Planning Your Wedding Budget Tips
Planning Your Wedding Budget Tips
The question has been popped, the ring is on your finger, and now it is time to plan your happily ever after.
Starting with the wedding, of course.
But as you flip through those bridal magazines, planning the day of your dreams, it is always smart to keep a budget in mind. Because even when the sky is the limit, you want to come into this with a game plan.
I remember planning my own wedding way-back (before I was a photographer) and we just pulled budget numbers out of the sky. When the number in our head was different than a quote from a professional we were sure they were overcharging. Little did I know I would end up in the industry and get to experience this budget-disconnect from couples over and over again. I compare it to buying a house; you find a house you like but you don’t know what it should cost. Instead of researching it’s market value you instead just decide the one you like must be about $400k… imagine the SHOCK when you find it is more than twice that amount. Do you stick to your guns and offer your original amount? Or do you revisit your finances and adjust your expectations? Get professional help from a realtor? Its all the same.
So before you start, sit down as a couple and figure out what kind of budget you are working with. This may also be the time to reach out to each of your parents and find out what they are able and willing to contribute. Figuring out the numbers is never fun, but it is necessary before you can start making any commitments or signing any contracts. After all, you don’t want to wind up in a position where you blow your entire budget in one area, and then have nothing left to spend on anything else.
Once you have your magic number, consider getting yourself a wedding planner. Remember, these people are experts, and they can help you to ensure you remain within your budget while still obtaining everything you need for the perfect day. Not all of us are mathematicians, and trying to figure out where you should and should not spend your money can be overwhelming. But with a good wedding planner by your side, figuring those calculations out and determining how to get the most bang for your buck can suddenly feel far less intimidating.
A good wedding planner is well worth the extra money you will spend on them at first, but then save in the end. (read why here)
If you decide to work it all out yourself, however, consider trying to stick to this formula:
- Venue (for both the wedding and reception): 30-35%
- Photography: 15-20%
- Food and liquor: 15%
- Flowers and décor: 10%
- Attire: 10%
- Entertainment: 10%
- Miscellaneous (invites and additional expenses): 5%
A lot of breakdowns will tell you to set 10 percent of your budget aside for photos, but after being involved in a lot of weddings over the years, I can tell you that it should be more like 15 to 20 percent. No, I am not just saying that because I am a photographer. I am saying it because this is the one and only tangible thing you will be able to take away from your wedding day – those photos will serve as your reminders of this day for the rest of your lives together. They matter, and the quality of your photography is important. So don’t skimp out here, because you will surely grow to regret it one day. You hardly ever hear people talking about the food or entertainment at their wedding years down the line, but you most certainly hear them talking about the photographs.
Once your budget is set, you can start visiting venues and interviewing vendors with a better idea of what you can afford. Remember, the goal is certainly to make this day special and memorable. But the best way to accomplish that task, without spending on the wrong priority, is to know what your limits are as you go into the planning stages.
Of course, if the perfect venue or dress comes along, and you simply can’t pass it up – despite how it may infringe upon your otherwise perfectly crafted budget – don’t stress. You can always change your priorities and give other items less weight in the planning.
And if you do take my advice and hire that wedding planner, they might just be the perfect person to help you figure it all out!