Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Can't Buy me Love; Keeping an Even Head in Todays Economy

Well, one thing is for sure, people will never stop celebrating. Birthdays, anniversaries, promotions and yes, of course, weddings. In today's troubled economy, it is just as important as ever to not lose track of the reason for the celebration. That being said, there are plenty of ways to throw a party that are morally and socially conscious of the times we are facing. Whether out of necessity or as an act of conservation, I have found the following tips have released the stress and burden most of my clients feel when trying to project their budgets.
Prioritize. What is more important to you, a blow out party with everyone you know or a detailed celebration with those who mean the most to you. These days, I find that my clients are learning they have to choose and when thinking about it rationally it's almost like experiencing an "Aaahaa" moment. Whatever their decision, it's right for them. This isn't the time to be keeping up with the Joneses. For instance, a couple I am working with recently decided to cut their event of over 300 to a more friendly celebration of 75. They have forgone the large event space for a backyard bash that will be more casual and low key but will still enable them to share their day with those important to them. Who says you're any less married dancing to a band on the patio while eating hamburgers and hot dogs?
Ok, so what if I still want everyone I know there and don't want to sacrifice the small details? Well then you find the right person to work with. The first thing they will do is tell you if you are being completely unrealistic. I have had clients in previous years who just really appreciate the candor and can then reevaluate. Lot's of times they have spoken with other planners who hear the desired budget and just dismiss them and say, "I don't think I can help you". The right planner will help to stretch your dollar and may have suggestions for vendors and equipment that may not be widely available to the general public walking in off the street. Some may even have relationships with vendors they work with a lot that would allow you to get something extra thrown in or a discount off a standard package.
Finally, the most important thing of all, no one will know what you didn't do. Get excited about the alternatives. I always say to my clients when they are choosing one band over another, or one table linen over another, no one is going to look at it and say, "Well, she should have gone with the 10 piece group" or "the green linens would have looked so much better in this space". Own your decisions and get excited about them. If you want to invite 200 people but the food is out of budget, do an hors d'oeuvres and dessert reception. Have the same great party and offer the fare that most people fill up on anyway! As long as you can get excited about it and truly own your decision to do it, no one will ever ask why you didn't do an alternative.
So, while it is ultimately important that the bride and groom are excited about their big day, sometimes thinking rationally or outside the box can turn up unique solutions to keep spending under control. Breakfast for dinner anyone?