"cheaper".... "paying for this ourselves"..... "on a budget"....
I have heard all of these and similar often. I completely understand trying to get the most value for what you are looking for; and even then different people place different value on different things.
There are a few things to be considered when looking at budgets for major events such as wedding / receptions, reunions, anniversary, corporate events etc...
The responses to the above are:
"cheaper" - The old adage is true "you get what you pay for".
"paying for this ourselves" - Unfortunately this is becoming more the norm. A change from the traditional older days where the families of the affianced cover all or even most of the expenses.
"on a budget"... The bottom line is weddings are expensive. They are by nature. They are not a planned line item for a a weekly monthly, yearly, biennially or even decennial planned budget. They are expected to be once in lifetime celebration. I have never heard a bride or groom say "well I am going to try it this way and if it does not work out I will do it different at my next one..."
ONCE is usually how often do you plan (budget) and pay for a celebration where you have to spend money on (and this is a incomplete, short list):
special attire (wedding dress, rehearsal dinner dress, bridal gowns, tuxedos, shoes)
a caterer to cook appetizers, dinners, & deserts for a guest count that can easily fall between 70 - 200
bartender or drink service for the same guest count
a venue to account for your guest count and match what you are looking for
a professional photographer to take the photos for this lifetime event
entertainment to help your guests dance, sing a-long and celebrate with you
a florists to provide bouquets, boutonnieres, table centerpieces, and more
rentals (if your venue of choice does not provide in their price) - tables, chairs, cocktail tables, linens, etc...
event / venue coordinator to help orchestrate all the above or at least execute your plan when the day comes
And for each one of these (and probably other items) you want a professional. And true professionals are not "cheap" and for good reason. What they do to make sure it is done right (time, reliable gear (backups), effort, plan, review, improve the plan, review, perform) is what makes them a professional. There are no do-overs at events this important.
I am no saying you have to go into bankruptcy. There are people and companies out there that are professional and offer the services mentioned above at reasonable prices. Just do not go into shopping and preparing a budget with unreasonable expectations on an unreasonable budget. Do some research. See what the average is for related services in your area and budget accordingly allowing more or less for each area based on where you place your value. To some people the decorations are more important, to others it is ambiance of the venue... To others it is there the reliability and quality of their entertainment. Here is a brief guide to help you in searching for the best entertainment for you.
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