get the discount.

    Sounds great, right? The tricky part is that not every hotel does this. Instead, there are often hotels that will do a block and leave you responsible for what is not booked. If you ask for 10 rooms and only 7 get booked, you're stuck paying a percentage (10% for example) of the costs for those leftover 3 rooms. Most places will do the courtesy block as mentioned above; just make sure that's what you're getting BEFORE you book.

    I chose to do the block through Hampton Inn and then offered a local Bed and Breakfast (no block).

    -If anyone is from California, do you have specific caterer or venue recommendations in the SoCal, Central Coast, or Bay Area?

    I'm from SW Virginia, so I'm not help on this one!

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  • Aiyana
    Just Said Yes September 2022
    Aiyana ·
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    Thank you so much for all your advice, especially the Zazzle tip! I'll have to check it out.

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  • Aiyana
    Just Said Yes September 2022
    Aiyana ·
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    This was such a clear breakdown, thank you Smiley smile

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  • Kari
    Master May 2020
    Kari ·
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    This is such good advice for hotel blocks!

    • Reply
  • Chelsea
    Expert June 2021
    Chelsea ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    Thank you! I've read horror stories from other brides be left with the bill for leftover rooms, so I was surprised it was so easy when I called Hampton Inn!

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