This sure is a toughie. Both "reasonable" and "small" are very relative terms and thus it is difficult to answer what might be a good budget for a small wedding.
An adequate budget for a small and intimate wedding would be about $15000. This is taking into account the actual ceremony as well as the reception. The budget of a wedding depends on a large number of things and how you plan them. Here are some tips that can help you to save money and stay within your budget when planning a wedding.
Keep the guest list small. Invite only close family and friends. Do not include casual acquaintances in your wedding list if you are on a tight budget. Even while planning a small wedding, you can tend to get carried away while making the list of invitees by feeling that you can't possibly leave out this person or that. But keep your budget in mind and make your invitation decisions sensibly.
Reduce the length of the wedding. Longer ceremonies and elaborate and long-winding receptions can result in a lot of unnecessary expenditure. Keep the wedding short and sweet as this will help you in staying within your budget.
Don't wait till the last minute to book your wedding church, the reception hall, the caterers, the wedding photographer, and any other reservations that you need to make. A lot of these bookings can be done as much as one year in advance. So make the reservations as early as possible to avoid high last minute costs.
If possible try not to have the wedding on weekends, during the holidays, or during the peak wedding season. Having a wedding on such days is more expensive than having it during the week or on other regular days. Whether you have a daytime affair or an evening one could also be a factor when it comes to saving money. So find out from the banquet managers of your local halls what the best time would be to have a wedding in terms of trying to stay on a small budget.
Try and pay cash for larger expenses and merchandise where ever it is acceptable. Most people will give you a good cash discount which will in turn help to reduce wedding costs.
Reasonable depends on what you want for your wedding. A wedding can cost less than $5000 if the ceremony is at a public park, the reception is at a restaurant, you use disposable cameras instead of a photographer, hire a cheap DJ, have a Mexican buffet for dinner, wear a white dress instead of a wedding dress and have a cash bar.
On the other hand, it is not uncommon for a small wedding to cost over $15,000. The deciding factor is really what you expect to get for your money. Generally, you don't get great food for $7 a plate and you won't get professional quality photos from disposable cameras.
Your wedding planner is suppose to meet reasonable needs. If they have a reason for disagreeing there generally is a good reason so it would be best to listen to them. They are paid to help and also stay within your budget. If you have your heart set on something in the wedding that is too costly the wedding planner will generally come up with something very similar, but at a lower cost.
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