Hi everyone and welcome back to our blog here at Marry Me In Minnesota.
Today’s article is going to be the first of hopefully many wedding related articles on our blog. As you guys know, I did get engaged back in March here in Minneapolis and I promised a lot of you guys that I would show you all the stuff that we’re doing, and talk about the planning and so that is what today’s post is going to be about.
So today I’m going to tell you guys the 5 things that surprised me the most when I started wedding planning here in Minneapolis.
First of all we’re gonna have a huge disclaimer here that obviously this is the first and hopefully only wedding of mine that I’m going to plan so I went into this completely blind like I had no idea what this all in like entailed. You guys know I’ve been to a wedding before my friend’s wedding last year but this side of the planning was not something that I obviously was involved in so I didn’t know a lot of what I’m about to tell you and I just wanted to share with you some stuff that I found out in case you’re planning a wedding or like you’ll be planning one in the future.
Another disclaimer is that I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the United States and so if you’re reading this from a different part of the country or a different part of the world just be aware that what I’m telling you is possibly different where you’re located money-wise situation wise. If you’re in Minnesota this is a good place to start your research.
I’ve learned that this is very like dependent on where you live in the world or in the United States so take everything with a grain of salt just be aware that it might not exactly apply to you but I thought I would share some surprising stuff so let’s get into it.
The first thing that I learned when I start planning was how quickly vendors booked out in advance.
When we got engaged in mid-march and I originally had said that we should wait a couple of months before starting wedding planning and I knew that I wanted to get married in 2020. I don’t know I have to like this weird thing with even numbers and I just wanted to get married on an even year that sounds really weird but like that’s just how I felt and I really liked the idea of 2020. I thought it was like a cool year and so that was what we set our sights on was at first June 20 point and then I started to look into vendors because when we got home I was really excited and I wasn’t planning on booking anybody yet.
I just wanted to see what was out there and I quickly realized that venues and caterers and photographers in Minneapolis were already booking well into 2020 and some even had like 2021 that they were booking. So when I saw that I freaked out and was like okay we actually need to do this like right now and some vendors will use that as a tactic to get you to book quicker and know that that they’ll say oh hey I’m booking into 2020 already and it’s meant to kind of make you nervous and make you feel like you need to commit, but for me I just want to get it all done and figure it out so I decided we were gonna start wedding planning right away we started looking at venues right away and our venue actually only books 12 weddings a year and when we met with our venue owner she told us she had already booked five out of the twelve dates so there’s only seven left and this was for next year, like not even 2019 this is for 2020 so definitely just be aware that if you have a specific vision in mind.
I would a hundred percent start as early as possible with your planning and give yourself tons of time so that you can get the vendors you want and you can have enough time to pay everything off which is going to lead into my second shocking thing was prices of venues and what they include and don’t include, and what I quickly found out was that if you want a site like wedding wire or the knot or a site that compiles a lot of different venues together for you to browse through the price that you’re gonna see listed on wedding wire is not always accurate. So for a lot of venues they would have a price listed and I would think oh that’s pretty reasonable and then I would go on their site and I would send out an inquiry and I would get back quotes that were a lot higher than what I was anticipating and that’s because a lot of venues don’t include anything in the base cost.
For instance, I’ll throw out like a random number so say a venue is listed out $4,000 a lot of times that number you’ll find out is maybe just for your wedding day not for decorating time, not for the chairs and the tables and different things that you might need that day.
Sometimes the bridal suite is separate sometimes the fee is separate from the base price so you’re basically paying say $4,000 for a building and that’s it, and it comes empty and you’re responsible for paying to have it decorated, and to bring in outside vendors and there are values like the one that we chose that do include a lot, and it’s definitely worth researching and finding a venue that will include some stuff.
That it might be really helpful for instance our venue has running bathrooms like full flushing toilets and things like that so that we don’t have to bring in like a port-a-potty or one of those like mobile bathrooms like that would be an extra expense, but it’s included in our venue.
