Lets talk about the “M” word, and I don’t mean Marriage…..we’re talking Money!! It’s a daunting topic for many, and we know you’d much rather dive right into creating your Pinterest boards; but we assure you that the “money talk” is the MOST important first step! It can be a fun discussion, because this is where you both get to explore your vision. Discussing your budget will build the foundation for the rest of your planning process……like NIKE, just do it!!
Step 1: Discuss who plans to contribute, and in what areas.
Now days, most couples are paying for the majority of the wedding themselves; however, you may have parents or family members that insist on contributing in certain areas. This could be just a dollar amount, or it could be particular areas of the wedding they’re willing to help with. With the average cost of a wedding in the US coming in around $33,000 , it never hurts to get some help if it’s offered!
Now is a good time to discuss these things!
Then you’ll want to figure out the amount of your own contributions.
Add these all together, and voila….you have an approximate budget!
Step 2: Discuss your wedding style.
Start discussing your wedding style: the location, the types of venues you’d like, your catering style and menu, decor visions, and entertainment ideas. Get your wedding planning notebooks out and take lots of notes together! *You can get the cutest planners from Purple Trail ! Discussing these topics will get you rolling on your ideas, and also help the two of you to come together on your ideas.
Both of you should make a list of your top 3 priorities separately, then come together and display them to each other.Decide what both of your non-negotiables will be. You may be flexible on whether you do a buffet style meal versus a plated meal, but you have your heart set on an outdoor, garden venue at night, under the stars! (yes, please!!) Your significant other may not care about the types of floral you pick for the arrangements, but he/she insists on having the best DJ. These are great topics to discuss in the beginning to give you a solid outline of your visions.
Step 3: Estimate your guest count.
This is the one of the most important parts of figuring a realistic budget! This number will determine the size of venue needed, and how much food/alcohol you’ll need to provide….these are two of the biggest wedding expenses! This approximation will also determine the cake size needed, the amount of chairs you may need to rent, and the number of invitations you’ll need to order.
Tip: if you need to trim down on wedding costs, start by eliminating your guest count! Keep it open to only close family and friends. This is a way to eliminate co-workers, plus ones’, or second cousins, if you wish!
Step 4: Start researching.
Here’s where “Reality” sets in. You may have always dreamt of having a formal, sit-down dinner with 150 guests, but you only have $5,000 to spend on food and drinks. This is the stage where you start finding out the “real” costs on things, versus what you “hope” to spend! If you have a wedding planner, he/she can start gathering all of this info for you and putting together proposals for you. If you’re doing this by yourself, plan to set aside lots of extra time to start making phone calls and sending emails to various vendors for this information (we’ll touch on why having a planner pays for itself momentarily!)
During the research phase, you’ll start finding that there are more areas to account for in the budget than perhaps you realized. Read more on “hidden costs” here! Now we can see why many budgets get blown…but you can plan ahead for these costs!
You’ll need to have a realistic idea on prices in the state/geographical area that you’ve chosen to get married in. You may find that the place you would like to get married is not within your budget, and you need to find an alternative. When the economy in certain locations is changing, this means pricing on products/services will do the same! Researching your geographical area will help you to find out how much you’ll need to pay, to get what you want!
Step 5: Time to do the math
Now that you’ve reached step 5, it’s time to decide if your estimated budget matches what the actual cost of the wedding will be! Here is your chance to re-evaluate your budget. Maybe you can spend more than you anticipated to make your ideal wedding happen, or maybe you need to change some of the style to better fit the budget. Once you get the numbers matched up pretty closely, you can create a spreadsheet to start tracking your real budget. Contact us for a copy of our free budget management sheet. This sheet provides a suggested percentage breakdown of cost for each vendor, and will help you visualize the areas that need to be adjusted in your budget!
We most definitely do not want you to start off your marriage on the wrong foot, by going into debt! It’s all about spending an amount that makes you and your spouse comfortable, and still happy!!
*Note: Hiring a wedding planner can save you a lot of time and money in the long run! He/she can track your budget for you, and can offer you many ways to stay on track by cutting costs! You may think you can’t afford a wedding planner, or maybe you just don’t see the value. However; a wedding planner can pretty much pay for itself with the time and money they’ll save you!
Need more help on taking the first steps to planning your wedding day? Fill out our Client Questionnaire , and we help you get started!
Do you struggle with knowing how to time your big day? This guide is my go to for planning weddings to make sure your day is executed to perfection.