While spending your family’s entire fortune on gold-foil-wrapped gourmet cakes, designer wedding gowns and massive flower walls might sound utterly tempting when planning the wedding of your dreams, a quick reality check will surely alert you that you need to stay on a budget. From the venue to the dress and from the photographer to the cake, everything wedding-related can leave you thousands of dollars poorer, which is why it is more than crucial to learn a few tips on how to create (and stay on) a wedding budget. Check out our easy-to-follow guide featuring the main stages of tackling the Big Day finances.
Stage 1: Do Your Research
Before making your very first wedding-related purchase (that fairytale-worthy wedding dress might have to wait a little longer), you need to set a realistic budget goal for your wedding. And prior to deciding on the exact number, you need to do quite a bit of research in order to have a good understanding of the prices in your specific area. If your friend from Idaho managed to spend less than $15,000 on her glorious wedding (and it really was fabulous, you were there), it doesn’t mean that the same can apply to someone getting married in New York or Northern California, where the average costs of a wedding pass the $30,000 mark.
Stage 2: Have the Money Talk
You’ve done your research and you’re equipped with the required information. You know how much a wedding costs on average in your area, so you already have a rough estimate – now take this number, your significant other and your parents and have the necessary, albeit slightly uncomfortable ‘money talk’. Who will contribute financially? What services can you outsource for cheap or for free (remember your super talented professional photographer cousin?)? How much can each part afford in order to cover the costs? If you need to rethink your initial estimate, then don’t worry, it happens to most couples – you can still have the wedding you’ve been dreaming about since you were 6 for less money.
Stage 3: Prioritize the Non-Negotiables
You’ve always pictured your wedding venue as this whimsical space adorned with an abundance of flowers in gorgeous pastel pink and peach shades – and while you might be convinced to compromise when it comes to the cake or even the gown, you’re not going to budge when it comes to your dreamy wedding flowers. While all brides want the best of everything when it comes to the biggest day of their lives, prioritizing certain aspects while trying to save money on others is part of the game. Sit down with your partner and write a list of the top three things that are most important to you when it comes to your wedding: Is it the music? Then invest in a great live band / amazing DJ! You can’t imagine not having the best photos out there? Then splurge on a great photographer and ditch something that you won’t miss much. One tip though: make food a priority, no matter what – food is an essential part of any wedding ceremony, so regardless of what type of style, menu or cuisine you’re going for, make sure your guests will leave the reception with the memory of a great culinary experience.
Stage 4: Stay Alert for the Sales
Even if you decided to spend 50% of your entire wedding budget on the wedding gown of your dreams, it doesn’t mean that you can’t actually have it for less. Stay alert for those massive sales, when even the fanciest designer items can go for 70% or even 80% off. You found the most gorgeous venue imaginable, but it’s too pricey? See if you can get a discount if you decide for a cold season wedding – you’ll be surprised just how much cheaper most venues, caterers and even photographers are between the months of January and April. And if you’re not a fan of the idea of having a chilly wedding reception, go for a late April wedding date and have your cake and eat it, too: good weather and great sale packages for all things wedding related.
Need to create your budget, but don’t know where to start? Contact us to help get you organized!