Let's talk Budget! Now, even though the word "budget" can sometimes be a scary word or be an uncomfortable conversation, it does not always have to be. Today, we have broken down our approach to Budgeting in 6 easy steps for you.

Step 1: Determine Who is Contributing

The first step is extremely important to determining your overall wedding budget. This is the step where you will figure out all the people who will be contributing money to your wedding . This could be the bride's parents and the groom's parents, or maybe just one side is contributing. There may even be grandparents or another family member who wants to help pay for some portion of the wedding costs. Once you have determined who will be contributing, it is important to determine also, how much each party will be contributing to the wedding budget. Determine a dollar amount that each party will contribute, and write it down or start an excel spreadsheet that can be shared with family members.

Step 2: Establish How Much You + Your Fiancé Will Contribute

In this step, you and your fiancé will decide on a dollar amount that you will want to/ will be putting towards the wedding budget, if any. Once you decide the maximum amount of money that you both will be contributing to your wedding budget, you will combine all parties contributions to configure an estimated budget amount(key word being "estimated"). Now, just because you have arrived at a combined total number, this does not mean this is necessarily your total budget number. The rest of the steps are equally as important and could change your budget slightly, whether it be an increase or a decrease.

Step 3: Estimate Your Guest Count

Now, step 3 is possibly one of the most important steps to consider! I cannot stress this enough- the cost of your wedding for the most part, is determined by your guest count! Some of the vendors that you will spend the most money on for your wedding are the vendors that their cost revolves around your guest count. These vendors include: Catering, Cake, Chairs + Table Rentals, alcohol/bar, and sometimes even florals depending on your design. For instance, if you have decided on having a floral centerpiece for every table at your reception, and you will have 25 tables at your reception due to the guest count size- then, you will be spending a lot more money on flowers vs. having 12 tables at your reception. There are so many connections to your guest count and your budget, more than some might realize. If you come to a realization that you might be spending way more than you want to because of your guest count, it might be best to try and cut back on your guest list as much as possible.

Step 4: Define You + Your Fiancé's Priorities

Step 4 is the step where you and your fiancé will really want to sit down and discuss what is truly important to you both for your wedding day. This is where you will discuss which vendors are the top priorities for your wedding day. These will be the vendors that you are willing to splurge on when it comes to money because it is something that is a priority to you both. Say for instance, that a couple are huge foodies, then they may want Catering to be at the top of their priority list. Therefore, putting catering at the top of your priority list generally means they will spend the most money on this vendor. Once you know which vendors are the most important to you both, it is easier to go back through your budget and mark which ones have some wiggle room on money, and which ones you can budget a little less for.

Step 5: Do all your Research for Hidden Costs

One thing to know is, if you have a wedding planner, they will be able to help you identify these hidden or unexpected costs. More than likely, your wedding planner will already know which hidden costs to identify for you and will know what additions there will be to certain vendor costs. For instance, there may be an additional fee added on to your catering bill for them to cut your wedding cake. Another example could be having an open bar because you will more than likely be paying the total bill for the bar after your wedding has happened. This step can also be achieved when you are reading through vendor contracts, which is why hiring a wedding planner is such an asset because they will be the one to review all your vendor contracts for you!

Step 6: Create Your Budget Breakdown in Writing

Last but not least, the final step is to combine all the previous steps to create a budget breakdown in writing or organize it into an excel spreadsheet. In this step, you will list each vendor category out , and you will put your top 3 vendors from step 4 at the top of the list. Next to each vendor, list out a maximum dollar amount that you are budgeting for each particular vendor. This will be the maximum amount you want to spend on this particular vendor, and it will be a reference for your budget when starting to book your wedding vendors. If you have a wedding planner, you will create this type of budget plan with your planner and they will help you stay on track! If you do not have a planner, this will be a handy tool in order to stay on track with the budget you have set out for yourself in the beginning stages of planning. Sometimes I find that it's easier for brides and their families to organize their budget in percentages versus stating a maximum dollar amount. Your top priorities for your wedding day should obviously be your higher percentage amounts. In general, the highest percentage of your budget will more than likely go towards your reception as a whole (including each vendor that plays a part in your reception). For instance, your reception percentage will include the cake, bar/beverage, band/DJ, catering, transportation, and sometimes the venue can be categorized under reception as well.

When it comes to a wedding budget, every single wedding will be completely different. When creating and discussing your budget, it is extremely important to have realistic expectations on the amount that you will probably spend and the amount that you can afford to spend. If you are realistic about both, you will more than likely have the best chance of staying on track with your budget that you have created. These steps will not determine your exact budget amount for you, but it is my hope that these steps will help guide you when beginning to plan your wedding and starting to build a realistic budget for you and your fiancé!

