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.
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
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.
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: -
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
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.
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!