Chloe and Danny‘s Tuscan Jewish wedding, planned by Michelle! Photo by David Bastianoni
This is a guest post by Michelle Jacobs. The founder of Elegante by Michelle J, Michelle is a wedding planner with a niche specialisation in luxury destination weddings in Italy for UK and US based Jewish couples. Her mission is to create magical and memorable weddings for her couples, their families and their guests. Michelle has had the privilege of working at numerous Italian venues and has built fantastic relationships and effective collaborations with a whole host of talented and professional Italian wedding vendors. She is passionate about sharing all of her knowledge and experience to create your dream wedding.
One of the most challenging aspects of planning a wedding is budgeting. Figuring out how much you have to spend, breaking it down by category, and then continually monitoring your progress as you book each supplier… it’s a lot to think about!
But all that hard work can only go so far if you forget to include certain key items in your budget from the beginning. It’s like anything in life – you have to start with good foundations, otherwise it can all come tumbling down.
So, here are some examples for you of items that I commonly see omitted from an original budget document.
Jasmin and Brett‘s Osea Island UK Jewish wedding, planned by Michelle! Photo by Claudine Hartzel
Couples – when costing out their wedding – often look at the wedding reception costs only and forget about the main event!! After all, your guests are joining you to witness your marriage. Everything that follows is simply a celebration of this, and your marriage ceremony does come with its own costs. These can include:
- Synagogue membership fees (often a stipulation if the rabbi at your family Synagogue is marrying you)
- Fees charged by the rabbi
- Chazan, musicians and/orchoir
- Sound system for the ceremony – not always available at the synagogue so if you are having musicians at your ceremony you might need to hire in a PA system.
- Chuppah hire as well as the chuppah flowers
- Any other ceremony decoration
- Kippot and order or service booklets (if applicable or required)
- Transport from the ceremony to the wedding reception (if you decide to provide this for your guests)
- Chair hire and set up (eg for an outdoor ceremony at your wedding venue)
- The cost of your civil wedding, which you will require in addition to your Jewish wedding
Paige and Richard‘s Jewish wedding at the Great Synagogue of Florence, planned by Michelle! Photo by David Bastianoni
Your caterer might have sent you an initial set of sample menus with per person pricing, but have they included:
- Furniture hire if not available at your venue (ie tables and chairs) and do they charge extra to set these up for you
- Linen upgrades (perhaps their per person cost includes for basic white linen and you would like to introduce more of a luxury feel or colour)
- Tableware and glassware upgrades
- Kitchen set up costs (if you are using a dry hire venue with no catering kitchen)
- Transport costs for their team (if you are using a venue which is not local to their base)
- “Crew meals” -you are not expected to pay to feed the caterers staff, but you will need to pay to feed all of your other suppliers including your band, your photographers and videographers, your wedding planners etc. Usually caterers will charge a reduced fee for a simpler meal, although you should expect to provide a hot meal as it is always a long day for the supplier team and a decent meal is considered essential.
Michelle helped Emma and Pete plan a Mary Poppins-themed wedding – talk about a Jewish wedding that’s totally them! Photo by Claudine Hartzel
Do make sure you check your venue hire contract carefully. In particular you need to consider:
- What time are your suppliers allowed access,and if earlier access will be required is this possible and will they charge extra for it
- Likewise the breakdown and de-rig at the end;how long do they allow for this, is it a sufficient amount of time and if not, will there be an extra fee for a later finish
- What time must your wedding end; can you extend for a fee?And if so, how much?
- Which spaces are included?Does this include for all of your requirements including a green room for the band and other suppliers (ie photographers and videographers), a room for your Tisch, a room for your Bedeken? Is there any extra charge for additional rooms?
Stephanie and Dan‘s Jewish wedding in Tuscany, planned by Michelle! Photo by David Bastianoni
A florist might provide you with a ball-park cost for decorating your Chuppah and for your table centrepieces, but does the fee include:
- Delivery and set up
- Returning at the end to collect the vases, candelabras, tea light holders etc and break down the chuppah
- Breakages of vases, tea light holders etc
Claudia and James‘s Jewish wedding in Mykonos, planned by Michelle! Photo by Anna Roussos
Entertainment and Production
You have decided on a band and agreed a fee with them. But I am afraid that is not all. Their fee may or may not include their sound system, but it definitely won’t include:
- Dance floor
If you book a large showband they will have certain requirements regarding their stage and lighting so do make sure you talk to them about these things sooner rather than later and build them into your budget.