Thursday, August 26, 2010

FLOP: Wedding Items Traditionally Paid for by the Chosson / Groom’s Side

Coming from a kallah that planned her wedding while watching the stocks plummet during to the 2009 recession, establishing a wedding budget and knowing who pays for what is key in turning your “dream” wedding into a financially realistic one. Of course, this may not apply to the younger chosson and kallah that have their parents working out the finances themselves (and all of the other wedding planning decisions for that matter). It also may not apply to those of you who are independently wealthy and / or have that “wealthy” Aunt willing to fork over the green. I am really speaking to the brides’ and their grooms that are making the wedding decisions with the assumption that both parents’ sides are contributing at least some amount of money to help pay for the wedding. In the Orthodox Jewish world, a tradition known as “FLOP” is (thankfully) one way of dictating how much the groom’ side should pay. The kallah’s side is traditionally responsible for paying for the hall and caterer. So, what is FLOP and how do these costs translate into what the groom’s side will typically pay in wedding costs?


What is FLOP?
FLOP is an acronym used for listing out the financial responsibility for wedding items to be paid for by the groom’s side of the family. The acronym sometimes varies in interpretation but typically stands for F: Flowers, L: Liquor, O: Orchestra, P: Photographer

  • Variations to FLOP: The point of FLOP is to help determine the financial responsibility of the groom’s side. However, some of these terms can be loosely defined. For example:
    • Liquor: Of the 70+ venues that I researched, Liquor is typically included in the price of the Wedding Hall and / or Caterer costs and is, therefore, not always separated out in the billing statement. To avoid any misunderstanding when writing the final check, we chose to exclude this item from the groom’s responsibility. The groom’s parents ended up giving us extra money for our savings, which was a very nice gesture.
    • Orchestra: Orchestra can be loosely defined as any sort of costs associated with having Music at the wedding. It could be a Band, a DJ, a Pianist… you get the point.
Estimating how much the Groom’s Side should pay for the wedding
Prices for FLOP items can range tremendously based on quality, taste, style, size of the venue, etc. Further, there are ways to significantly reduce these costs (refer to my blog on reducing wedding costs). The following are cost estimates that are based on what was provided by the vendors that we contacted for an average size wedding (200ppl) in the Metro-NY area:

  • Flowers: For the Orthodox Jewish Wedding, we found that the Florist was typically used for setting up the Chuppah. Including the costs of a chuppah, prices ranged from $3,500 - $6,800 depending on the vendor.
  • Liquor: $7/pp (based on Caterer estimates when adding costs for liquor on top of the costs of food per person). This price can fluctuate based on whether you want Top Shelf alcohol, just wine and beer, etc. We had an in-house caterer and the liquor was included in the Per Person price of the venue.
  • Orchestra: We used a live band. Live bands vary in cost based on factors including the number of band members, the number of hours they are expected to play, and reputation. Prices ranged from $4,000 - $5,000 for 4 to 6 hours.
  • Photographer / Videographer: Prices for the photographer ranged from $3,000 to $7,000 based on the vendor and what was included in the package (i.e., photo albums, dvd’s, number of videos, etc).
Estimated Total Cost for Groom’s Side (using a size of 200 guests): roughly $16,000

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