Budget Wedding in Hampton Roads for less than $12,000
If you want to have a fun personalized wedding reception with great wedding entertainment, but you don’t have big bucks. It takes a lot more planning and a lot more work, but it can be done! You just have to figure out what is most important to you, and spend the money there. Then you will have a lot of D.I.Y. activities in the areas where you don’t have much of a budget. Most importantly, you will have to compromise on some items, and that isn’t fun, but it is a necessity in order to stay within your budget.
Real Bride: Real Budget How to have the wedding you want !
FINAL BILL: $11,500
Save the Date
If you want HUGE SAVINGS! Have your wedding on an “off” day like Friday or Sunday or during the “off” months, like November to March, when most weddings professionals are not very busy.
Getting married on a Sunday, you can have your ceremony at a regularly scheduled Mass and save money
Decide what is MOST IMPORTANT to you. If it’s a great party, then spend a large portion of your budget on Wedding Entertainment. (like the bride above)
Choose a venue that will allow you to get your own ABC license and provide your own alcohol. (In the Williamsburg area, that is The Freight Shed, The Community Building and Legacy Hall) These properties are also relatively inexpensive to rent for the day.
Choose “yummy” food that everyone loves, like BBQ. Your guests are full, and you won’t break the bank.
Photography & Videography
If you choose and “off” day or “month” and only need minimal editing, and don’t need the fancy books, you can probably negotiate a very good deal.
The “Real” Wedding Details:
Wedding Date: November 9, 2014 (Sunday) – (Off-day in a slower month) = BIG SAVINGS!!!
“Chicken Dance” for Grandma “Shout” by The Isley Brothers for the groom, Josh. “Going to the Chapel” for the Aunts and Grandma Classic Rock (for Dinner) Reggae (for Dinner) Salsa & Latin Music 90’s & Reggaeton Classic Hip Hop & Dance Music Current Dance Music
If you’d like help making this happen for you, give me a call and schedule your consultation. 757-566-4530
New Year’s resolutions are the perfect way to stay motivated when planning your special wedding day for 2012. Focusing on the new you just adds to the excitement of wedding events. There are several resolutions you can make and fulfill during the anticipation of your upcoming wedding.
Teeth Whitening with Whitening Kits
All eyes will be focused on your gorgeous smile as you say your wedding vows. Whitening your teeth is simple, quick and easy to do. There are numerous whitening kits available at the local drug store. Go ahead and use a kit now to have a confident smile during bridal showers, cake tasting and other wedding events. Often, these take a week or so to brighten teeth. MD, VA and DC dentist offices offer many different types of teeth whitening services which can be used if a faster result is sought.
Lustrous Shiny Hair with Hair Masks
Add shine and luster to your hair with an at-home hair mask from your local beauty supply store. Apply hair masks bring out the natural beauty in your hair. You can invite the maid-of-honor over and the two of you can put hair masks on each other’s hair. This is a great time to talk about the upcoming wedding and to share some bonding time together. You can even watch a movie together while the hair mask does it work on your hair.
Pedicure for Soft Feet
Don’t put off getting a pedicure until the last minute. A pedicure is a fun way to bring out the softness in your feet. You can kick off your shoes on your honeymoon without feeling self-conscious about calluses on your feet or cracked heels. Be certain to select a toe-nail polish that is bright and bold to wear on that special night. It is even fun to pick out a pair of sexy night-slippers to wear on your honeymoon night to show off the beauty of your feet.
Purchase a Special Wedding Anklet
One of the things that you can wear that is something new is a special anklet for both the wedding ceremony and for your honeymoon activities. Massage lotion into the back of your heels and around your ankles on each night before going to sleep. You will notice that your ankles have transformed to be soft, supple and sexy. What a better way to show them off than with a special new anklet just specifically for your wedding and honeymoon night.
Use your resolutions to make small improvements and follow beauty tips for both your wedding and your honeymoon. This is a special time for everyone. Take time out of the hectic schedule and wedding planning to pamper yourself and to bond with your maid-of-honor. You deserve nothing but the very best during this exhilarating and exciting time in your life.
Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in beauty and fashion. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives by spreading positive messages. Liz also likes shopping, hanging out with friends, reading and playing with her dog, April.
