Let’s face it, no one likes talking about money but when you’re planning a wedding it is a MUST do. How can you plan a wedding if you don’t know how much wedding you can afford or how much wedding you’re willing to pay for? Here are a few tips and advice on how to set your wedding budget.
Be honest about how much you can realistically spend.
If you set a budget of $15,000 and you want to be married in 15 months, can you realistically save $1,000 a month? Probably not. You need to determine what is most important to you; getting married within your time frame or having the weddings of your dreams. You may need to postpone your wedding to have more time to save.
Find out if anyone else is willing to contribute.
No one likes asking for help but, chances are yours and your partner’s parents and grandparents are willing to contribute. This is the time to ask. You need to know who is going to contribute, how much or what element(s) of the wedding they are willing to pay for. Whatever it is, it needs to be worked into the budget.
Estimate the number of guests you’re going to have.
Essentially, the more guests you have, the more your wedding is going to cost. Catering, stationary, favors, rentals, and the venue (just to name a few) are all determined by the number of guests you have. Aside from eliminating or changing elements all together, limiting the number of guests you have, is a way to control the largest part of your budget. NOW is the time to begin compiling a guest list.
Are you going to pay for bridal party attire or travel for anyone?
It’s not customary for a couple to pay for any expenses related to anyone to attend their wedding. However, some do or they may split the cost, if they can. For example: for a wedding party member who lives out of town the couple may choose to pay for the attire or the travel expenses. Now is the time to determine whether you will be covering any expenses for your wedding party or any out of town guests so that you can work those expenses into the budget as well.
Choose the top three elements that are most important to you.
Each of you take the time to write down the top three elements that are most important to you. Don’t share what they are until both of you have picked your top three. NO cheating! Compare them to see how close or far apart you are. Discuss each element and why it’s important to you. Together, decide what the top three elements are. This is where you will allocate most of the budget.
Once you have chosen your top three elements, create a spreadsheet to keep you on track.
You can use the following percentages to estimate the various elements to get you started.
Ceremony 3-5%; Floral Decor (including bouquets & boutonnieres) 8-10%; Reception 45-50%; Apparel & Accessories 8-10%; Stationery 2-3%; Photography 10-12%; Rehearsal Dinner 5-10%; Honeymoon 10-14%; Miscellaneous 3-5%
Remember that your wedding budget and the amounts you set in each category aren’t firm and to review your wedding budget often and update is as soon as possible. During the chaos of planning, it’s easy to forget.