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Figuring out your wedding budget is no easy feat. Your wedding will likely be the biggest (most bomb a**) party you’ve ever hosted — but also the priciest!

It’s hard work, I know! I have listened to many couples say how overwhelming it can be, but putting in the time and energy now ensures you’ll live happily ever after (wedding-debt free). Here’s exactly how to set a wedding budget you can stick to.

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Step 1: Count yo’ money

Are you and your fiance the ones paying for the WHOLE wedding of will family members or friends be helping you?  If someone is helping you then you need to get straight with them and just ask out right “how much are you willing to help”?  YOU NEED CLEAR ANSWERS!   After that figure out exactly how much you have saved, how much of this savings you want to spend on the wedding, and what you can (or are willing to) put on a credit
card?

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Step 2: Estimate Your Guest Count

Now that you’ve got a ballpark budget, you’ll want a ballpark guest count.
The cost of a wedding is pretty much based on guest count. (Read that sentence again and let it soak in.) The number of guests in attendance will determine not only the size of your venue, but also how much food and alcohol you’ll have to provide (which, by the way, just happen to be two of the biggest wedding expenses).
Looking at your wedding as a “per-person” expenditure will help put the costs into perspective. Your guest count will generate the number of items you’ll need to pay for—including invitations, table and chair rentals, cake slices, and wedding favors.

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Step 3: What is most important to you?

Figuring out where your money will be spent on your wedding day is a PRIORITY.  There are several things you have to think about so what is most important to you on your wedding day?  Is it your dress? Are you really detail oriented and want the decor / venue to be on point?  Should you hire a wedding planner so that all of the stress is taken off of you? These are things you NEED to think about.  Here is a list of expenses that are most common for weddings, and where the couples money usually goes:

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Venue, Catering, Cake, and Rentals: 50 % of total wedding budget

Photography and Videography: 20 % of total wedding budget

Wedding Attire, Hair, and Beauty: 8 % of total wedding budget

Flowers, Lighting, and Décor: 6 % of total wedding budget

Wedding Planner: 3 % of total wedding budget

Reception Music: 5 % of total wedding budget

Invitations and Stationery: 2 % of total wedding budget

Officiant and Ceremony Music: 2 % of total wedding budget

Wedding Rings: 2 % of total wedding budget

Favors and Gifts: 2 % of total wedding budget

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Step 4: Choose Your Non-Negotiables

You and your fiancé will probably have differing opinions as to which wedding items are worth splurging on. Maybe your fiancé wants an open bar, but you’d prefer to avoid getting your guests drunk in favor of spending the money on a 5-course gourmet meal.

In any case, you’ll each need to answer this question: What one wedding item is at the very top of your priority list?
Figure it out, yo—and then budget for those two items immediately. (Of course, if you have deeper pockets, you can each pick more than one.)

Once you decide your top priorities, you can allot a bigger percentage of your budget to them—which will also solidify how much you’ll have left for the other wedding items that aren’t so super important to you. 

Photography of course is key for A LOT of couples.  Wedding Photography is about unique moments, it’s about being able to relive the day through beautiful photos, this is smiling at moments you didn’t even know happened, seeing the excitement and emotion on the faces of the your family and friends, and, above all, having a story that you shall take with you forever…Those flowers are gone after one night, the invitations will get tossed by guests after a couple months, your dress will be worn once.   This isn’t me trying to be glum and miserable, this is about perspective, this is about helping you focus your budget on things that you may not put importance on, such as wedding photography.

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Step 5 Please Don’t Go Into Debt To Say “I Do”

Here Comes The Guide offers this Public Service Announcement: If you want a harmonious marriage (and who doesn’t?), don’t start out drowning in debt. Think beyond the “big day” to your “big life” and smarten up. We all know what the #1 cause of divorce is, right? Right….
If you can’t afford it, chances are you don’t need it. And trust me when I say, you can totally have a champagne wedding on a beer budget. You just need to get a bit creative and focus on the feeling of the event rather than the price tag.

• Sensible Spending Tip 1: Start putting aside some savings as soon as you get engaged.

• Sensible Spending Tip 2: Use your credit cards responsibly. It’s tempting to rack up credit card points during wedding planning, but try to pay off the balance immediately so that you don’t accrue interest!

