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How much does it cost to get married at the Mansion – Part 2 & 3

(click here to read Part 1)

Part 2:  The Rest of the Reception—DJs-Décor-Music

 

There is more to a wedding reception than just the venue and the food and beverage.  Regardless of where you get married you will spend money on wedding flowers, djs/bands, photography, and your wedding cake if it isn’t included in the catering package.

This week I read a blog, called “How to have a wedding for $5,000.”  I won’t include that link as I thought it was pretty foolish.  It is easy to brag about how inexpensive your wedding was when half of the services were donated by friends and you fed your guests from a food truck. [Don’t get me wrong I like food trucks, but it isn’t my idea of a wedding.] I will adhere to the philosophy that you get what you pay for—unless all your friends donating services are wedding professionals.

 

MUSIC/ENTERTAINMENT: 

I reached out to a DJ this week and asked him to send me some bullet points on what separates the great DJs from the neophytes that are happy to do your wedding for $600.  The best DJs:

  • Know what to play and when. An experienced DJ has the ability to read the crowd and know when things need to be changed. Crucial decisions are made every 2 to 3 minutes – “Will this song work?” – He/she needs to be able to mix out of it quickly if it doesn’t.

 

  • An experienced DJ is not thrown by last minute changes and recognizes that although a timeline is helpful, a wedding timeline is fluid and an experienced DJ is ready at a moment’s notice to switch things up.

 

  • Confidence on the mic. A good DJ is comfortable addressing a crowd and has the ability to pronounce difficult names.  Imagine paying someone who can’t pronounce your name.

 

  • An experienced, professional DJ knows how to work as a team with the coordinator, catering staff, photographer, videographer and any other professionals. For example, a DJ should never announce a spotlight moment (cake cutting, parent dance, etc.) without first making sure the entire vendor team is ready to capture and/or participate.

 

  • A professional will have a backup plan in place (paid on-call DJ, backup song library, backup gear) and should never shy away from answering that question immediately without hesitation.

 

  • A professional will know where the spotlight belongs – on the wedding couple, NOT the DJ themselves. Guests, family and friends come to celebrate the married couple, NOT to come see the DJ.

 

  • Experience with the venue – especially important with a unique space such as the Wadsworth Mansion. Does the DJ know what’s needed and does he/she own the appropriate equipment to properly provide sound/services in multiple indoor and outdoor spaces?

 

When selecting a DJ, the price is going to be based on how many hours their services are needed. Packages begin at 5 hours as that is the standard reception length.  Adding music  or microphones for the ceremony extends the time.

DJs also provide other services, such as interior and exterior lighting of the venue, specialty lighting for dancing, and fog machines.

For budgeting purposes, if you are planning on hiring a truly professional DJ, plan to spend between $2,000 -$2,700 for 6 hours of DJ services.  If you add lighting expect to spend another $1,000.

 

 

FLOWERS

I think one of the hardest part about flowers at a wedding is that not all flowers are created equal.  Flowers aren’t sold by the pound, they are sold by the stem and some stems are more expensive than others.  [Peonies, Ranunculus, Protea, Orchids, and Garden Roses are some of the more expensive flowers.] Using local seasonal flowers don’t necessarily make arrangements less expensive unless the florist has access to flowers in someone’s yard, and then they most likely would not be able to provide the amount of flowers needed.

The second hardest part about budgeting for flowers is  knowing what you need.  The more attendants at your wedding the more bouquets and boutonnières you will need.  The more guests that you have, the more centerpieces that are required.   Don’t forget parents, grandparents, the flower girl or ring bearer.  That is just for starters, how about:  arches, chair arrangements/bows, mantles, garlands, cake florals, bathrooms, bars, console tables/altar.  It is enough to make you put your head in a spin.

Do tell the florist your color palette for the wedding.  Do tell the florist what flowers you like.  It is great to hand your florist a picture you found on Pinterest as an example of your style or color palette, but if you ask the florist to duplicate it you may be shocked at the price. The arrangement could have been created for a photo shoot where the budget is limitless—and isn’t expected to be duplicated 15 times!  Do give the florist some latitude when purchasing flowers.  The blush roses may not look that fresh when the florist is at the market and on the other hand, there may be something stunning that will make your bouquets a knockout.  In most cases, your experienced floral decorator will be able to guide you to the best look to fit your budget.