Our venue also includes some of the decor, some lighting, she includes chairs, she includes the dining tables we have basically like full rain of the entire property for two days so my venue was actually a really really good deal but just be aware that not all venues are like that and it’s definitely worth doing some extensive research getting quotes and asking specific questions of what is included and what is like a hidden fee because they’re not always going to tell you until it’s too late; “oh yeah like that’s not included” so that was really shocking to me what some of these venues will charge just for a building.
The third thing that shocked me was the price of flowers.
You guys might think oh like you’re getting married next year why are you already looking at flowers. Well, I wanted to make a budget and I made a spreadsheet of what I thought we would spend so that we were aware of what we should be set aside for money.
We are paying for our wedding almost entirely on our own so it was really important to have a budget and figure out what we could afford it when we couldn’t afford so one of the things that I obviously looked up was flowers.
I went on to a Facebook group for soon-to-be brides and a lot of people who are posting about their flowers and the quotes that they got foreigner flowers and I was falling over at seeing some of the quotes that these people were getting.
The quotes were astronomical for real flowers that were literally going to wilt and die was in probably a week of your wedding my friend she had real flowers in her wedding and her bouquet is one of the bridesmaids like threw it during the reception, they did a football-like entrance thing and her bouquet just fell apart on impact of landing on the floor and to know now what they paid for that one bouquet.
One bridesmaid, okay I just oh, I think that just makes me sick to think about it and so something I found out was that a lot of people used silk flowers, and I didn’t know this wasn’t like I was not aware but apparently there are empty shops and Amazon shops that you can actually order all of your flowers to be made in silk and they come in and you just store them until your wedding. You can have them customized, some people even go to like Hobby Lobby or Michaels and they buy the fake flowers there and they make their bouquets, and I used to think like: “oh you know you’d be able to tell”, but to be completely honest with you, a lot of times in photos you actually can’t tell. And the good thing is is that you know the bouquets aren’t gonna wilt, they’re not gonna die and you can keep them afterward so I thought was really cool and the price of flowers to me is just like insane I saw quotes for like one bride’s bouquet like three hundred and fifty dollars for greenery crazy crazy.
I also saw that some people buy in bulk on Costco and they assemble bouquets but you have to do that a week before your wedding and for me, I’m too anxious of a person to order my flowers that close to my wedding, so I don’t think I would do that.
I think I would either rely on the florist or rely on silk flowers, but that’s definitely an option it’s a lot less something people do but I couldn’t get over how expensive floral arrangements are I just never had a reason to look into it before and now that I have I’m shocked, so if you guys are ever interested in what they cost like just google it and you’ll see how astronomical they can be in price, depending on what you want.
I think that they definitely take advantage of the wedding industry with flowers cuz they know what’s trending what’s gonna look good and they can charge big bucks for them up next has to do with catering and something that we were kind of told beforehand was to keep your wedding small because it will save you a lot of money when some things you know relies on headcount, like catering, a lot of people will do a plate of dinner and it’s per plate that you’re paying, so the fewer people you have the cheaper it’s going to be in theory so we are having a wedding of roughly 75 people.
Actually almost exactly 75 are being invited and it’s really family and close friends, and that’s pretty much it so we thought””okay we’re doing something good, we’re keeping our wedding really small and that will cut down on the cost of catering”, but I forgot to mention here that 75 is small for an American wedding it’s considered an intimate size where the normal size for an American wedding is roughly 150 plus and obviously like I said, in the beginning, this is gonna vary depending on where you are in the world, like how big your family is how many friends you want to invite and so obviously you can go much smaller but this was just the number we came up with based on our family members, making sure everyone important was invited and our very closest friends were invited so yeah, 75 for us is on the smaller side.
