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!

Wedding Wednesday: California Rustic Wedding Inspo

It’s really easy to forget that while I live in a bubble of weddings, sunshine, and the ‘California’ aesthetic, not everyone is a 30 minute drive from the magic that is wine country, or an hour outside of Carmel! Rustic luxury is a wedding ‘theme’ (I hate that word) that came into the popular spotlight in the last 10 years, and it’s major. Perfectly in tune with California’s look (golden hillsides, perfect sunsets, vineyards and ranches galore), rustic doesn’t have to mean your wedding happens in a barn or that it looks overtly ‘Pinteresting’ – the key to this look is simplicity and an abundance of natural elements. In keeping with easy breezy west coast style, California weddings are really popular, and they’re typically characterized by incorporating some of the outdoor beauty of the event venue into the design and styling of the event. You can get married in a garden, in a field, or in a forest – the idea is to keep the vibe ‘natural’.

Here are 5 key components that many rustic California weddings have in common:

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: California rustic weddings

1. An outdoor venue space, like this grape-covered area at Holman Ranch, in Carmel Valley

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: California rustic weddings

2. Natural wooden furniture, like these bistro chairs and farm tables (Photo by Michael Radford via Style Me Pretty)

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: California rustic weddings

3. Lots of natural light and fine art photography (Photo by Delbarr Moradi via Style Me Pretty)

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: California rustic weddings

4. A loose wildflower aesthetic, bonus points for peonies and dahlias (Photo via Inspired Bride)

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: California rustic weddings

5. Natural greenery elements, and un-stuffy desserts and presentation, like this naked cake on a wooden cheese board, adorned in olive branches and tea roses (Photo by Jemma Keech)

Wedding Wednesday: Iconic SF City Venues

Wedding Wednesday is back, and today, we’re talking about iconic San Francisco wedding venues. For the visiting couple and local bride alike, San Francisco is a wedding destination filled with a number of great urban venues, nearly limitless entertainment and dining options for your guests, and an iconic history behind it that lends perfectly to bespoke events. If you grew up here, perhaps booking an SF city wedding is a nod to your childhood. Or perhaps you hail from a more rustic locale, and are looking for an urban wedding with lots of history behind it!

Today, we’re checking out a few of my favorite iconic venues around the city 7×7 – let us know which ones are your favorite!

1. The James Leary Flood Mansion (Pacific Heights)

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Iconic SF Venues

Sitting high atop the crest of Pacific Heights, Flood Mansion is a historic mansion, built of marble in 1915. During the week, Flood Mansion houses Sacred Heart SF (a private Catholic girls school), and on the weekend can be rented out for private events and weddings searching for San Francisco Splendor. You will not find a view better than that of Flood Mansion, and the classic architectural characteristics and property lend themselves perfectly to a formal event in a glamorous setting.

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Iconic SF Venues

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Iconic SF Venues

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Iconic SF Venues

2. The Conservatory of Flowers (Golden Gate Park)

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Iconic SF Venues

A wood and glass greenhouse nestled within Golden Gate park, the Conservatory of Flowers opened in 1879 as a safe place for exotic tropical plants and flowers to flourish within the city limits. Today, it’s a historical monument, and the space (as well as park area in front) can be rented out for your wedding in the park. Boasting Victorian era charm, educational and interactive areas for your guests, and an iconic landmark within the park, the Conservatory of flowers is a quintessential wedding location for the San Franciscan traditionalist. As an added bonus, the space includes both indoor and outdoor areas, for weather accommodation year round.

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Iconic SF Venues

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Iconic SF Venues

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Iconic SF Venues

3. The San Francisco Ferry Building (Embarcadero)

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Iconic SF Venues

Built in the Beaux-Arts architectural style in 1898, the Ferry Building that once served a major port and transit terminal has been adapted in the 20th century to serve as office space, a market hall, and an enduring modern ferry terminal. Events at the property are managed exclusively by the great Paula LeDuc, and are resplendent in the great nave area, no matter the occasion.