I hope these steps help you budget for your wedding day and will guide you tremendously! If you want to learn more or discuss more details regarding building a wedding budget, please reach out or get in touch with Lauryn E. Weddings! We are here to help serve you, and help your wedding planning be as easy and stress free as possible! Also, remember that Lauryn E. Weddings now offers consulting/planning sessions for brides who just need a little help getting started, or for the bride who needs help with vendor recommendations, layout planning, or just wants to discuss design details! Email us today to book a session!

Xoxo from your wedding bff,

Lauryn E. Weddings

Happy Thursday friends! As promised, I had a lot of requests for this very important topic! This topic is something I feel every bride needs to know about before she starts touring venues or before she books her wedding venue. Now, if you have hired a wedding planner, you’re taken care! Reason being is, your planner will generally attend your venue tours with you & they will know exactly what to ask and what is important to know about the venue. But if you don’t have a wedding planner, this blog post is for you!

We have broken down the specific questions to ask and topics to cover into categories below. We will explain why each one is important when you're trying to decide whether to book the venue or not.

First off, all the Basics:

  • What dates do they have available?

  • What is the venue capacity? Very important because the venue you are looking at could have a maximum capacity of 200 guests. Well, if your guest list is already over 250 people then, this venue will not be the best option for you. Not only do you need to know the venue capacity, but you also need to find out how many guests can be seated in total.

  • What is the total rental fee & amount of money you will be paying for the venue? This could be a make or break for deciding if this is the venue for you.

  • Along with the rental fee, it is important to know what exactly is included in the rental fee? You need to find out if tables, chairs, and linens are included in this price. If they aren’t, then that will be additional fees the venue may throw on top of the rental fee. OR the venue may not even have their own tables, chairs, or linens and therefore, you would have to find another vendor for these items.

  • How many hours are included in your rental package for wedding day? Also, is the day before for your rehearsal included?

  • If the venue provides tables, chairs, and linens- how many of each do they have?

  • Are there separate spaces for the ceremony and reception to be held? OR is a venue flip possible? This is a very important question to ask depending on what you envision for your wedding day. If you plan to have an outdoor ceremony and indoor reception, you have to make sure the venue can accommodate this. Or if you want the ceremony and reception to be in the same exact space, you must make sure that the venue can manage a venue flip or will allow it. You must also find out how the venue manages venue flips because it will be important for all your vendors to know what this will entail on wedding day.

  • Is there a bridal suite & groom suite for getting ready on wedding day?

  • Does the venue require event liability insurance or liquor liability insurance to be purchased?

  • What are the typical “Plan B” weather plans if it were to rain on your wedding day? This is important to know up front if you are planning an outdoor ceremony and/or reception. You could end up being unhappy with whatever the “plan B” is- so it is important to know at the beginning what your wedding would look like if it were to rain or snow on your wedding day. (You never know what Alabama weather could be like)

  • Does the venue have an open vendor policy? Wow! This is a very important thing to know about a venue. An open vendor policy means that the venue allows you to bring in/book whatever vendors you would like. Some venues that do not have this open vendor policy means that you can only use/hire vendors from their own preferred vendor list.

Food + Drink:

  • Does the venue have in-house catering & bar service?

  • Can you bring/provide your own alcohol?

  • Is there a kitchen for the caterer to use? Is there a refrigerator and ice maker? If you are providing your own alcohol for the reception, it is important to know if there is a refrigerator to keep the drinks cold or if there is an ice machine for coolers.

Décor + Rentals:

  • Are linens provided by the venue? If so, what colors do they have?

  • Can you have candles, sparklers, or any other kind of open flame type décor items?

  • Are there specific rules for what kind of décor is allowed or are there rules that the florist needs to know?

All Other Miscellaneous Questions:

  • Does the venue require you to hire security if alcohol is present at the wedding?

  • Does the venue have a sound system? This is a great question to ask that most people don’t think about. Make sure the venue has some kind of basic sound system for background music, ceremony music, and a microphone for the ceremony. Some venues have hand-held microphones or a lapel mic for the officiant to use during the ceremony. Trust me, you want your guests to be able to hear the ceremony and your vows.

  • What is the parking situation at the venue for guests and vendors? Does the venue have a valet service or system for parking on the day of your wedding?

  • Does the venue have extra tables usable for the guestbook table, gifts tables, cake tables, etc.?

  • Does the venue have a bar? If so, how many?

