You’ve found the man, you have the ring and now you have a wedding to plan. While it’s easy to get carried away with all the excitement and emotions of your engagement, there’s one crucial step you need to take before setting even the smallest detail for your special day: The budget. Weddings tend to be expensive. But they don’t have to be!
Two important questions to ask yourself before you kick into planning overdrive include:
How much money do you have to spend?
Is anyone helping you to pay for the wedding and, if so, how much will they be contributing?
You’re not alone
Setting a budget for your wedding isn’t something you should do by yourself. Your finance needs to be involved with your planning efforts every step of the way and decisions should be made together. As you discuss your various wants and wishes, make sure to begin attaching numbers to each item on the list. Doing so will help you figure out which priorities are truly worth your hard-earned dollars.
Setting the numbers
Did you know the average wedding costs $15,000-$20,000? No matter the sum you’re working with, the following percentages offer a great starting point for your budgeting efforts:
- Venue and food: 50%
- Photography: 13%
- Music: 10%
- Dress/Tux: 10%
- Flowers: 7%
- Cake: 3%
- Invitations: 2%
- Transportation: 2%
- Miscellaneous: 3%
As you being to make decisions, keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to wedding planning. It doesn’t have to be just the dress that will be as unique as you are!
If you’re looking to trim the budget or are working with limited funds, why not try something other than the traditional dinner reception? What about a wedding breakfast or lunch? For your centerpieces, what about making them out of the actual favors attendees will take home with them?
When you’re shopping for that perfect dress, consider buying it during an off-season period or after the prior year’s inventory has been marked down. There’s no shame in purchasing a gorgeous dress at a fraction of the original cost!
There are hundreds of ways to reduce your costs and still have a personal, intimate wedding. Don’t sell yourself short by doing what you think you’re “supposed” to do—there are no rules when it comes to planning a wedding that fits your particular budget. And if you need an extra incentive to make (and stick to) a wedding budget, bear in mind that any money saved on the wedding festivities can be funneled towards your amazing honeymoon.
Less is more
As you choose the dress and sign the contracts for venues and cakes, remember that it’s absolutely not necessary to break the bank to have the wedding of your dreams. The importance of your big day should be rooted in the experiences and time with family rather than the bells & whistles.
After all, you’ll cherish the photos and memories far more than you’ll ever appreciate lingering debt incurred from not setting a realistic wedding budget.