Disclaimer: Liz Daley Events claims no knowledge of any product or service represented in this guest blog article.
Do I really need to hire a professional “anybody”.
Answer: NO…But it SURE does help!
Around the time that Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles in 1981… Weddings got a lot more lavish and an industry catapulted out of control.
The latest Royal Wedding had a budget of such magnitude that it easily could support me as a woman of leisure for the rest of my life just sitting in a bank account collecting 1 percent interest. Most of us have to work for a living.
Costco and Sam’s Club have “Veggie Platters” and “Ready to Eat” Appetizers to die for.
Your Local Grocer has fantastic cakes.
(Or perhaps you have someone in your family who can still BAKE?)
Photography & Videography
Everyone and their brother has a digital camera (both video and still) on their Smart Phones.
Computers and software have made custom playlists ridiculously easy.
(Most people have huge music libraries stored in their Smart Phones)
Decor & Design
Mail Order and the Internet Warehouses have brought wholesale invitations, flowers, linens, chair covers and anything else you can imagine to the masses.
Everything today is “Do-It-Yourself” and for good reason.
Today’s weddings can cost a fortune!
Why not put a downpayment on your first home and elope?
Nothing about what you are hiring on your wedding day is rocket science……However… you don’t want to be a “working stiff” on your own wedding day!!!!
And while nothing is “rocket science”…..don’t fool yourself either. The results can be catastrophic!
Don’t imagine yourself as Martha Stewart if you’ve NEVER been crafty in your life.
Don’t imagine yourself as Betty Crocker, if your idea of preparing a meal involves opening a pre-prepared package of anything.
Don’t believe that your friends will be able to focus their cameras on ANYTHING after consuming a few adult beverages.
If you’ve NEVER been an organized person and never planned anything more than 24 hours in advance, don’t fool yourself into thinking you can do it alone.
And don’t even get me started on all the things that can go wrong with an iPod…..woof!!!!! The only time that REALLY works is if you only want background music for 5 hours and you don’t really care about the ebb and flow of your event.
If you REALLY want the big party….
The secret is to prioritize your costs and spend your money on the items you value most.
If your wedding gown is your #1 priority…go and get that Vera Wang dress!
(Or the knock-off which is still quite pricy.)
If you want to get married at The Waldorf-Astoria because the location is important…put down the cash and wait 3 years to get married.
If having the most amazing food you and your guests have ever tasted is your priority…hire the very best chef! (Or go to the best venue who has the best chef.)
If you want your guests to walk into your ballroom amazed at the beauty…hire the best designers, florists and lighting designers to create the “WOW!”.
If wedding photography and videography that captures your memories for the next generation is most important…hire the best photographer and videographer!
If you are a very busy professional and don’t have time to handle all the little details…hire a professional wedding planner! Even if you are just a crazy working woman who needs a little help…hire a professional wedding planner! (It’s not really fair to ask your mother or sister to do that…you want them to speak to you after the wedding.)
If you want an amazing party that friends and family will remember forever…hire a professional DJ or Band and a professional Master of Ceremonies!
Everyone has different priorities. Decide what your priorities are…and make decisions accordingly.
Trust your own instincts and you WILL have the wedding and reception that is right for you!
The question of when to do formal wedding dances as you plan your wedding reception agenda can seem daunting, however there are three very popular choices that have proven to work very well in my experience.
Do your First Dance…FIRST…directly following your Grand Introductions.
This is generally the most popular choice. One of reasons why the “First Dance” should be FIRST is because wedding protocol suggests that no one should dare dance until after the bride and groom have shared their First Dance as husband and wife.
If you take care of this formality immediately, then your guests can feel free to dance with their spouse earlier in the evening: during dinner, or between courses, if the DJ or Wedding Band plays a song that inspires them or is very special to them. ( and they can do so without fear of being “rude”)
Another reason for doing the “First Dance” first, as well as the Father/Daughter Dance and the Mother/Son Dance is to simply get them OUT of the way. Many brides and grooms (as well as their parents) get nervous about 200 of their friends and family eye-balling them for 3 to 5 minutes while they struggle NOT to appear awkward on the dance floor. (not everyone looks as good doing the waltz as Derek Hough on Dancing with the Stars)
Quick Suggestion: Ask your Wedding DJ Entertainer or Wedding Band to prepare a shorter version of your songs. This can cut as much as one to two minutes time from each dance, which is quite a relief to the shy and reserved. Better yet, you can combine the parent dances (Father/Daughter and Mother/Son) to save even more time if being the center of attention isn’t your thing.
