Getting engaged and planning a wedding is something most people look forward to their whole lives. You finally find the man or woman that makes you feel like no one else does and you are lucky enough that they feel the same about you! Once they propose you are over the moon and can’t wait to start planning your wedding so you can start your lives together as a married couple!
It’s all fun and games until you are faced with the reality of creating a budget, and worse, sticking to that budget. We have found some tips and tricks on how to create your budget and plan a wedding that fits within that budget.
Creating a Budget:
The first step to budgeting your wedding is to sit down and crunch the numbers to actually determine how much you are willing and comfortable spending on your big day. This can include whatever you and your partner can contribute as well as what each of your parents are willing to contribute, if any.
This should be a realistic conversation as a couple and may be difficult as it is probably one of the first big conversations about money that the two of you will have. So work it out together and be patient because it is a difficult subject but with a positive attitude and realistic idea you can figure out how to compromise between the wedding you want with the wedding you can afford.
The two most important things to consider when determining your budget are first that you have a wedding that you will be able to enjoy that takes into account a few key things that are non-negotiable for you and your partner. We recommend each making a list of 3 things you really want at your wedding that you don’t really want to compromise on. Once you each have your 3 things, take each of your first choices and try and combine your last two to create a combined list of 3 things you must have at your wedding. Second, create a budget that won’t put too much added stress on you because then the planning process becomes stressful rather than fun and exciting. Your budget should be manageable to start so that if you do go over it won’t put you into a panic.
Managing your budget:
The budget is set (YAY!) but now comes the time where you have to plan your big day based on this. There’s no exact formula to figure out how much to spend on everything, there are too many variables to take into account. But we recommend creating an excel spreadsheet with every element you want at your wedding that will be an expense. Everything from venue and food to the smallest thing like your marriage license and favors. Put everything on this list, even the things you aren’t sure if you’ll be able to afford so that you can see where you are with your budget with everything then you can start eliminating the non-necessities from the list if need be.
You can also look up a budget planner which will give you lots of examples of a budget breakdown with percentages of what to spend your budget on. For example 50% on reception including venue, food, alcohol and service fees; 10 % on attire; 10% on decor; 10% on photography; 10% on music; and the other 10% split between the little things and smaller expenses like invites, favors, ceremony, rings etc… We definitely suggest using one of the many budget planners online, it will save you some stress and number crunching!
How To Save Money:
There are a million ways to save money for your wedding. Everything from DIY to a backyard reception, to getting friends and family to help out. Some of the easiest ways to save is to pick a venue that is low-cost or even free. Whether this means a backyard wedding or beach wedding there are so many unique options that can save you thousands! Ask around friends and family for suggestions and out of the box ideas. If this is one of your non-negotiables, there are plenty of other ways to save! If food isn’t overly important to you and your honey, have buffet style or even potluck!
Another easy way to cut costs is to have a smaller wedding. The more people you invite, the higher the food and alcohol cost. Some other options are to get help from friends or family with things like music, photography, the cake, DIY stuff etc… Hiring non-professionals could also save you a lot. College students or people just starting out are some great options. Go for DIY centerpieces rather than flowers. Some venues offer some great deals if you do an all in one package with food, drink and decor all provided which could save you a lot on rentals or catering. Hire a day-of coordinator rather than a full wedding planner. E-vites rather than sending invites by mail.
These are all pretty common sense but one option you may not have considered is to look at wedding dates. Getting married during a month outside of peak wedding season could save you a lot. Another option is to have your wedding on a Friday, Sunday or in the morning. Since these are less popular times they will be less expensive!
Remember It’s YOUR Wedding:
As we said before, spend the money and splurge on the things that are the most important to you and save on things less important to you. Decide as a couple. If you want a small wedding but your parents want to invite all their friends, politely explain that you want a small wedding and that will save you money that you could spend on the important things and if they want all those people there then they will need to contribute more because it doesn’t fit in your budget plan. Stand up for the wedding you want. Prioritizing is one of the most important parts of planning your budget.
Take a deep breath and relax because even though planning and budgeting a wedding is stressful, there are tons of tips and tools to help you figure out a way to create the perfect wedding to match your budget. Work together with your partner and just focus on what is most important to the two of you to create the special day you will remember for the rest of your lives.