Weddings: Sticking to a Budget & Vendor Customer Service

She’s making a list, checkin’ it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty or nice, Future Mrs. G is coming to town …

Is it okay to combine a Christmas song with a wedding theme the week after New Year’s?  In this case, it is, because I. Just. Did. That.

The list I’m referring to in the catchy jingle above is my never-ending wedding to-do list.  So far, this is what I’ve completed:

  • got engaged
  • booked a photographer
  • booked a caterer/cake person
  • booked the church/reception hall
  • booked a DJ
  • bought a wedding dress
  • picked out bridesmaids dresses
  • booked a honeymoon (!)
  • bought wedding shoes
  • had several panic attacks/nightmares
  • sent out save-the-dates
  • made fabulous homemade wedding invitations
  • booked a rehearsal dinner site
  • a few other miscellaneous things

WHEW!  And I’m not even close to being done!

Some notes on wedding vendors
The naughty or nice people I’m referring to in the above jingle are the … dun dun dun … wedding vendors.

In my experience so far, wedding vendors have been a bit … shady.  They are generally hard to work with and their prices usually always include that ridiculous wedding mark-up.  They’re all sweet, caring, and interested when they’re trying to win your business, but as soon as you put down the deposit, things change.  (This has happened to me in every case except with my caterer, who has been super nice and helpful.)

What the hell happened to customer service in this industry?  I thought everyone was supposed to be graveling at my feet and trying to make the bride happy?  This hasn’t been the case for me and I think I know why:  I care about my budget.  The word “budget” to wedding vendors is like garlic, holy water, or sunlight to vampires; they hear it and start to melt or a look of horror covers their face like they’re about to spontaneously combust.  What a bunch of drama queens.

Why I walked out on a potential florist
Next up on my wedding to-do list is the florist.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  flowers are about the least important aspect of my wedding day.  Yes, I know I could go with fake flowers, but even though flowers don’t mean much to me, I still want real ones.

So, a friend recommended a florist to me.  I contacted her and she was very accommodating and sweet until our first meeting.  At the beginning of the meeting, I stopped her in her sales pitch and told her I wanted to get the budget straightened out before we began.

“$750,” I said.

She shook her head and said she couldn’t do it.  (Mind you, that amount was ONLY for 6 bouquets and 10 boutonnieres.)

Then, I asked her what she could do for $1,000.

She said no.  She said she couldn’t do my bouquets and boutonnieres for a grand.

Knowing that I still needed flowers for the cake, too, I ended up walking out.  I thanked her for her time and wished her well in her business and left.

When I got to my car, I called a local grocery store who said they could do my entire wedding for $750 or less.

Lessons Learned

  • If something doesn’t matter much to you (like flowers), don’t go to a professional or a small business.  They might do better work, but they’ll charge more.
  • When someone doesn’t work with your budget, walk out.  Someone else WILL.
  • Never ever ask G to buy you flowers ever again because they are overpriced and a waste of money. 😉

I’m very happy I decided to go with a grocery store for the wedding flowers.  This particular grocery store is well-known for their wedding flowers, cakes, and catering, so I know they’ll do a good job.  And the fact that it fits into my budget is just the icing on the wedding cake.

What do you think you would splurge or skimp on for your wedding?


  • ‘When someone doesn’t work with your budget, walk out. Someone else WILL.’ – that is most probably right – but more importantly you have to think that what is being offer is suitable for your needs – if it is fine.

  • Another thing I hate about vendors is that they never tell you the price upfront! They always want you to look at that, listen to this and make you run through hoops before they tell you a dollar amount!

    Wow you really have a great attitude about these things. Yes, flowers are not the most important things in the wedding. Unfortunately I realized that after my wedding was over. When I went to the florist, I would feel like I should get the most beautiful flowers in there. Same thing with the cake etc. I would forget that all of these are just a part of the big wedding.

  • Ha, My girlfriend was just talking yesterday about how she wanted to get into wedding cake making and the like, then you tell me that most of the ones you deal with have a crappy attitude (although your city is larger than mine, I think people here would sink fast if they acted like that).
    Maybe it’s not a bad idea after all.

