Today I wanted to write about something that could help our brides in the planning process. We see a lot of weddings around here and have seen brides with ALL different types of budgets. We all know that weddings can be expensive. But you can have a wedding that doesn’t break the bank. So, here are five things to consider when you are creating your wedding budget.

What do you want?

When thinking about your actual wedding, how does it look? A big church wedding? A mountain top elopement? A rustic barn venue? A courthouse ceremony? A destination wedding?

If you aren’t sure what you want, start by looking on Pinterest or looking up local venues online (they always have a plethora of photos to give you ideas). Write down the things you liked (and didn’t like). Think about the weddings you’ve been to or seen on social media. There will start to be a vibe that sticks out to you-this is the start of your wedding vision.

Shop around!

It’s hard to create a budget when you have no idea how much anything costs! For example, venues can range anywhere from $2,000-$10,000+! Wedding dresses are anywhere from $500 to $5,000. See what I’m getting at? With only two items we can have two totally different budgets of $2,500 or $15,000! Until you begin to price SPECIFIC things, it’s hard to get an idea of how to accurately build a budget. It’s also important to remember that you get what you pay for; so while it may be the ‘most affordable,’ are you happy with the quality of it?

It’s important to know what’s included, for example, one venue might offer tables and chairs included in their price, while another would require you to rent them, a caterer might include beverages in their food package or they may not. Also try to uncover any hidden costs. Some caterers include gratuity, some venues may charge cleaning fees or rental fees for tables/chairs.

What’s important to you

Now that you have an idea of what things cost, you can start to prioritize what matters most and allocate your money accordingly. The big ticket items that most people want are: the dress, a venue, food, photography, and flowers. So if you spend a little more on your flowers, you might have to take away some money from your food (or invite less people to reduce the food bill). It’s all a balancing game.

Here’s a soft estimate of what you can allocate to each vendor:

Venue: 40 %

Food: 25%

Photography: 10%

Flowers: 10%

Dress: 10%

Flex: 5%

Each bride will prioritize differently. These percentages will be based off of what is important to you!

Who’s paying

Everyone that will be involved in paying for the wedding needs to sit down and have a conversation about the budget. It’s important that everyone be on the same page and for everyone to know how much money is out there. If certain family members keep growing the guest list, you can always ask them to help pay for the food cost.

Make a plan…and stick to it!

Once you have set your budget (and everyone knows it), begin thinking about how much you need to save each month to pay for certain things. Ask your vendors if they will do a payment plan to help relieve the lump sum burden (this may also help narrow down the vendor list as not every vendor will accommodate this request).

Tips to save money:

-Have a smaller guest list. Each guest is an expense. Only invite your closest family and friends. Just the food costs for guests can range from $12 to $30 a person (excluding alcohol)

-Do a cash bar! Alcohol is a major expense and one way to relive that burden is by putting this expense on those that actually want to drink. It’s often not as many people as one might think.

-Call your invited guests if they have not RSVP’d in time. This way you can only pay for the guests that actually plan on coming. This step can save you hundreds on food costs.

We hope this helps you create your wedding day budget-or at least helps you get started! If you have any questions about this, feel free to shoot a message. We can get you in touch with a wedding planner or a day-of-coordinator to give you additional assistance.

-Chad and Lori