Niagara Gazette

Niagara Living

August 8, 2008

THE WEDDING PLANNER: Everything but the "I do"

By Elizabeth Page

With the warm April sun streaming through the windows of St. Paul’s Church in Kenmore, all 165 pairs of eyes were fixed upon bride and groom Roseanna and Joseph Thomas to watch as the Philadelphian pair exchanged vows recently in their hometown.

Getting to that perfect moment was a journey in itself. Someone had to tend to all the little details, from the ceremony’s string trio to the white silk dress and the reception at the Buffalo Historical Society themed around vintage photographs.

In this case, that someone wasn’t the bride. It was the wedding planner.

“Everything was beyond the bride’s expectations,” said Tammy Lee-Papia, wedding coordinator and owner of Heavenlee Weddings in Lockport, which planned the Thomas wedding. “They went and had a great time, something they didn’t think they would be able to do. In her words, it was a fairy tale wedding come true.”

With so many details wrapped up in a wedding, it’s enough to turn engagement bliss into wedding stress faster than the bride can throw the bouquet.

So where is a girl to begin?

Plan a budget

“The No. 1 thing is to sit down and plan that budget before you do anything,” Lee-Papia said. “You have to know what you have to work with.”

First, take a close look at all means of available means of financing. Calculate what monies come from the future bride, groom, families and from any savings, and avoid taking out loans to finance a wedding.

After money has been squared away, break down the wedding itself. Plan on how many people are on the guest list, keeping in mind that the reception alone makes up 47 to 50 percent of the total cost. Also factor in other top items such as the dress (8 percent to 10 percent), the flowers (6 percent to 8 percent), and miscellaneous items (6 percent to 7 percent).

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