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Working With Clients on a Budget: Tips, Tricks, and a Black Friday Sale

Working with clients on a budget

Planning a wedding is a costly and stressful experience for most couples. Most wedding planners work with clients who are on a tight budget and have to cut costs where possible to make that dream wedding a reality. What tricks do you use to cut down on costs. For instance do you encourage your clients to shop during the black Friday sale?

The average budget of a wedding is around $19,000, which is a marked drop from pre-lockdown wedding budgets, which averaged $28,000 per wedding. 

As a wedding planner, what can you do to help your clients when they can’t pay for all the trimmings they may have originally envisioned? For example, Wedding Wire found that couples who have a budget of $23,000 usually end up spending in the vicinity of $30,000. 

A Black Friday Sale and the Cyber Monday option, are great opportunities to pay for expensive luxuries. However, you may not have considered how valuable this annual sales day.. 

From discounted venue costs to purchasing decorations and wedding dresses at a much better bottom line, you can really help your couple save money and realize their wedding dream. 

Let’s find out how to do just that.  

How to Navigate Conversations About Money 

piggy bank, white background
Money is a stressful conversation for some couples. You’ve got to put them at ease.

Part of your job as a wedding planner is to work on a budget and stretch that budget as much as possible. 

Even a shoestring wedding budget can achieve excellent results when you use sales dates wisely. However, the trick may be in how you intend to broach the tender topic of wedding budgets and sales shopping with your clients.

A client with a smaller budget may be somewhat self-conscious about the bottom line of what they can afford to spend. 

A good wedding planner will know when they can push a little for that breathtaking splurge that will ensure great wedding day memories. You should also know when to advise a client not to go beyond their means. 

When you discuss the topic of the wedding budget, be sure to listen to what your client is saying and how they are saying it. Most people feel uncomfortable discussing their financial limits. 

Be sure to inform your clients that the choices and responsibility for the spending decisions remain theirs. While you can advise them, you shouldn’t create unrealistic expectations. 

Clients should also be made aware of the ongoing nature of a wedding budget. It is not a document set in stone, and as your clients’ needs change, their budget will need to be adjusted along the way. 

Encourage clients not to allocate their entire budget from the start as this may create a budget shortfall, leading to certain aspects of the wedding being forcibly neglected. 

Make sure your client understands their wedding budget, help them plan step by step, and monitor the process so you can include your clients each step of the way. 

Tips for Making Any Budget Work

As a wedding planner, it can be challenging to help a client balance expenses with their desires on a tight budget. However, even a client with a large budget may need reeling in to prevent their wedding plans from becoming utterly decadent and nothing more than a flash of cash.  

Stay True to the Wedding Feel

Regardless of whether the budget is a few thousand dollars or several million dollars, be sure to establish the overall feel the client wants for their wedding. At the end of the day, the happy couple wants a wedding that reflects who they are.

Establish the Budget

When you start planning the wedding, establish what the actual budget for the wedding is. Be sure you and the couple are on the same page with what they expect their budget to accomplish. Planning a lavish space, only to find out the budget has shrunk overnight, can be a real deal-breaker. 

Be Accountable for Spending

Be sure to track all the money being spent. Prepare the couple for the amounts needed for all aspects of the wedding. Get approval (even if the couple says you can go to town) to prevent misunderstandings and cover yourself from legal repercussions. 

Look at All Costs

Factor in the additional costs of items that add up on the budget. Even those unique rose-gold napkin holders you want to add may cost a little extra per item, but these can be a significant amount once added up. 

The Wedding Planning Podcast shines a light on what happens, when your budget goes out the window.

6 Wedding Hacks for Working With Clients on a Tight Budget 

Today, there is a hack for just about everything, so why not for a beautiful wedding on a tight budget?  

1. Go Out of Season 

We all know how expensive everything wedding-related becomes when it’s wedding season. Yet, even by changing the day of the week to a Friday or a Sunday, you can cut costs dramatically. 

2. Go Pre-owned

While most brides dream of their very own designed wedding dress, these are expensive. Instead, opt for a pre-owned or rental wedding dress. These dresses don’t need to look like a stage prop either. 

A few designer stores rent out wedding dresses, and they will tailor the fit exactly to the bride’s shape at a fraction of the price of purchasing a new dress. 

3. Cut Back on Short-term Usage Items

Some items are so routinely used in weddings that people don’t even think about why they are there or what they cost. 

Chairs for the wedding ceremony, for example, can set you back as much as $15 per chair. And, these will only be used for about 20-30 minutes. What about having a picnic wedding reception or a standing wedding ceremony? 

4. Keep It Under One Roof

Couples are sometimes tempted to get multiple venues. For example, the ceremony and photos at one space then host the reception elsewhere. Unfortunately, this amounts to double venue rentals, which quickly drain a budget. Advise your clients to keep their ceremony, reception, and photos at the same venue since this will dramatically stretch a tight budget. 

5. Use the Black Friday Sale and Cyber Monday to Your Advantage

Black and white poster black friday sale shop window
Plan ahead. Get your clients on board for saving big through Black Friday sales

The annual Black Friday Sale (and Cyber Monday) are great for buying a TV, but they are also excellent for getting wedding discounts. So schedule the wedding to make use of a discount (or two) or take advantage of a sale to purchase items for the wedding. 

Even a small step like having the wedding near a peak sales date like Cyber Monday can result in huge gains as guests will be more inclined to purchase the more expensive gifts on your couple’s wedding register. 

You would also be able to secure accommodation at a lower rate for the wedding guests. This means more of the invited guests will show up, saving money on non-attending guests.

6. Cut Corners by Going Minimal

At the end of the day, the wedding will be about the bride and groom. It’s the overall effect (not the details) that will be remembered. This means that not every item on the wedding budget needs to be expensive. 

Go minimal with cakes, flowers, and decorations. Instead of using costly wedding decorations, you could use unique lighting and lasers that are less expensive. Simple tricks like having family photos and decorative work projected on plain white walls can create a fantasy effect at a fraction of the cost of printing these. 

Even the cake can be trimmed down to size. The wedding couple can opt to get a display cake. This is a small top layer cake on a larger cardboard cake that has been decorated. Then, the bride and groom can serve guests regular sheet cakes or cupcakes.

Cut the Budget Down by Shopping for a Black Friday Sale

The wedding day is a blur for most couples, and when they think back they will recall a few stunning features. These are usually captured in photos. Be sure to invest in a few great features while cutting costs on smaller fillers if the budget is tight. 

Make the budget common ground for yourself and your clients, to help them understand what they are paying for and balance their expectations with reality. Use wedding hacks like looking for specials and Black Friday Sales and Cyber Monday discounts to get stuff cheaper. 

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Annette Corrie

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Our ‘Certificate of Professional Wedding Planning Course’ is here to help you through the process, by providing a step-by-step guide to getting started and becoming successful in your new career. This course will help you gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence you need to oversee all the details of a wedding. This course will help you prepare a successful and magnificent event!

Annette Corrie

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