It’s a necessary evil: your wedding budget. Most of our couples realize on some level they need to establish and stick to a budget, but very few like sweating the financial aspects of their wedding. We have found that setting a “wedding essentials” budget to be a smart way to start your budget and make sure you stay on track with your spending. In this post, we are offering a brief, but practical, guide keep things sailing smoothly toward your wedding day.
Take an Honest and Practical Look at Your Finances
Maybe your parents and other relatives have offered to help – so let’s start there. How much will they be able to contribute? If their contributions fall short of your dream wedding, you may have to adjust your expectations or make up the difference yourself.
On the other hand, if you and your fiancée are going it alone and handling most of the wedding expenses, the first step is to figure out how much you can each comfortably contribute to your wedding without breaking the bank (starting on your new life with boatloads of debt is not a good decision!). Money can be a touchy subject in any relationship, so being honest with yourself and your partner will not only squash confusion but also pave the road forward in how you handle finances in your marriage.
Be Selective with the Guest List
The next step is important – how many people are you inviting and how many do you expect to show up? Your guest list determines how much space you’ll need, the quantity of food the caterers must provide, and other critical budget decisions. And let’s face it – the more people you invite, the more money you will spend.
Open a Separate “Wedding” Bank Account to Accurately Track Spending
This is a no-brainer – once you have pooled your funds together for your wedding, deposit them into a bank account to be used only for wedding expenses.
Determine “Must Haves” and “Want to Haves”.
As you may have already noticed, some essential wedding items and services come with hefty prices. But determining your “musts” and “wants” ahead of time can make for a less stressful planning process.
Start by creating a list of wedding services that are important to you and then a separate list of those items you’ll not mind scaling back or eliminating. For example, you might want to hire a five-star but pricey wedding photographer, but then scale back the bar to wine and beer instead of an open bar. In the end, just make sure each move is something you can both agree on.
Pick a Financially Sound Wedding Essentials Date
There are times of the year that are more expensive for weddings, such as Labor Day weekend, Christmas, New Years Day, and Thanksgiving. Vendors and planners are also in high demand, so make sure you book as far in advance as possible. That being said, if you have some flexibility in your wedding date, you’ll find planners and vendors are open to negotiation.
Resist Your Urge to Splurge
It’s all too easy to throw a lot of money into a wedding – after all, this is the day you have been waiting for all your life, right? You want things to be oh-so perfect…but not at a bank-breaking price tag.
As we mentioned earlier, it’s always OK to splurge a little for “must have” big ticket items such as your photographer, floral designer, and food and beverage caterer. But always remember to use your best judgment – you may want to add a wow factor by selecting a high-end wine for the reception. The truth is your friends and family will be fine with less expensive beverage options; shop smart, and you’ll find most anything in your big day has less expensive counterparts.
We hope this post convinces you to create a wedding essentials budget. Being honest with yourself about what you can and can’t afford will help you communicate better with your partner and your vendors as you prepare for your Extraordinary Wedding.