Insider Scoop: Wedding Planning on a Budget

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Photo courtesy of Luster Studios

Jaclyn Parks is the Special Events Director at Tournament Players Club (TPC) Wakefield Plantation, the amazing Raleigh, North Carolina golf and country club owned and operated by the PGA Tour. Jaclyn plans all of the club’s private events, from birthday parties and corporate dinners to the facility’s celebrated weddings. She gave us some insights on maximizing your wedding planning budget as well as on avoiding the potential run-around from “discount” wedding vendors.

Jaclyn, what tips do you have for couples as they plan their wedding budgets?

Know your budget and stick to it – it is never a good idea to start your new marriage with mountains of debt! This means knowing what is feasible for your budget and being honest about that with your vendors from the get go. A good venue will similarly be up front with all of their pricing and will not hesitate to answer any questions you have about fees, service charges, or menu pricing.

Don’t make the all-too-common mistake of thinking you can book your dream venue now and then try to renegotiate the pricing or ask for a discount later. Once you’ve signed your contract, you are committed to the agreement. So do your research!

Along those lines, be sure to vet all of your vendors carefully, rather than falling for the temptation of hiring the least expensive choice. Good vendors go a long way in making your day stress-free. I too often hear brides complaining that this vendor they got a “great deal” on doesn’t return their phone calls promptly. If they are hard to get on the phone before they have your deposit, it is not going to change once you sign the contract and give them your money!

What are some of the key points couples should consider when selecting a wedding venue?

From a budget standpoint, you should carefully consider what is included with each venue versus how much you are willing to arrange on your own. For example, some venues provide all of your tables, chairs, silverware, glassware, and etcetera while others don’t. If you’re trying to plan from out of town or if you don’t plan on hiring a professional wedding coordinator, then it is going to be much less hassle to pick a place that will take care of those little details for you.

And the cost of a “more expensive” venue that includes these types of items in their fee very often is actually less in the long run once you calculate the cost of the “less expensive” venue added with the a la carte charge of renting those items.

How can couples on a budget personalize a popular venue to make it their own?

Most venues are very strict with what you can and can’t do to the building itself, but there are quite a few things you can do to personalize your event, even on a budget! I always encourage couples to set up a “Tribute Table” full of photographs of family members’ weddings just outside of the reception room celebrating all of the marriages that will surround the new couple. Guests always love looking at the pictures, especially if you can get some grandparents represented! It’s fun to look back on those old photographs and see how weddings have changed over the years.

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3 Responses to “Insider Scoop: Wedding Planning on a Budget”

  1. Amy M.

    We had our wedding at TPC Wakefield this past May and Jaclyn is by far what made me so comfortable with our wedding reception. She gave helpful tints and great advice on what might work for us. I never once thought or worried about the reception the day of my wedding because I knew she had it all under control, and I was so happy with how everything turned out!

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  2. Bill DeGrafft

    Great advise Jaclyn. I would add that you always take the time to get to know your client. This allows you to create one of a kind experiences.

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