Manage Your Wedding Budget: Ten Simple Ways

Deciding on a budget for your wedding is only the first step in figuring out what things will cost. Once you have a total number in mind, you’ll have to decide how much to spend on what. Creating the budget for your wedding is as important as setting the date. You must do it early in your wedding planning process because most of the decisions that you make will be influenced, if not determined, by your financial plan. Many salespeople and vendors are going to use every trick in the the book to get as big a piece of the pie (your money) as they can get. Cling to your budget. Your budget is your lighthouse.


Decide what’s truly important and what you can do without. For instance, do you really need to rent a red carpet to walk down the aisle when there is a cobblestone path from the Inn’s gazebo to its pavilion? Do you want a string quartet, or could you live with recorded music? Figure out what you feel the strongest about, then create a “must have list.” Only you can envision your dream wedding, but our staff can help you make the dream a reality.

Set Your Budget

Divide up the costs on what you’re willing to spend on each event. The wedding reception is often the most expensive part of any wedding ceremony. 50% for reception location, rentals, food and beverages 10% for flowers and decor 10% for photography and videography 10% for the bride’s and groom’s attire 10% for fees, invitations, transportation, etc. 10% for honeymoon

If one cost goes over budget, then another item must come in under budget by a similar amount. Remember to build in a contingency plan in your budget for emergencies or unforeseen expenses. An accounting software program such as Quicken is a useful tool for maintaining your balance. There are also several online “wedding calculators” and wedding web site budget tools that you can use.

Pick Your Guest List Carefully

Most weddings run between 100 and 250 people, so one of the easiest ways to control expenses is to pare down the number of people attending. Choose the people closest to you and remember that it’s all about quality, not quantity.

That said, the Wine Country Inn has several techniques for allowing you simultaneously manage your budget, guest list and expenses. We are flexible and full of ideas.

Don’t forget to divide the guest list evenly between:

  • The bride and groom’s party.
  • The bride’s family’s party.
  • The groom’s family’s party.
  • The clergy/wedding officiate and his/her spouse.
  • Parents of the ring bearer and flower girls.
  • Spouses or partners of anyone in the wedding party.

To avoid hurt feelings with acquaintances or distant relatives, hold a series of events outside of the wedding in your hometown; plan get-togethers such as showers, after-wedding breakfasts, or even a chocolate bar or dessert reception.

Should you choose us, the Wine Country Inn can accommodate your smaller events and create a series of intimate “vignettes” over a series of days. You will have the luxury of either catching up with the ones who matter the most, or holding those necessary get-togethers with people further down your guest list.

Don’t Forget The Honeymoon

If it’s not accounted for in your budget, can you afford it? A low cost alternative is to stay with us in one of our upgraded rooms, in either our honeymoon suites in the Vintner’s House, or in one of our King Patio Rooms. We have a whirl pool spa room, perfect for romantic getaways.

If you want to spend quality time with other people, you will have to carve out special moments outside of the wedding ceremony and reception. On your wedding day, everyone will want a moment of your time. You will probably spend about 30 seconds with each person you know.

One option is a “mini-moon,” or spending a long weekend with the Wine Country Inn and going on day trips with old friends or beloved relatives. This low cost alternative will allow you to spend time in relaxed, informal get-togethers. It’s also an excuse to extend the celebration, both before and after the wedding.

Check Your Calendar

Choose an off season or shoulder season instead of a peak time of year. We often have reduced room rates during our slow times of year (Typically January 1 through May 1). Work with our staff to research when big festivals and high occupancy will occur, then reserve your room blocks well in advance. You don’t want your wedding to suffer because no one could book a room!

Hold Your Reception Between Meals

Consider a breakfast reception or a lunch/brunch. A cocktail hour reception is another option, as are afternoon teas or a dessert reception. Rates will probably be reduced, and the food for these meals is often less expensive.

Use The Inn’s Repertoire of Centerpieces

We have many attractive items in stock. Our creative, experienced planners can give you many pointers to help you decorate your reception tables. Work with our staff to use the most appropriate decorations for your wedding theme.

Other hints for watching expenses: avoid exotic arrangements such as orchids or tropical flowers that may have to be shipped. Less-expensive flowers like sun flowers, daisies or baby’s breath can fill out a table centerpiece without breaking the budget. In the fall, use autumn leaves or grape vines. Try fresh cut tulips in the spring. In winter, Christmas ornaments or greenery will nicely dress a table. (Also at Christmas, the hotel is already beautifully decorated for the holidays). Your florist can give you more detailed advice about controlling costs. For information about local florists and other vendors, see our list of preferred vendors; many of them offer the Wine Country Inn affordable discounts.

Choose Your Catering Menu

Work with our staff to pick affordable catering menu items. We won’t sacrifice on presentation. We will serve food that is elegant without appearing cheap.

Our Head Chef can customize a variety of budget-conscious wedding reception menus, from formal plated dinners, buffets, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres or a cake and champagne reception. We can tailor your selections and service for a more casual celebration, if you prefer.

There are other strategies we can implement: Have our waiters pass hors d’oeuvres for portion control rather than full appetizer stations. Choose informal barbeques, salad and crudités stations, or work with us to weigh the costs of hot versus cold food.

Manage Your Liquor Costs

If an open bar is outside your budget, consider a cash bar, with one or two complimentary drinks. Get creative with the drink tickets, handing your guests clever objects like wine corks or colored glass pebbles to redeem drinks.

Picking wine and food pairings is another great alternative to a cash bar. This can be done on either a buffet or plated dinner. Serving some of our great local handcrafted beers is another idea for controlling costs. Punch and less-expensive sparkling wines or cuvees for the toast are other cost-effective alternatives to champagne. In cooler months, we can serve mulled wine, hot chocolate or spiced cider.

Use Us First

Utilize our in-house facilities to get ready for the wedding ceremony. The ideal wedding is a low-stress, thoughtful celebration, free from logistical headaches, long commutes and other hassles. It stands to reason that the closer the preparation and events are to one another, the more time your guests can spend with each other.

The Wine Country Inn offers a comprehensive package. We can host every aspect of your Colorado wedding. We have a large ballroom, a variety of room types and meeting spaces, a catering staff and several options for the wedding ceremony. Our Rose Room in the Vintner’s House will accommodate your pre-wedding preparations. With a salon-style shampoo sink and vanity, the bridal party can easily get ready for the event. Rather than making separate trips, you can have your hair and make up stylists come to you.

Bonus Round – Plan Ahead

The more you meet and work with us, the more we can plan for your big day. Don’t forget to allow for plenty of time for preparation and research. We suggest allowing at least six to twelve months for organizing your wedding. Working with the Wine Country Inn to balance your budget can be a key component of this preparation.