 

I have included a table of pricing from two florists on our list.

 

Floral Piece Florist 1 Florist 2
Bouquets $175-$300 $150-$300
Bridesmaids Bouquets $100+ $75-$125
Boutonnieres $18+ $15
Corsage-pin on $25+ $25.00
Corsage-wrist $35+ $25.00
Pew/Chair bows $30/pair
Low Centerpieces $65+ $75+
High Centerpieces $150+ $200
Garland $40/ft.
Cake Topper $35+
 Cake Florals $45+
Arch $200+ $500+
Rose petals $150+
Mantles $100-$300

 

For additional information about the price of arrangements, visit:  Here

 

Yes, you can go to Stop and Shop (a local  supermarket) for wedding flowers, however they are not generally full service, which means you have to pick up & set up and who has time for that on the most important day of your life!?  I tried to get pricing, but couldn’t get through to them.  [That may say it all.]  You’ll get what you pay for as a talented florist has a great sense of color and design and will make your wedding truly elegant.

 

If you have 5 bridesmaids, 5 groomsmen, 15 tables, 1 bride who loves flowers, 4 parents and two grandmothers, an arch, and two decorated mantles you can expect to spend around $4,000.

 

For additional information about the price of arrangements, visit:  Here

 

 

PHOTOGRAPHERS

 

Like DJs, photographers are selling time and talent. The price for wedding photography depends on multiple elements:

  1. The number of photographers covering your event—one or two.
  2. How many hours the photographer(s) will be covering your event: Is it from the time you start getting dressed in the morning until the party is swinging on the dance floor or some shorter timeframe?
  3. How the photos are being edited. Is the photographer editing the photos or are they being sent out?
  4. What the photographer provides after the event: Is it a flash drive, one album, or ala carte services?
  5. The creativity and technical expertise of the photographer.

Items one and two are easily quantifiable, not so much with items three, four, and five.

Talent is the most important differentiator between photographers. In the last fifteen years with the rise of digital cameras and software to edit pictures, the number of wedding photographers grew tremendously. Almost anyone could become a part time wedding photographer. The industry went into a tizzy.  Talented photographers were being undercut by the novices and there wasn’t much they could do without sounding resentful.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of really talented newcomers entering the field that offer lower pricing to build a business.  We have all done that.  What I saw, was a lot of not so talented or experienced people who don’t understand lighting and composition taking some bad pictures. By the way, there are no do overs over your wedding photos.

The good news, is that it is so easy to view a photographer’s work.  They all have websites with lots of pictures.  Check out their social media platforms.  Ask to see an album.

To understand the value of the proposal consider:

  • Is an engagement session included? An engagement session is not just about capturing your engagement.  It offers the photographer the opportunity to develop a relationship with you.  The more comfortable you are with the photographer on the day of your wedding the more natural you will look in your photos.

 

  • There is a big difference in quality between the companies producing your albums.

 

  • Ask about the experience and training of the photographer. Ask about the experience of the second shooter.   How many years have they been in the industry?  What is their training and prior work experience?

 

  • Ask yourself, is this photographer going to enhance your day, or just take pictures? A great photographer, because their ‘eye’ is omniscient, can assist in making the day run smoothly.  They can see things before they happen.  They calm nerves.  They assist the other vendors.

 

  • Lastly, is the photographer easy to be around? After all, it is easier to smile at the camera if you like the person behind the lens.

 

This link will take you to an article about selecting photographers.  https://www.theknot.com/content/wedding-photography-getting-started

 

For budgeting purposes you can obtain two photographers for six hours for about $4,300.  The range for a more experienced photographer with tremendous talent and breadth in their portfolio is $5,000-$7,000.

 

 

Part 3:  The Rest of Your Day

 

If you think your budgeting is complete, don’t forget that before you walk down the aisle you will have sent out invitations, obtained your marriage license [$50.] You will have purchased wedding rings, gifts for your attendants and a gift for your beloved.  You will have had your hair done and make up professionally applied.   [$350].  Of course let’s not forget your favorite purchases: your wedding, dress, wedding shoes, jewelry, and veil/tiara.  [I am not even going there!] Don’t forget the groom if you are sharing this budget!

