If you are one of the lucky ladies to get engaged recently, I’m sure you’re soaring on cloud 9 – and you certainly should be. But, I’m sure you’re also excited and ready to begin diving into the planning process, right?
You’ve started searching Pinterest, reading wedding blogs (isn’t ELD the BEST?!?!), seeking advice from family and friends, and loving that you now get to call your honey, Fiancé! Relish in this moment, it’s such a fun time. But before you get up to your eyeballs in pretty, sparkly details we need to discuss something. Yep… it’s coming. Ugh. The dreaded “B” word.
It sounds terrible, right? I totally agree; but it’s one of the biggest components to the wedding planning process… and for very obvious reasons, it is also one of the most important! Not to mention that it can be one of the biggest points of contention between couples and their families. So to start you off in the right direction, I’m sharing a couple tips for creating a wedding budget that helped me with my own wedding and the weddings that I plan too! Hopefully when you’re discussing the money aspects of your wedding day, you’ll be armed and ready to tackle this tough topic!
First things first, you need to have a clear picture of who’s contributing and what is being contributed. I know, not the easiest topic to approach with your parents, but try to just open up the dialogue. Do you and your fiancé (see, so fun to say!) have any money saved to contribute? Honestly, before you get into planning anything wedding day related, you need to know what your spending limitations and total limit are. Everything is dependent on this number, so take the time to get it defined. Plus, no one wants to be fighting, arguing, upset or devastated that you can’t afford something after you’ve started booking (or dreaming about) your wedding details. Money can be a tricky topic, but if you deal with it upfront and honestly, it will save you and your family the headache!
Pick What’s Important.
Once you’ve gotten the money tallied and a total amount, sit down with your Fiance and discuss what is most important to you both. I have my couples write down the 3 most important things to each other them and then share them to come up with their compromised top 3 list. It could be a certain photographer that you’re in love with, having an open bar, awesome food, hiring a band for your reception, a venue location, or flowers. Doesn’t matter; but what does matter is that it will help define your priorities and give you a benchmark on where to invest most of your budget. There are tons of self-help typical budget sheets out there with pre-determined percentages that you should spend where, which is great. But not everyone is the same. So maybe the most important thing at your wedding is to hire this amazing band, but you aren’t worried about having flowers at your reception, perfect. Rearrange your budget for what best meets your wants and wishes.
If you’re an avid reader of ELD, you know how important this single aspect- the guest count- is. Time and time again I find myself explaining to my couples that the BIGGEST budget determinant is your guest list. With every guest you add, it exponentially grows the cost of your wedding. I recently wrote a post about tackling your guest list and some of the factors that go into creating it (like if your parents are contributing to your budget, etc.) will need to be considered if you’re trying to limit your guest list. Overall though, just be aware of what your expectations are as your guest list grows – the more people you invite, the more money you have to spend!
Hire a Planner.
Duh, of course I’d say that being a planner… but I also have good reason to say this too! Planners are well versed in working with wedding budgets and are a great resource when it comes to making sure things seem reasonable or accurate. Not to mention we are well connected with quality vendors who work within many price ranges and we will have great suggestions to keep you within your budget. It’s no lie that a planner can not only can save you time, but also money!
Stick to the Budget.
It seems simple enough, but I promise you- once you get into planning and making financial decisions, there will be moments that you will need to compromise on something. It’s important to keep yourself in check when you’re signing the dotted line, or else you’ll get wildly above and beyond where you wanted to be. Be mindful and keep an eye on the end result. While weddings are beautiful and the possibilities are endless, there is absolutely no reason to go into debt because you didn’t stick to your budget. Stick to it- you set a budget for a reason! Remember that.
And if you don’t have any extreme budget constraints, I still highly suggest putting some sort of cap on your expenditures. Reason being, it will help keep your spending within reason (whatever that may be) and give you a target to aim toward.
I know, all of this budget stuff can sometimes be way easier said that done. But as a recent bride and a wedding planner, I believe that following these guidelines will make the entire process much more manageable, as well as prevent any unnecessary drama. Think of a wedding budget as a rule book- if you have the rules up front, they’re harder to break. Now go forth and plan that budget so you can get going on the rest of your planning!
Do you have any questions about creating a wedding budget? What has your experience with creating your budget been thus far?