The Dreaded Wedding Budget... tips to making the right budget for your wedding, and sticking to it.
For most couples, planning a wedding is the first and sometimes only time you will be planning an event that requires a budget. Many brides envision their dream wedding from the time they are little girls, however seeing the prices on paper can sometimes send you into sticker shock. I experienced this phenomenon when planning my own wedding. I planned for a certain budget, but quickly saw it double over night. This wasn’t because we opted for extravagant extras; it was because we imagined that items were cheaper than they were in reality. For example, we thought that chair rentals would cost $1 each, when in fact they were $2. Or we didn’t factor in service fees, transportation, bridal party gifts etc… There are a lot of small items, that when added up can equal a few thousand dollars. You may end up seeing your budget rise if you don’t have a clear one to begin with. Here are some of my ideas on how to make your budget work for you.
Step 1: What kind of wedding do you want?
Do you want to elope in the courthouse with just you and your fiancé? Do you want to have a casual morning wedding followed by brunch, or do you want an elegant evening wedding with cocktail hour, dinner and dancing with all of your family and friends? The style of wedding can have a huge impact on how much your budget will be. The bigger the party = the more money you will have to spend.
Step 2: Who’s Paying?
Do you have help from parents, relatives etc. or are you and your finace footing the entire bill? This is extremely important when planning your budget. Make sure to factor in the amount of help as well as what you can afford yourselves.
HINT: if your family can’t help monetarily, they may be willing to help in other ways like provided transportation, crafts or errands. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Step 3: Make Room for what really matters.
Many times there are aspects of your wedding that you can’t live without, but there are others that you don’t mind giving up. You may want a certain venue, signature drink or your dream dress, but you can live without a 3-tier cake. Make a list of all your must haves. This might help you figure out what you can live without.
Step 4: Revise, Revise, Revise
Don’t just stop at your first draft. Look it over several times and make sure to add and subtract items as you go. This is a great way to cross items off of your list and/or add them. Your wedding is a work in progress; don’t be afraid if things change. I suggest doing this at least every month, if you are always up to date with your plan, there will be less stress later on.
Just remember, everybody gets organized in different ways, some use calendars, some use spread sheets, some use good old-fashioned pen and paper. Do what works best for you, so that you stick to your budget.