Wait until after dinner to do all the formal dances. People have eaten, they have had a drink and generally they are more relaxed. Making this decision can also create an impetus to “get the dancing started” with a bang!
Quick Suggestion: Make sure to have your Wedding Band or Wedding DJ Entertainer play your favorite uptempo song immediately following the formal dances to “jump start” the action…to let everyone know that it is time to dance. In fact, you could “hand pick” that song and make sure its one that you absolutely love …one that you love so much, that you and all your friends will immediately storm the dance floor.
Do the “First Dance” First and the Parent Dances after dinner.
This combination gives you the best of both worlds for all the reasons stated above. You have followed tradition and still done the First Dance, “FIRST”….but you also get the benefit of breaking up the formal dances so your guests can be served their meal just a little bit earlier and you can have a clear “starting point” to the dancing portion of your party!
Honestly? Probably more than you were planning to pay.
Because this isn’t easy to say, I don’t say it lightly: When it comes to Wedding DJ’s, Brides and Grooms can and should expect more professionalism than the status quo that has been perpetuated as “acceptable” for far too long.
And that’s not just my opinion. Over the years I’ve talked to brides, grooms, friends, other wedding professionals and even wedding DJ’s and everyone seems to agree that the bar for Wedding DJ professionalism has been set (but even more oddly, accepted) at an often shockingly low level of expectation. In many cases the quality of the service provided falls well beneath the level of mediocrity. IMO that’s not ok because the reputation of the entire DJ industry is damaged every time a DJ falls short. It’s created an atmosphere of apathy where people in need of a DJ often hope to pay very little for one simply because they expect so little in return.
This post isn’t about bashing what I consider to be average or stereotypical Wedding DJ’s. For the most part I don’t think there’s anything particularly deceptive about how most of them run or market their companies. It’s not a bait and switch scenario. Clients hire them with their eyes wide open, understanding the level of service they will receive. Some are willing to contract an average DJ because they think what they’re seeing is “as good as it gets.”
In some cases their expectations are so low they don’t even try to find a qualified DJ or MC because they don’t realize good DJ’s exist. Recently I stumbled upon this blog post on Vegan Bride titled “Phil Birdsell Saved the Day!” written by her real life groom. It’s a perfect example of what this article is all about. He and his bride weren’t going to hire a Professional DJ… Until they met Phil Birdsell who completely transformed their perception of what a wedding DJ can be and exceeded all of their expectations.
I know a common misconception is that all DJ’s are “cheesy” or as MC’s they are “obnoxious” on the microphone. So the logic is: Why pay a lot for someone who is most likely going to annoy or disappoint you? For some companies those may be accurate descriptions of the types of services they provide. But I want to share with you today that not all DJ companies are like that…
Some are good.
Some are really good.
A select few are truly great.
CONSIDERATIONS IMO the major factors that really matter when it comes to price are:
Budget If a particular DJ doesn’t fit your budget, keep looking for the most qualified one who does. You want to choose the right DJ to entrust your reception to: One who is going to try their hardest and do their best for you, not the first one you talk to or the most convenient one.
The answer to this question varies based on your needs, expectations and priorities and the level of talent, skills and customer service a DJ is able to provide to you.
The funny thing (as in ironic not ha ha) is that I have worked in the wedding industry for 13 years and by far know more vendors who do not charge enough for their services than those who overcharge. So many people who work in the wedding industry do so because they love to make people happy, they’re really not in it for the money. Some barely charge enough to break even on the cost of their labor, supplies and equipment. (When I was a custom bridal accessory designer I spent a lot of energy talking brides out of things they didn’t need because imo when it comes to wedding accessories, less is more. Less will always look classic and elegant while too much can look costumed or silly.)
Are DJ’s Who Charge More Worth More? They can be but it may take research on your part to verify if a company is charging what they’re worth or if they are simply being opportunistic. The sad truth is that any company can “look” legitimate. All they have to do is build a nice looking website, print up some business cards and brochures and start advertising. They may even have some impressive credentials. But those things alone aren’t a guarantee of anyone’s current level of professionalism or your satisfaction as their client.