  • Can the venue accommodate a band or DJ for your reception? This might sound like an obvious question, but believe it or not, some venues don’t have a big enough space to host a band. Think about it, say you want a band that is a 6 member band, a dance floor, and you want tables in your reception space. It is important to imagine this or think about if that is actually logistically possible. If it is not, then maybe a DJ is your best bet or the venue isn’t the one for you.

We hope this helps when you are beginning to tour venues & deciding which one is the perfect fit for your wedding day! We want each and every bride to pick the perfect venue that will make all their wedding visions come to life. That is why making sure to ask all the right questions before you book is so crucial in the wedding planning process, especially since the venue is the first vendor you’ll book, most of the time.

Please let us know if you have any questions or want to know more about venue tours & booking the perfect venue for you! You can reach us through our website, email, or Instagram! We can’t wait to hear from you & see which venues you book for your special day!


Lauryn E. Weddings

Hi Friends! Happy Friday!

Today on the blog, we are discussing the hot spots in Birmingham, AL for rehearsal dinners! Birmingham has some wonderful venues & restaurants to meet every brides' rehearsal dinner needs. There are fine dining restaurants, breweries & distilleries, and elegant & intimate venues as well. When starting to plan for your rehearsal dinner, make sure you start with your guest count! Your guest count will be the starting point for finding the perfect venue to host your rehearsal dinner.

Luckily, Birmingham has a wide variety of venues that can host an arrangement of group sizes! We are going to list below our top 7 rehearsal dinner picks & the venues that are most booked by our brides.

  1. Galley & Garden: This restaurant is a beautiful white building located in downtown Birmingham. Galley and Garden is known for their modern American-French inspired food & drinks! They have several rooms for your private rehearsal dinner that can accommodate multiple different guest counts. There is "The Parlor", which can host and seat up to 20 people. Then, there is "The Great Room" which can host and seat up to 80 people. Address: 2220 Highland Avenue, Birmingham, AL 35205.

  2. The Wine Loft: This venue is one of our personal favorites for rehearsal dinners! It is perfect for a bride & group that loves great wine, and is meant to be a very classy, upscale, and intimate atmosphere. The wine loft is beautiful with its exposed brick and high ceilings! Address: 2200 1st Avenue North #100, Birmingham, AL 35203.

  3. Ovenbird: The perfect venue for an intimate social gathering filled with fine dining & drinks. This restaurant is the cutest & even has an outdoor area for cocktails- this venue is very rustic-chic! Ovenbird's main dining room can hold up to 50 guests. They also have a bigger dining area called the "Warehouse". Both of these rooms are connected by gorgeous French doors! You can rent these rooms together or separate for your rehearsal dinner event. Ovenbird is definitely one of our favorites as well & the food is absolutely delicious! Address: 2810 3rd Avenue S, Birmingham, AL 35233.

  4. Dread River Distilling: One of Birmingham's new distilleries is perfect for a very unique and modern event. This venue can host a variety of guest count sizes as well, and is filled with lots of bright colored loungewear and dark, moody vibes! You can even tour the distillery and do a tasting while you are here. Address: 2400 7th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35233.

  5. The Clubhouse on Highland: Now, this is one of Birmingham's most historic and classic venues for rehearsal dinners! This venue has in-house tables, chairs, and linens perfect for your event. The house itself can host a pretty decent size group of people, and there is an even bigger outside area. Address: 2908 Highland Avenue, Birmingham, AL 35205.

  6. Leaf and Petal Greenhouse (Cahaba Heights location): Talk about unique? Leaf and Petal allows you to rent out their greenhouse for any bridal/wedding event. It is absolutely stunning & can make for a very special gathering with your closest friends and family. Address: 4113 Crosshaven Dr., Vestavia Hills, AL 35243.

  7. B & A Warehouse Bottle Room: This is another one of our personal favorites! B&A Warehouse has a hidden gem within their venue called the Bottle Room, which gives us all the speakeasy, winery type vibes. And, we absolutely love it! This is perfect for a candle lit, intimate, and romantic rehearsal dinner! Address: 1531 1st Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35233.

There are so many other wonderful rehearsal dinner venues, so we decided to list a little extra for you! Here they are:

- The Grand Bohemian Hotel

- Avondale Brewing Company

- Satterfields Restaurant

- The Florentine

- Cat and Bird Winery

- The Anvil Pub

- Bridgestreet Gallery & Loft

- Perry's Steakhouse

We hope this blog post helps you find and pick your perfect rehearsal dinner venue. We sure do love Birmingham, and all this city has to offer for the wedding industry & our sweet brides! We would love to hear from you if this post helped you to find your venue, email us or message us and let us know!


Lauryn E. Weddings