In all seriousness, this should be an early discussion — that means before researching, touring, and securing your wedding venue.

A few top-line considerations to help you understand why: 

  • Averages are just that, averages. You’ll hire 14+ vendors by the time you are done wedding planning — think of all the variables at play with this many moving parts! That is how accurate these “averages” are. 
  • Working with CJDE means certain contingencies are observed with no ifs, ands, or buts. Chances are you found us via a referral, your wedding venue or by doing some stealth-stalking on a vendor’s Instagram page (no judgment hehe, we love getting DM’s from couples who liked what they saw on another vendor’s page and just HAD to get in touch!), but we want to make sure your day is EVERYTHING you want it to be and EVERYTHING all of your vendors signed up for (without surprises) so we can’t and won’t cut corners or make exceptions on these things, all with your best-interest at heart:
    • Working with a venue that requires professional, insurance-carrying vendors only. We know your uncle probably takes fabulous photos; he is not shooting your wedding. 
    • Ensuring your guest and vendor experience is CJDE-standard matching. One makeup artist can’t physically do 12 people’s makeup in 3 hours (you need an assistant!). Just as you can’t serve 2 bites of food per person during cocktail hour; it’s not safe when there is an open bar! (also who wants all those hangry people entering your reception?!) 
    • Working with clients who are planning a wedding in the city of Chicago, similar urban environments, surrounding Chicago-land suburban areas, at private residences, as well as popular out of State destinations (our neighboring states of Michigan and Wisconsin, Sunny Florida, Charleston, and South Carolina have all been sprinkled with CJDE planning, floral, & design magic throughout the years). 

Below are a few unique lessons I learned as a bride when it came to our budget — and I’ve created and managed hundreds of wedding budgets for my clients!

  • What will and what won’t be “part” of the budget. 

For Brent and I, we wanted to give each other the creative liberty to dress to the nines — in any way we chose — without sharing what this cost was for either of us. We trusted one another’s judgment here, which is key! 

For others, you may want to use points for your hotel reservations —for others, you may want to roll your rehearsal dinner expenses into the overarching budget. 

  • The other milestones — they are so worth it, but they SO add up. 

Bachelorette party and Rehearsal dinner outfits, beauty services, champagne for the getting-ready room and gratuities for vendors. Estimate these “a la carte” costs, add them all up and set money aside early on or designate someone responsible to make sure they’re taken care of and accounted for when you wake up on day one as newlyweds. 

  • What you value most should get your top dollar. Spend your money there, and get creative with the rest. 

For me, I wanted to treat my wedding party to various experiences as this felt very much like a thank you gift for celebrating my wedding with me AND for being such treasured friends all these years. I asked them to be in my wedding party with silk pajamas that fit their personality (to also wear on my wedding morning!), paid for their beauty services and selected an AirBnB for them to slumber party with me at, the night before the big day. 

A lesser priority for us? Wedding day desserts! This did not mean we “skimped;” rather, we just prioritized our budget. We enjoyed a beautiful wedding cake from Alliance Bakery and my Mom picked up homemade mochi from an Asian Bakery to be put out by our catering company. No mile-long sweets table needed (for us!).

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