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Iconic SF Venues

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Iconic SF Venues

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Iconic SF Venues

Wedding Wednesday: Color Inspiration with Wedding Paper Divas

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Colors with Wedding Paper Divas
For some brides, choosing an appropriate color scheme for your wedding day may seem like an afterthought. You’re busy with the florals, the votives, the officiant, and if you’re lucky, you’re interfacing with a FAB wedding planner throughout the process. Maybe your bridesmaids are wearing green, the flowers are blue and tablecloths are yellow… and suddenly you realize nothing goes together! Do pink peonies go with red bridesmaids’ dresses?

Instead of worrying about paint swatches and fussing over fabric samples, wedding invitation company Wedding Paper Divas has taken the work out for you, and created 190+ color schemes based on your favorite color, season and style! Their tool is chock full of inspiration, and really easy to use – and I find myself on the site at least 3 times a day, playing with color and seasonal combinations.

After navigating to the wedding colors page on the site, simply select your season, favorite color and voila! You’ll receive five different palette swatches based on your personal style and taste. Bonus? Each palette comes with a curated Pinterest board and information on each color so you can supply it to other vendors. With over 100 palettes to choose from, there’s a lot of inspiration, but here are some of our favorites from the fall wedding color schemes – what is your favorite color combo?!
Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Colors with Wedding Paper Divas
Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Colors with Wedding Paper Divas
Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Colors with Wedding Paper Divas
Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Colors with Wedding Paper Divas
Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Colors with Wedding Paper Divas
Check it out, and tell us what you think!

Wedding Wednesday: The Bridal Shoe Salon

The feeling of walking into the shoe salon at Saks Fifth Avenue is one of my favorites – there’s the plush carpet, the faint scent of Jasmine pumping from the air vents, the well dressed atelier staff in suits and ties, and the endless array of delightfully decadent footwear and artfully displayed designer installations. And this is just when I visit to peruse – imagine shopping for your wedding shoes there, champagne in hand! Inspired by a recent trip to Saks (in all of it’s Union Square glory), here are our favorite shoes to inspire your modern wedding day look:

1. Charlotte Olympia ‘Dolly’ slingback pump in pink suede

2. J. Crew ‘Etta’ Pump in gold glitter

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Bridal Shoe Salon

Photo via Pinterest

3. Carrie Bradshaw inspired #SomethingBlue from Manolo Blahnik: Hangisi 105 pumps in blue satin

4. Christian Louboutin patent leather pumps in baby pink

5. Okay fine, I’m obesessed with these Manolo‘s, so here they are in pink satin – TOTALLY DIFFERENT!

6. The perfect wedding shootie (shoe-bootie), courtesy of the ever glam house of Oscar de la Renta

7. Perfect Nantucket seaside wedding shoes with starfish detailing, courtesy of Charlotte Olympia for David Jones


Happy shoe shopping!

Wedding Wednesday: Liz Adams of Sequins and Stripes

We all have those random girl crushes on our favorite bloggers + celebrities – ask my mom about the time I attempted to edit my eyebrows in the 7th grade to look like Hilary Duff. Not cute, but my point is this: sometimes, we’re inspired by the happenings in the lives of beautiful ‘others’. Which explains why the circulation for ‘People’ Magazine is currently north of 3.5 million. THREE AND A HALF MILLION PEOPLE FOLLOW THE DAY TO DAY LIVES OF THEIR FAVORITE CELEBRITIES EVERY MONTH!

While there’s a soft spot in my heart for the glossy pages of Vogue (worship: Anna Wintour) and high fashion print advertising as a medium, my preferred method of girl-crushing involves looking through my favorite blogs over coffee at the start of each morning. Stop number one, every day? Sequins and Stripes, the most fantastic lifestyle and fashion blog curated by Chicago-based Liz Adams.

A few months ago, Liz married her sweetheart Dave – and a few weeks ago, her readers were treated to photos from one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever seen in a while (trust me, I’ve put in the legwork – this one is worth it).

Click through the photo below to see the full gallery on her blog, and let me know what you think – this Wedding Wednesday, I’m pretty smitten (and I’m not just talking about their adorable Labrador, Webster).

Detailed & Delighted // Wedding Wednesday: Liz Adams' wedding

Liz Adams of Sequins and Stripes // Photo by Tim Tab Studios