Where Do We Start?
Create Your Wedding Budget
One of the most common statements I hear (often with a little frustration!), is “We don’t know where to start with planning the wedding.” I have good news for you! There are practical steps that will lead you from that overwhelmed place to laying the foundation for a successful wedding planning experience. Today the very important first step that we’ll be talking about is budget. Once you have the ring on your finger, the very first item that I recommend on your to-do list in wedding planning is to determine the total dollar amount you want to spend. Next, calculate the amount that you personally will be able to budget towards the wedding. If you have family members that have offered to contribute, add their amounts to this number. If your ideal budget is above the actual money that you have on hand, your next step is to either create a plan to cover the shortfall (allow more time to save) or shift your priorities to meet the amount that you have on hand.
Wedding Budget Contributors
While we’re talking about others contributing to your budget, I highly recommend that their contribution is a specific monetary amount that they’re comfortable giving (such as $5,000) rather than them “sponsoring” a category of your wedding planning. The reason for this is to avoid a conflict over cost and vendor style in their chosen category. For example, if a family member offers to cover the cost of your wedding photography, they will want to be part of the selection process for your wedding photographer. They may not be prepared to spend the amount that you had budgeted for wedding photography or may simply want to have more control over the style of your wedding photographer.
Wedding Budget by Category
When you have your total budget number in hand, break that budget down by individual category. Once you do this, you’ll be able to see if your budget is workable, or if there are categories that need be a lower priority or cut completely. You can find out the industry average cost of wedding vendors in your area by working with a local wedding planner or by searching with tools like The Knot or Wedding Wire.
Ways to Save on Your Wedding
The number one (and most awkward) way to save in wedding planning is to trim your guest list. Most of your wedding costs are dependent on the number of guests that you have. Another way to save is to eliminate categories that aren’t as important to you. Although it may seem like a smart way to save, I don’t recommend hiring the cheapest vendors that you can find. Your vendors should be hired based on your confidence in their quality of service.