On the flip side of buyer beware is knowing that paying a premium price for something doesn’t always mean it’s overpriced. Whether or not something costs “too much” can be determined by the answer to this question: Is it worth what it costs? You can spend $5,000 dollars on something that’s worth $10,000 and get a great deal. Or you can spend the same $5000 on something that’s only worth $50 and be completely taken advantage of.My pov is: “Value is not relative to price but to the quality of the product or service you receive in return for your investment.”
And what about their Master of Ceremonies skills? Especially if you haven’t ever seen them perform before I urge you not to just send out an email or chat on the phone before hiring a DJ because they will almost always be acting as your MC. You need to meet them in person. During your face to face consultation you can see their personality and even ask them to stand and do an introduction for you. When they do, watch for the following elements to see if they have mastered the MC skills needed to do a great job at your wedding:
Facial expression and demeanor: Do they smile and look happy to be there?
Body language: Do they slouch, rock or shift about nervously once they begin speaking? Or do they stand straight and tall with confidence?
What are their speaking skills like? Do they talk so fast you can barely understand them? Or are they so timid you can’t imagine them getting everyone out on the dance floor?
Do they sound engaged, interested and excited to be there or is their voice flat as if they are reading a nutrition label on a box of breakfast cereal?
What does their voice sound like? Do they speak with sincerity in their own voice or turn on a different affected performance voice once they’re speaking into a microphone? (Or spoon or ballpoint pen, whatever is handy during your consultation.)
After taking Mark Ferrell’s MC workshop it is now much more apparent to me how undervalued and overlooked MC skills have been in both the past and present. It’s all the more shocking because everything the MC does is an integral part of your wedding reception and should be considered when you are choosing your Wedding DJ
WHO DO YOU HIRE? The first and most important question would be: Were you referred to a particular DJ by someone you know and trust, who hired them for an event and were thrilled by their service? Or were you impressed when you saw them successfully performing at another event? If your answer to either question is yes, that may be all you need to know when it comes to selecting who to hire.If you’re starting from scratch, here are some tips that may help you decide if a company is going to delight or disappoint you. If you can answer “yes” to all or most of the questions below you’re definitely on the right track to finding a DJ of quality.Does the DJ you are considering hiring:
Have a Business License?
Use a Written Contract? Do they guarantee the date, their arrival and departure time and the rate they are charging you?
Have Quality Equipment?
Own a Vehicle Large Enough to Transport all of the Needed Equipment? Or will they forego the correct equipment because they don’t have the space to transport it?
Come Prepared with Back Up Equipment?
Have an Appropriate Selection of Music to Play at Your Wedding?
Know How to Properly Mix Music? If mixed music is what you’re looking for be sure the DJ you’re hiring knows how to mix in the style you’re seeking.
Not Use Inappropriate Language?
Not Drink Alcohol on the Job?
Bring an Assistant When Necessary? i.e. not enough time allowed for set up before guests arrive or lots of stairs that their equipment must be carried up and down.
Are they a member of an organization that has real standards for business practices and ethics? A group where not just anyone can pay to be a member.
But here are the intangibles:
These are the things that you can’t always discern from a website. These are the things a trusted testimonial from someone you know or an eyewitness account can confirm. Does the DJ you are considering hiring:
Rely on Expertise not Ego?
Deserve your trust?
Have Solid MC Skills?
Know how to Use Their Equipment Properly?
Understand the Pacing and Timing of the Reception?
Have a personality that reflects your own and/or the type of event you would like to host for your guests?
Care About Your Wedding? Are they honored to be a part of your special day or is it just a job to earn money?
There is a Big Difference Between how “Professional” and “Stereotypical” DJ’s View Weddings
To me there are no exceptions, every DJ is one or the other. It comes down to integrity and the choice they make when it comes to how do they approach your wedding day? You will find both types of DJ’s within owner operated and multi-op companies. Professionalism is defined as competence and skill. The Professional understands and cares that your wedding is special and will use their competence and skills to help make it enjoyable and memorable. For the Stereotypical DJ’s, the common perception is that they treat weddings as just another “gig” on their calendar.