Something I found out is that there is a loophole there, you can run into catering that I did not know it could happen and I’m really upset and disappointed by but basically I found out that caterers can sometimes instill a minimum charge if you’re having a wedding on a Saturday in peak season or just a wedding, in general, they will have a minimum charge that you have to hit regardless of how many people there are.
So for instance one of the caterers we looked at for the food that we are looking at with 75 people it was I think roughly $1400 plus, the gratuity and things tacked on but it was not going to really exceed, I don’t even think close to three thousand dollars total, and I thought that that was really reasonable for what we’re looking for then I saw that they have a minimum charge of seventy five hundred dollarss, so that is essentially a hundred dollars per person plus the gratuity tacked on plus the service fee tacked on which are like eighteen and I think ten percent and then there’s like seven percent sales tax, it ended up being over ten grand for seventy-five people, and I will tell you that we are having brick oven pizza at our wedding because we’re really laid back and that’s what we want and that’s what they wanted to charge us for pizza. That was a bit excessive and honestly, I thought we were doing good keeping our numbers low I was like oh this is gonna save us so much money but it really doesn’t.
With some caterers it’s like this: they will say nope, this is the minimum you have to spend at least this much and it will be astronomically more than that if you just got like the base food and the service charge, and that was it.
So it’s a little bit discouraging but we luckily have found a caterer that doesn’t do that and they’re really really reasonable, and we’re really excited about that so there are definitely caterers that don’t do that, so don’t think that everybody does that but I have found out that that was a thing I didn’t know it was a thing until now so watch out and carefully read every quote that gets sent over, because sometimes it’s kind of hidden in there like a couple of them I didn’t notice until I got to the end of the quote that that was like the minimum or whatever and so just be careful and read everything firmly.
My fifth and last thing that shocked me so much about planning a wedding has to do with vendors in general basically if you inquire about a vendor be prepared to be completely harassed by them whether you give them a phone number or your email.
Just be prepared for them to be trying to contact you constantly, even though the wedding industry is so big they still are going after your business as much as possible and I’m very surprised by this because a lot of them: like I had a couple that literally sent me contracts when I showed a little bit of interest they sent over contracts and we’re like yeah we just need 50% like right now and we’ll lock you in and they really make you feel like you need to do everything right that second and I’ve learned to kind of just like pick and choose who I respond to.
If I feel like a vendor is really really pushy I actually tend to get like kind of push away from them because I don’t like to deal with pushy people.
I don’t want to deal with demanding people so just be aware that the second you start inquiring about vendors for your wedding, you’re going to get a slew of emails in it.
Something I did was I made a wedding folder in my email and I’ve just been throwing them all in there makes it very easy to go back and then pick and choose who I want to inquire about or get a quote from, so some of them are really really helpful and some of them are like literally just looking to lock you in and demanding money up front.
So yeah this was a little bit shocking. I would have thought because the wedding industry is so popular you’re going to get people getting married every single year. I would have thought they’d be a little less pushy but, you know, they attack like vultures, they want your business, and I get it it’s their business, but just be aware; it can be really overwhelming from your perspective when you’re getting all these emails.
So those are the five things that I have been surprised by so far,
and I’m sure there will be many more things um so if you guys want a follow up post down the road of another group of things that I’ve been surprised by, please let me know down in the comments and also I love in the comments if you are married please leave a comment below of your best wedding planning advice, or gift and I will say a looping isn’t really an option for us at this point; because we have already booked our venue; but I totally get the eloping thing and a lot of people have said to me just elope so if you want to leave that advice you can, but unfortunately we already have a venue, we’re not eloping but anything else you can think of that was super helpful for you when you were planning your wedding leave it down below and yeah I hope you guys enjoyed this post.
Upcoming, we have a very special post that we’re going to be doing a very special vlog probably within let’s say it’ll be within the next couple of weeks. If you follow me on Instagram you might know kind of what’s going, but basically: our family, we are doing something really exciting in two weeks so stay tuned for that. Bye!