Setting a wedding budget is the least exciting part of the wedding planning. Lets talk about the “M” word, and I don’t mean marriage; we’re talking about money! We know you’d rather dive into creating Pinterest boards, but assure you that the budget is the most important first step! It’s a daunting topic for many, but it can be a fun discussion also. This is where you both get to explore your vision. Discussing your budget will build the foundation for the rest of your planning process.
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 monetarily, or it could be work and time they’re willing to donate. With the average cost of a wedding at $29,000 for 2023, it never hurts to get some help if 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!
Start discussing your overall vision. This includes the location, types of venues you’d like, your catering style and menu, colors and aesthetics, and entertainment ideas. Get your wedding planning notebooks out and take lots of notes together! Discussing these topics will help you brainstorm, and help both 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 the menu, but have your heart set on an outdoor wedding under the stars! (yes, please!!) Your partner may not care about the flowers you pick for the arrangements, but insists on having the best DJ. These are great topics to discuss in the beginning to give you a great outline of your visions. Prioritizing your wants will help with setting a budget, as well.
Guest count is one of the most important parts of figuring a realistic budget! The number of guests 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 will also determine the cake size needed, the amount of chairs to rent, and how many invitations 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!
Here’s where “reality” sets in. You may have always dreamt of a formal dinner for 150 guests, but only have $10,000 to spend on dinner 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 this info for you with venue proposals. If you’re doing this alone, plan to set aside extra time for phone calls and sending emails to various vendors. We will touch on why having a planner pays for itself momentarily!
While reseaching, you’ll start finding that there are more areas to account for in the budget than 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 the venue you like is not within 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 give you an accurate estimate of costs, and if you can get what you’d like.
Now that you’ve reached step 5, it’s time to decide if your estimated budget matches what the actual costs are! Here is your chance to re-evaluate your budget. Maybe you can spend more than you thought, or maybe you need to change things to stay within 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 breakdown of cost for each vendor. It 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! We can track your budget for you, and can offer you many ways to cut 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. We will help you get started!