Embellishing your wedding will be a guest book, place cards, toasting flutes, cake cutting service.  You may have opted for:

  • Horse Drawn Carriage Entrance $1,000
  • Live ceremony/cocktail musicians $550 for two  [May have a deduct from the DJ]
  • Photobooth $800-$1,000
  • Videographer
  • Fireworks $3,500-$5,000
  • Tent                                                                 $4,000 [Includes liner and sides]

 

The Knot recently provided an informative graphic as a visual for the cost of weddings across North America.  You can check out the full article here.

 

 

I hope this post has helped. It is only met to be a guideline for creating a budget. I am sure that there are vendor professionals who may cost less than I indicated.   I always tell brides and grooms to focus on the things that are the most important to them.  The most important aspect about hosting a wedding is not about how much money is spent, but how the love that is shared between two people is conveyed to their families and friends.  Have fun planning and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

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True Love: Anthea and Michael September 12, 2014

Romance. I think I took this job because at heart, I am a romantic, certainly as much of a romantic as an event planner. I love asking people how they met, or how they got engaged. I love showing the Mansion to couples who are holding hands, and I love watching a bride and groom on their wedding day when they fall even more madly in love with each other. Giddy almost. This wedding reception was last year on September 12th, just after Anthea and Michael had returned from their honeymoon. They are one of the happiest couples I have ever met.

 

I took the first call from Michael when he was inquiring about the Mansion. When Michael and Anthea came to the Mansion, Anthea fell in love with it, and it was clear that Michael would do anything to make Anthea happy. Their first visit was on June 16th and they immediately booked. They had no time to waste as their ceremony was on August 29th, and between the ceremony and the reception, they went to Hawaii on a honeymoon.

 

Anthea and Michael arrived by a horse drawn carriage provided by Allegra Farms. Just under 140 helped celebrate this special occasion. Anthea and Michael selected Coastal Gourmet of Mystic as their caterer. Mystic Market, an affiliate of Coastal Gourmet, provided the cake. Powerstation Events, a full service event planning company, provided the photographer, videographer, and music. The flowers were arranged by McInerney’s of Middletown. Nothing could outshine the love between Michael and Anthea, not even the fireworks provided by Bluesky Fireworks!

 

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Megan and Andrew’s Wedding

Love was in the air for the wedding of Megan and Andrew on May 13. The cherry blossoms were in full bloom, and spring was in the air. It was such a beautiful day, and it was only made better with the love they had for one another. Megan and Andrew’s wedding was a celebration filled with family and friends.

 

Congratulations to Megan and Andrew! The following pictures are just a sample of their wedding. To see more, go to Sebastian Photography.

 

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Featured Wedding – Jenn and Bryce 7/19/14

On this dreary day, we thought it’d be nice to inject a little sunlight into your afternoon by revisiting a beautiful Spring wedding this past year.  Jenn and Bryce were highschool sweethearts and were so excited to start their lives together.  It was a beautiful day in July when Jenn and Bryce’s family gathered to celebrate their “I Do’s”.  Jen got ready at her mothers house and arrived at the mansion for their ceremony on the vista.  We loved that they included their dog into the photos (we here at the mansion are big dog fans) and even appointed a “dog sitter” who took care of its transportation and care during the wedding.  Jenns color palette of coral and gray beautifully complemented the lush greens of the mansion in July.  We are glad the day was beautifully captured by Perceptions Photography for you all to see!  Enjoy a little peek into a day of laughter, joy, family and friends, and happily ever after!

 

 

Photos – Perceptions Photography

Florist – Green Dahlia  

Music/DJ – Entertainment Unlimited

Photobooth – Photobooth Planet

Catering – CT Wedding Group

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Featured Wedding: Lisa and Kevin 8/23/14

Lisa and Kevin had a beautiful and incredibly fun wedding at the mansion in late August.  They were very meticulous in their planning and it really paid off as every detail from the three decorated cakes, to the tennis pavilion where they transformed their ceremony space with a curtain of hanging flowers and crystals (designed by the talented Sharon Elizabeth Florist), to the tent that was beautifully strung with lights.  It was just stunning!  Lisa and Kevin were such a unified couple when planning their wedding; they worked together to create a celebration that perfectly reflected who they were.  The entire day was beautifully captured by Kris Rae Photography and we particularly liked how he captured Lisa and Kevins “first look” in the trees on the east side of the vista.  Take a look at the photos to see what we mean 🙂

On another note, Lisa had the most adorable ring bearer who not only shined throughout the day with the biggest smiles but kept up with the grown-ups with his dance moves!  He was so much fun, that we had to include a few photos of him as well.

