You’re engaged now it’s time to create your budget! How do you determine your budget? How do you ask family if they are willing to contribute? Once you know your budget, how do you allocate the funds?
Many couples come to us shortly after getting engaged. They are ready to spend, book and create their “dream” wedding. One of the first questions we will ask is “what is your budget?” The typical response is “We’re not sure yet.”
Establishing a budget is extremely important. We feel the conversation around your budget needs to happen before anything else is done. This way you know how and where to allocate your funds accordingly.
If you’re a couple that might have parents assisting with your wedding budget, it is important to have the budget conversations sooner rather than later. So how do you have that conversation? Be prepared!
Your parents love you, but you should always ask if they they are willing and able to contribute to the wedding. Don’t automatically assume that they can. It’s also a good idea for each of you to meet with your parents privately to broach the budget subject before meeting with them as a couple. Money and finances are a sensitive subject for most, by talking with each set of parents privately and separately it makes the conversation a little easier.
Let’s be honest, you know the first thing out of your mom or dad’s mouth will be, “well how much are you thinking?” Don’t look at them without a clue, you need to be prepared and ready to have an educated budget conversation. Before speaking with your family make sure to research venues, think about your key vendors that are a must for your special day and most importantly think about the overall feel of your wedding. If you can have those items with you when speaking to your family it will not only show your preparedness but also you are taking this conversation seriously.
Once your budget is established, begin to allocate it to the various elements of your wedding accordingly. The graphic to the left gives you a starting point of how those elements can be divided. There are a LOT of different takes on the amounts and the categories, so use this as an initial guide but adjust as you deem necessary based on your preferences.
Something like Wedding Wire’s step-by-step budget tool is a great way to get started with your budget. It can help you track your spending so you stay on top of your budget while also reminding you when payments are due to your vendors. It also lets you customize the categories and percentages to meet your needs. Keep in mind, it is always good to prioritize what items are the most important to you as a couple. Is having an elaborate 6-tier cake with hundreds of hand-made sugar flowers the most important thing or have you always wanted a videographer to document your special day? This will help with the creation of your budget. You will also need to know your area and the cost of vendors. If you are from Ohio but getting married in Chicago, there can be substantial differences in the costs involved with a wedding. Be sure to research your wedding professionals so you have an idea of the range certain items will cost you. You might be surprised how costs differ from state to state.
Lastly think of your guest list. This number can greatly impact your overall budget (the more guests you have, the more tables/chairs you need, the more linens and centerpieces you need, and the more meals you need). If you are wanting a large wedding and food is a priority for you, know that most of your budget will go towards feeding your guests. If you want a smaller more intimate guest count, your food budget might not be as large. However, a lot depends on the food and beverages selected. Other items to consider are:
- the style of the reception (dinner vs. cocktail reception)
- the style of the meal (buffet vs. plate)
- the type of meal options you provide to guests
- the number of options you provide to them
- alcohol (beer and wine vs. open bar vs. signature drink vs. no alcohol)
- dessert (wedding cake vs. multiple dessert options)
- cocktail hour (with or without alcohol or do you by-pass this completely)
- time of day (a brunch/lunch reception may be less expensive than a traditional dinner)
Wedding budgets are difficult. We see many couples struggle with making their dream wedding come true with a smaller budget than they would like to have. Think within your means. Get creative! Take the pictures you see on Pinterest with a grain of salt (or at least understand the true costs involved in getting some of those looks). Weddings aren’t worth going deep into credit card debt. As a newlywed, you don’t want to start off your marriage with a ton of financial problems. Spend within your means and don’t forget the reason for the wedding. Today in the world of weddings, couples can get hung up on the extravagant themes and the thought of trying to out-do their friends. All of these can take the focus away from the reason you are there…to celebrate two people who fell in love. Enjoy your day and be sure to take it all in, it will go by way too fast!