Do you remember in the movie “My Best Friend’s Wedding” when Julia Robert’s self centered, no frills character makes the analogy that she is “Jell-O” and in the same breath labeled Cameron Diaz’s sincere character as being “Creme Brulee?”
They are honest, have integrity and treat being a DJ as an occupation, not a hobby. Professionals know that their business requires commitment, effort and integrity to be successful. They treat their clients with appreciation and respect because they care about the fact that weddings are special events.I’ve noticed over the years that because they get to know their clients so well, many owner operated “Professional” vendors in all categories, often create friendships with their clients that may last for years or decades. That’s a great thing!A Professional DJ will incur many overhead expenses to maintain their company and the high level of service they provide to their clients. These costs have to be factored into the price they charge for their services to create a profit margin. The expenses may include but are not limited to:
An annual business license
Registering their business name (DBA) with the city
Computer and needed software
Collateral/Printshop: Brochures, business cards, letterhead, etc.
Website which includes: Design, development, monthly hosting fees, annual renewal for their domain name, periodic updates to their webmaster, etc.
Continuing Education: Attending educational industry events, workshops, seminars and conferences
Graphic Designer: Logo design & collateral development
Equipment: Initial purchase, maintenance and repair
Company Vehicle: A DJ has to own a vehicle large enough to transport their equipment to and from your event. Some own a dedicated vehicle and others purchase a larger personal vehicle than they actually need on a day to day basis simply to be able to transport their equipment on the weekends.
Gas and mileage: Some events and consultations may entail a 4+ hour round trip to reach the wedding venue
Vehicle maintenance and repair
Paying assistants when required to do their job properly
Sometimes Jell-O does hit the spot, it can have its moment. But as Julia said in the movie: “Jell-O can NEVER be creme brulee!” The Stereotypical DJ’s have made being average an accepted standard. Many often treat being a DJ like a hobby. Their most common offenses, many of which you may have witnessed in person or have seen portrayed in movies or on tv that have helped to perpetuate the stereotype are: Being late, incorrectly pronouncing the bride or groom’s name during the introductions, not knowing how to properly use their own equipment, not following the timeline for announcements, dressing or acting inappropriately; hitting on guests, drinking on the job, using inappropriate language or using inappropriate humor.
I know. I get and empathize that these are the reasons that some of you are considering making your own mixed music cd or playlist and may forego hiring a DJ. You just don’t want to risk “that guy” showing up and ruining your wedding reception. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you didn’t before I hope you now realize that there are highly skilled, experienced, talented, caring Professional DJ’s out there. They do exist!
Because different areas of the country have different price ranges, and different couples have different needs and budgets, it isn’t possible for me to give you a definitive amount.
The best guidance I can offer is directly related to the following factors:
Do you want your guests to be able to hear the ceremony and vows by using an additional sound system not provided by your venue?
How important is the success of your reception to you and your fiance? Do you want classy intros, someone who entertains (as opposed to interrupts) your guests, unobtrusive sound systems that won’t look tacky in photos and great music & dancing for your reception? How things sound and how successful the dancing goes is especially important if you’ve hired a wedding videographer.
If you haven’t hired a professional wedding coordinator, do you need the DJ to help you create and execute your wedding day timeline to make sure all of the introductions and announcements are made at the appropriate times? Are you going to count on them to ensure that the photographer and videographer are in place for elements like the toasts, cake cutting and first dance?
Do you want a DJ you can trust? That knowing they are there will give you peace of mind that everything is going to go smoothly and that their presence will positively impact the success of your wedding and reception?
Have you ever hired the wrong person to do an important job? You didn’t realize until things went wrong how important it was to you. Or maybe you were just too busy to be overly concerned and thought you could get by. Whatever the reason, regret basically sucks when you know you could have had a better outcome if you had done things differently.
If the answer to any or all of these questions is yes, you will want to hire the best, most Professional DJ you can afford. What do good DJ’s charge? I will say while there is always the possibility you can find a better than average DJ at any price point, if you want a really good or great one they will probably charge at least twice as much as the average estimates you’ll receive.
I hope this post has explained why and that I’ve made the process of locating, recognizing and qualifying a good DJ easier for you.