Wedding Wednesday: Setting (and staying within) a Reasonable Wedding Budget

It’s #Wedding #Wednesday, and we’re pretty sure the phrase ‘better late than never’ applies to today’s post! We’ve been working on some GORGEOUS fall weddings over here, and dreaming up ideas for next season as well – but what good is all of that prettiness without a solid foundation on which to build it? The reality of the matter is that weddings mean incurring a very specific set of costs, and surprises are not fun. Never fear: you can still have the wedding of your dreams without taking out a second mortgage or selling your handbag collection!

Said bluntly: most people over-spend on their weddings, fail to account for all costs up front, and get frustrated when an established budget isn’t enough to cover the realization of their hopes and dreams for their event. Planning a wedding is hard enough – when you add budget planning into the mix, the process can become overwhelming very quickly. Here are our top 5 tips to set a reasonable wedding budget – and stay within it – keeping you sane, happy, and in control:

  1. Play the numbers game: One very real (and controllable) expense is the guest count for your event. I can be tempting to invite everyone you have ever met and your dry cleaner to witness in your blessed event – after all, you’re wearing a gown! You paid for an ombrè aisle runner! The best predictor of wedding cost is the number of people you plan to feed, host, and entertain. Tailor your guest list to your budget – instead of trying to stretch a modest budget to cover 500 guests with an elephant grand entrance. In addition, it’s worth noting that the party who foots the bill for the wedding has the power to establish the guest list – so if your parents aren’t contributing, you don’t have to accommodate their request to invite Crew friends from the old days or their ex-business partners and their wives (anyone non-family) unless you want to. Tailor your guest list to exactly the people you want to celebrate with, and the rest will be fairly straightforward – after all, it’s your wedding, and its about your new union.

  2. Rank your priorities:  Are you a foodie who solely cares about the food and beverages served at your event? Or perhaps an interior designer, incredibly focused on the styled details of your wedding decor? Maybe you’re not sure what you care about most – but you really want the pictures from your big day to last a lifetime, and you plan to be picky about your photographer. Whatever your priorities are for your wedding (everyone has them), you need to establish a ranked list, in order to justify the cost of each line item as you book vendors. Typically, catering will be your largest expense – but that doesn’t mean you have to serve caviar and filet mignon. Your list should include typical areas of focus, including: florals, decor, rentals and furniture, attire, honeymoon, venue and location, food and beverages, photography, videography, dessert, and guest entertainment. My top 3 would be: Florals, food and beverages, and venue – once you have your list established, you can make decisions about which vendors are worth splurging on or spending more.

  3. Prepare for surprise costs ahead of time: There are always costs beyond what you see on a proposal. ALWAYS. Whether these are a broken glass here, missing lanterns there, or perhaps greatly appreciated gratuities you share with your service staff on the day of your event, the best way to handle these additional costs is to prepare for them. Ask your planner or research best practices around gratuities, comb through contracts with a fine toothed comb, choose vendors who come in below budget, and never assume your bill is final until it’s final. Budget for extraneous costs while you’re planning, and add 5% of your total budget as ‘swing coverage’, to be used just in case.

  4. Be willing to negotiate and compromise: Catering proposal too high? Not feeling like you’re getting enough bang for your buck with your floral contract? Really consider your priorities (refer to point #2), and decide where compromise is necessary. Perhaps you LOVE your floral design, but you’re slightly over budget – is there somewhere else you can cut back? Do you really need three cheese stations set up by your caterer, or would one suffice? When you’re flexible and deliberate with your budget, you can breathe easier, knowing that you’re not overspending in every category. Be willing to negotiate, but be reasonable: most wedding vendors are small and medium sized business owners, who are selling their artistry and craft as much as their product.

  5. Stay organized – the devil is in the details: if you do not have a wedding budget tracker (broken out by line item, proposed amount, actual amount, and due date) you’re not keeping track of your budget as closely as you can. As a planner, I have a spreadsheet template that I share with clients ahead of time, to give them an idea of standard percentages of your budget that should be devoted to each line item. For instance, typically, food and beverages equate to 30-40% of your total wedding budget. From there, keep a copy of every proposal and contract you receive/sign, to stay ahead of spending.

    Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Budget Advice

    Wedding planner by Confetti Shop UK

If your wedding finances are organized proactively, the planning process will be much more feasible and enjoyable!

Friday Fab: 5 pre-vacation things!!

Wooooo hoooo, it’s officially the Friday before vacation, and I could not be more stoked! I plan to do a TON of sleeping and sunning over the next 10 days – what are your plans for the weekend? Hope they’re amaze!

Here’s the best 5 things from around the web this week:

  1. The BEST homemade pickles (unless of course you’ve been to Super Duper Burger, where they make their own) – I’m addicted – follow this PureWow recipe to DIY:

    Detailed & Delighted // Pre-Vacay 5 Things

    Pickles via PureWow

  2. Can we talk about how rad this Frida Kahlo inspired wedding is? Truly dreamy – can’t get enough…

  3. In case you were wondering, here are 18 incredible beaches that prove summer is year round in the right places:

    Detailed & Delighted // Pre-Vacay 5 Things

    Oludeniz, Turkey via Huffington Post Travel

  4. Glamping, you say? I’m into it – and am getting inspired for a little fall getaway after clicking through this gallery:

    Detailed & Delighted // Pre-Vacay 5 Things

    Glamping inspiration via domino and Paws Up Montana

  5. Work life balance is a MAJOR consideration around here (in my office, and in our household – not to mention, San Francisco in general), and at D&D we’re taking our cues from the Europeans, and starting this vacation weekend on a de-stressed note. Here’s why they have the work/life balance thing down:

Friday Fabulous: Five things to kick off your weekend!

Wooo hoooooo, WHO’S READY FOR THE WEEKEND?! Over here at D&D, we could not be more ready – the sun is out, the breeze is lovely, and we have a whole lineup of Friday Fabulousness to get you pumped for this fine August Friday.

Here are our Five favorite things from across the web this week:

1. Stylish office tour – you think your HOME office is fabulous and comfortable? Try the professional and industrial chic workspace of Greycroft Partners (a venture capital firm) in LA. Can I live here?!?! Full gallery through the image at

Detailed & Delighted // Friday Fab

Photo via Domaine

2.  On the hunt for a light and delicious late summer appetizer? Try Purewow’s Feta + Watermelon skewers – they’re flavorful and semi-healthy at the same time. These are perfect for your upcoming end-of-summer soirée – click through the image below for the recipe!

Detailed & Delighted // Friday Fab

Photo via Purewow

3. The most perfect pair of LOFT travel/weekend/wedding set up/party pants there ever was – SUCH a good transitional item for your closet as we move into fall. I’m planning on wearing these on our next plane ride – they’re soft and comfortable, while still looking polished and put together. Yes please!

4. With so many of my friends engaged (or almost there), and my penchant for party styling, I can’t wait to host my next Bridal shower – and this flower-centric approach is off the chain. FLOWERS ARE MY FAVORITE (y’all knew that), and by making them the centerpiece (literally, get it?!?!) of your event, you can bring the magical garden feeling indoors. YES! More details on how to style a floral-focused bridal shower by clicking through the image below:

Detailed & Delighted // Friday Fab

Photo by Camille Simmons via Domino

5. Two things: 1) LEVO League is pretty much the coolest association of professional women ever, and if you haven’t joined the ranks of females building each other up and sharing career/life advice yet, you need to check them out here. At my former company, we launched a joint initiative in our office with LEVO, and my outlook on womens’ groups has never been the same. They’re amazing! 2) Where did you meet your best friends? I personally have a few gem-worthy friendships from childhood and my early 20’s, but my VERY best friends? I met them at work. And they are my ride or die mafia, forever and always. Please don’t make me quote Carrie Bradshaw about how “women are your soul mates”, because I will… Love you women 🙂 Below, read the article on ‘Why you need a work BFF [or like 5] STAT’…

Perfectly Styled: MacKenzie-Childs

Detailed & Delighted // Perfectly Styled: MacKenzie-ChildsWhen I think about lifestyle decor brands that fit my standard aesthetic (preppy, classic, clean lines, livable), I usually default to my go-to’s: Pottery Barn, West Elm, Martha Stewart, Restoration Hardware, Jonathan Adler, Le Creuset, etc. These are the places that I can usually find exactly what I’m looking for (even online!), and fit our lifestyle.