  • Wow what a bunch of crap. Before we booked our venue, we looked at a few caterers, to get an idea of what we might need to spend. Many caterers would not even give me “average” pricing, or send me “sample” menus until I told them my budget. We ended up going with a venue that did their own catering and was up front about their prices.

    We got lucky with our florist. I told her my budget, we talked about what I wanted, and then she gave me an estimate. It was about $600 higher than I was willing to pay and I told her that. She worked it down to exactly what my estimate was, no questions asked. We got really lucky with her.

  • I am SO with you! Flowers weren’t important to me either. I have a florist I work closely with, and I’m always blown away at how much her stuff costs! Just crazy! It’s great you found a budget friendly option! 🙂

  • I agree on flowers. They are sweet but I don’t want hubby to spent too much money on them ’cause they die. I’d rather get something else I can actually keep! My wedding flowers were about $600 for about the same amount you got. Even at that I couldn’t believe that I was spending that much on flowers that will die.

  • I wanted my guests to have a really good time, with nice drinks and music, and an unobtrusive photographer. So I splurged like crazy on the bar, the music, the photographer, and the presents for bridesmaids / groomsmen. I cheaped out on dress ($450), reception hall (used my parents’ yard for free), church decorations (had my cousins do them with evergreen and holly from my trees), and cake cake (baked by cousins and an aunt). Seven years later, my friends still recall my wedding as a great party, so I think I succeeded.

    It all depends on what is important to you – splurge on that, and cheap out on everything else. Grocery store flowers sound like a great idea to me.

  • I think you did the right thing regarding the florist and have no comment on that. I just want to say that I love that on your completed list, you wrote: got engaged! I guess doing any of these things without getting engaged is kind of creepy. LOL.

  • I totally agree with your choice here and admire your gumption to stick to your budget/beliefs. Flowers are here today and gone tomorrow. The memories of your wedding will be forever and it looks like you are planning a truly memorable one!

  • Good for you for standing your ground! I’m in the NYC metro area, and even I could easily find a florist who could do 6 bouquets & 10 boutonnieres for under $750 (as long as we’re not talking exotic flowers). I was able to get 6 bouquets, 9 boutonnieres, 2 corsages AND 20 centerpieces for $1200. Sure, not everything was roses, but they were a prominent part of every arrangement.

  • Ha! OMG if vendors they are going to hate me. Seriously hate me. I will be a full on budget monster, i just know it. ha. I can’t believe that florist was so rigid though. I mean who ever heard of a business person turning away business. ridiculous.

  • I like when you tell them its a particular event, like a wedding in your case, INSTANTLY they add some sort of multiplier to the price… I remember when I graduated highschool and we rented a limo, because we were going to ‘grad’ rather than ‘some random non-grad event’, the price was $500 more.

  • I’m pretty sure when I get married, my job will be attempting to keep under budget, while having almost no say in the decorations, etc. Guess they call that leveraging our strengths. Well, I’m definitely keeping an eye on how it goes for you. Great job sticking to your guns so far! I think as you go it’s going to become more and more difficult to do so.

  • Hi! I just stumbled across your blog from Lifehacker and I have to say how much I’m identifying with so much of what you write! Besides the budgets and the working out… I’m getting married next year as well… and I also had the same issue with both wedding vendors and florists! The flowers, which were so not worth the money to me, were stressing me out so much that I just decided to buy them wholesale and put them together myself. Loving your blog and can’t wait to read more!

  • I baulked when I found out a friend of ours paid over $2k for 4 bouquets and flowers adorning the head table at their wedding. I checked out a few florists and their prices were just exorbitant. I didn’t really care for flowers and by then, didn’t want to even deal with any florists for my wedding that I ended up doing them all by myself for less than $200. Everyone at the wedding commented on the flowers and decorations and how it really represented us which I was really pleased about. We splurged on the venue, food and drinks and the photographer and scrimped on all the others.

Leave a Comment