• Sensible Spending Tip 3: Open up a separate wedding checking account so it’s easy to see exactly where the money is going.

And, again, remember that it’s not about how much money you spend, it’s how much joy you feel: At the end of the day, even if you get married for $50 at City Hall in a simple white dress (or suit!), we bet our bottom dollar it will be an incredibly beautiful and meaningful wedding.
Plus, you’ll be able to afford that cab ride home. Win-win!

SOME OF MY CLIENT’S

Kind Words

Can we give more than 5 stars?! Jessica is absolutely amazing and everything you deserve in a photographer on your big day. From start to finish, she was everything we dreamed and more. She has a magical personality and the ability to make every person feel comfortable in front of the camera. By the end of the night it felt like she had been in our friends group for years and captured every moment perfectly. Highly recommend!
- Tiffany + Brandon
Hands down, Jessica is the best photographer around!  I cannot tell you how happy I am that I chose her and how grateful I am that she was able to so beautifully capture the best day of my life. I was very particular when choosing a photographer and chose Jessica based on her talent and her creative ability to think outside the box. I completely trusted her vision so when she suggested we hike to a waterfall in freezing temperatures in January, I agreed and it paid off big time. I ended up with an indescribably gorgeous bridal portrait that looks like it belongs in a magazine. My wedding pictures turned out just as stunning. She made my husband and I feel at ease, which translated into pictures that are truly representative of the love and excitement we felt on our wedding day. A bonus is that Jessica has a great personality and offers a calming presence, which is priceless among the hustle and bustle of a hectic wedding day. I couldn’t be happier with my experience with Jessica and I will continue recommending her to my family and friends!
- Brittany + Michael
Where do I start?? Are you looking for someone who's fun, innovative, and creative? Look no further! Jessica is an absolute pleasure to work with! She shot our engagement, my bridal portraits, and wedding day. Working with her was a breeze! She makes you feel so comfortable during your photo sessions. I cannot stress enough how important a good photographer is. Thanks to Jessica we were able to capture the best memories from the BEST day ever!
- Elizabeth + Manny
If you want the heart of a memory or event remembered, Jessica is the right photographer for you. My wife and I were married 10/14/18, and the first person that popped into my head for a photographer was Jessica. I have worked with her numerous times for other photo shoots and she has the essence to capture beauty in every shot. Looking through her other photos that she posts to social media always sparks creativity and awe. I will continue to always recommend her and Jessica for any special moment to be captured.
- Whitney + Sarah
You should stop looking and book Jessica! Booking her for our wedding was the best decision we made. Her charismatic, fun, and down to earth personality made it easy for my husband and I to feel comfortable in front of the camera. On our wedding day, Jessica was extremely professional but also so personable I felt like she knew exactly what to do to capture the very best photos. Jessica is extremely talented and gets your photos back in a timely manner. I would recommend her to anyone. It was an amazing experience to have her a part of our day.
- Alyse + Spencer
Jessica was the second best thing to happen at my wedding... behind marrying my husband of course ;) I was so stressed because my venue flooded and it was raining all week but she not only agreed to switch locations, she made all the stress go away. I'm still obsessed with our photos! 1000000% worth it. I wish she lived in Texas because I want more photos!!
- Alicia + Jordan
Jessica is one of the best photographers I have ever met. Looking through our photos, there was not one single photo I'm not in love with. My husband and I can be pretty awkward but the way Jessica captured us was awe inspiring. Our wedding album brought tears to our eyes. There wasn't a single detail or emotion missed. Jessica has a talent like no other to capture a mood. While the photos are beautiful works of art, what I love most is that you can see the deep love shared is them. Choosing Jessica will be the best, easiest decision in your process.
- Courtney + Josh
My husband and I wanted a photographer who would help us feel comfortable in front of the camera, and we certainly found it with Jessica. Throughout our engagement shoot and post wedding shoot, she helped guide us so that all of our pictures look natural and match our personality. She has such an amazing ability to capture the beauty of the surroundings as well. Our photos are the talk of the town, and I can't even count how many people called her and used her after seeing our epic pictures. I can't say enough about her and her work. She is just absolutely incredible
- Alexis & Collin
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