For specialty pieces, or one of a kind items, I like small shops like Design Darling, LEIF, Amber Interiors, Waiting on Martha, and Society Social – places where I can find limited edition pieces designed to make a splash. My mom will tell you that I’m equal parts preppy-twenty-something and crazy-old-lady, so it follows that my taste in design pieces can be somewhat…eclectic. When I found a few pieces from legendary artisan brand MacKenzie-Childs, I was intrigued – loud, splashy checkered patterns and florals, combined with handmade artisan quality from upstate New York. When we headed back east to Rochester for the holidays last year, MacKenzie-Childs pieces were everywhere – and I fell in love. I love the history of the brand – the way they’ve been in business for decades, making pieces by hand in limited numbers, and keeping a whimsical aesthetic, despite the modernism that is everywhere else these days.

Detailed & Delighted // Perfectly Styled: MacKenzie-Childs

We’re headed to upstate New York again next month, and I’m busy planning a trip to their estate and workshop (previously a dairy farm) to do some touring and pick up a few pieces in Aurora, NY. Here are some of my favorite pieces – how great would one or two of these be, mixed in with our home design?  Which one is your favorite?!

Detailed & Delighted // Perfectly Styled: MacKenzie-Childs

Clockwise from Top:

1. Courtly Check Ruffled Lumbar Pillow, $108

2. Courtly Check Serving Bowl, $58

3. Courtly Check Apron, $78

4. Butterfly Garden Salad Plate, $36

5. Courtly Check Enamel Tissue Box Cover, $79

6. Flower Market Enamel Cake Carrier (**Editor favorite!), $245

7. Courtly Check Medium Globe Lamp, $475

Detailed & Delighted // Perfectly Styled: MacKenzie-Childs

Detailed & Delighted // Perfectly Styled: MacKenzie-Childs

Detailed & Delighted // Perfectly Styled: MacKenzie-Childs

Floral Crown Workshop with Huckleberry Karen

Phew, what a hiatus! As I teased last week, we’re back in action, and have tons to share!

Today, we’re talking about the delightful team event I headed to with team Kaella Lynn Events at a private studio in mountain view this weekend – a floral crown workshop for our team only, hosted by the one and only Huckleberry Karen! We joked in the car that this was the perfect event for the ladies of our team – I can’t picture us at another activity, like laser tagging…

When we arrive, we were greeted with blooms and greenery galore, lined up in adorable galvanized buckets along the long workstation tables. There were floral shears and scissors, floral wire, and rolls of floral tape for everyone – not to mention San Pellegrino, which is my absolute favorite. Karen was such a gracious hostess, and showed us the gradual building process to building out a bespoke flower crown – whether your style is perfectly coiffed (Kaella) or messy and bohemian (moi). When we were all finished constructing our crowns, there were endless ribbon and lace options to be added to the back – and then it was photo time! It was such a great event, and we all learned a new skill we can take with us as we head into wedding season. Follow along here!

1. The bucket of blooms – gorgeous pinks, blushes, and greenery!


2. Jill of Delish Designs and I horsing around before the instruction began…IMG_6555

3. Florists tools and necessary items for flower-crowningIMG_6556

4. Prepping the wire with greenery and filler


5. My finished crown – it turned out HUGE and fluffy, just how I wanted it! I chose peachy ribbons with a bit of sheen to lend a princess-like quality to mine.


6. Kaella’s crown was denser and fuller than mine, and turned out BEAUTIFUL!


7. Our finished crowns and two happy campers