Congratulations to the happy couple and thank you for hosting your wedding with us!  We were honored to be part of your special day!

Photographer: Kris Rae Photography

Florist: Sharon Elizabeth 

Caterer: Gourmet Galley

DJ and Production: Powerstation

Cake: Erica Obrien

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Featured Wedding: Dana and Anthony 7/27/14

Dana and Anthony exchanged vows in our Tennis Pavilion on a beautiful Sunday in late July.  It was a wonderful, colorful wedding celebrated by a fantastic group of family and friends.  We loved the vibrant colors Dana chose that really showcased how the neutral white of the mansion and the lush greens of our sprawling vista compliments whatever color palate a bride selects.  Congratulations to Dana and Anthony on the beginning of a beautiful life together!  Thank you for sharing your special day with us.  We wish you all the best.

 


 

  • Photography: Jennifer Higham Photography
  • Caterer: Aquaturf
  • Cake: J Cakes
  • Flowers: Jacob Moss Designs
  • DJ: Local Motion
  • Ceremony Music: Wildwind Group
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Featured Wedding: Linnea and Joey 6/21/14

Linnea and Joey were married at the mansion on a lovely June day.  Everything from the beautiful color palette of powder blue bridesmaid dresses, to the quiet hues of white, peach, and blush was planned impeccably by Linnea and her planner Lindsay at Sixpence for Your Shoe.  Their day was filled with love, laughter, and surrounded by their friends and family, they exchanged vows on the vista and then danced the night away in a Sperry Tent on the terrace.  Everything was captured beautifully by Michelle Gardella Photography and it was just too pretty not to share with you all!  Congratulations to Linnea and Joey!  Thank you for sharing your special day with us!

 

Vendor Credits:

Photography – Michelle Gardella Photography

Catering – Coastal Gourmet

Planner – Sixpence for Your Shoe

Music – Elegance Occasions

Flowers – Hana Florists

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Music at the Mansion

Music at the Mansion

Looking for something to do on Wednesdays in July? Come join us for our live music series that starts next week! Pack a picnic basket and bring your friends. It’s a great way to spend a summer evening!

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Featured Wedding – Melissa and Joe 9/13/13

Melissa and Joe were married on a Friday and yes, it was the thirteenth but there was nothing jinxed about this wedding.  It was simply gorgeous!  The weather was perfect, the decor was simply elegant and complementary to a mansion wedding, and the couple, well… they brought with them such joy and love that it was impossible for those in attendance not to get caught up in it.  The photos of this wedding, taken by VO Photographers, are some of our favorites and it was so hard to narrow down the selection for this post.  You know the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is so true for this wedding, this couple, and the beautiful day they shared with their family and friends.

Congratulations to the happy couple!

Photography – VO Photographers

Catering – Grand Gourmet

Florist – Marie Chomicz

Music/DJ – A&B Entertainment

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Featured Wedding: Jason and Nancy 6/1/13

Jason and Nancy 6/1/13

 

Thinking back on Nancy and Jasons wedding, its hard not to smile and get all warm and fuzzy.  There was just so much LOVE on that beautiful June day – and there was so much to love.   First, Nancy and Jason were just about the happiest couple ever.  Everything about this wedding, from the exuberant energy of the bride, groom, and guests, to the brilliant colors Nancy used in her decor, made this one to remember.  Nancy thoughtfully included touches of her heritage from Ghana with the beautiful bridesmaid dresses and many of the guests arrived in traditional Ghanaian dress.  Do you want to see a colorful spring wedding at the Wadsworth Mansion?  This one takes the cake.  Beautifully photographed by Joshua Dwain Photography, coordinated by Galas Inc., and catered by Gourmet Galley, the pictures really say it all.

Congratulations to Nancy and Jason!  It was a pleasure hosting your wedding at the mansion and we wish you all the best!

Caterer: Gourmet Galley Catering

Coordinator: Galas Inc

Florist: Bride and Blossoms

Photography: Joshua Dwain Photography

DJ/Lighting: Premier Music Entertainment

Cake: J Cakes

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