Photo Credit: Brittney Hannon Photography Flowers, cake, photographer, there are so many elements that go into creating your wedding, but before you make any decisions about these things the most important detail is your budget. I know, I know, budgets are scary…. How much should your venue cost, how much should you set aside for your overall budget, and how do you keep it all in line? These are questions every couple stresses over, but rest assured if you follow these 4 simple steps with setting your budget you’ll be able to work through your wedding planning, keep it all in line, and control your budget and not having it control you. You could start this behavior pattern off by starting to compare energy on usave.co.uk and other similar sites to start having a little more money to put away to your wedding budget each month.
So let’s get started!
The first step is to establish the WHO and WHAT…. As in who is contributing what to the budget, as well as what total budget you are comfortable with. Are you and your partner 100% responsible, are either of your parents contributing…? Take the time to sit down and have a conversation about these financial details. It’s not always a comfortable conversation to have, but it’s the first step and an important one. Once you establish who is contributing what you can move forward successfully. Write everything out so it’s clear and comfortable for everyone involved, you don’t need to get to the details yet of how much your photographer will cost, you just need to establish who is responsible for paying for the photographer. There is no right or wrong way to set up contributions, it’s whatever works for you, the important part is establishing the total you are comfortable with and who is contributing what.
An organizer is a budget’s best friend. Now that you have your budget established move forward with organizing your funds. I often find that it’s easier to have all funds come from one account, so you can see your total and track all purchases. Of course we are in the age of credit cards, so if a portion of your budget is coming from credit cards just ensure that you have the total amount set aside so it doesn’t get used for other purchases, and as you go along with these purchases track and communicate with all involved. The easiest way to track funds and organize your budget is with a wedding budget worksheet. You can create your own in Excel or find easy to use versions online. There are templates on Google Docs, in Microsoft Word, and on wedding websites like The Knot. The wonderful thing about using a pre-formatted form is that they have the most common categories already listed for you, and you don’t need to write your own excel formulas, just enter your estimated and actual amounts and it will calculate everything for you.
Now what is a budget if you aren’t realistic? You’ve had the tough conversation…. organized your estimate of costs, and now you’re ready to get quotes from vendors. Here is where some couples jump off track, which is so easy to do. If you find it hard to stick to a budget when it comes to shopping in general, it may be in your best interest to look into this guide to prepaid cards, as this could avoid you overspending. Plus, weddings can be expensive, so this may be the answer you need. You’re looking at venues and find the perfect space for you and your closest 500 friends for $8,000 but it only includes the space. This means no rentals, catering, cake, flowers, bar….. and your budget is $10,000. YIKES!! This is where you take a step back look at your amazingly organized budget and plan realistically. With a budget of $10,000 you need a venue that has a lower cost, or that offers packages so you can bundle and save.
I promise you can have a gorgeous wedding on your budget, you just need to shop within YOUR budget. So with every vendor that you interview, ask about prices, see if they can offer a cash discount, and see what you get for the price because sometimes you may pay a little more but get a lot more, which will help your budget in the end. Also this is when you should look at your guest count, look at how many people you can invite realistically, because there is a big difference between a 100 guest wedding and a 200+ guest wedding. Okay, you’re doing great!
Tough conversation check, organized budget check, realistic mind frame check.
Up next, Prioritizing….. Every couple is different, so there is no one size fits all budget. If you’re a foodie, you’ll want to put your money where your mouth is, if you love having photos for all to see and swoon over, then your photographer should be your big-ticket item. Sit down with your partner and decide what is the most important item to the two of you. Number things from greatest to least in importance and then let your budget follow suit.
Now you get to start putting all of your hard work to good use. Make your decisions on vendors, and enter the info on your budget, compare your estimate with your actual pricing and see if you’ve saved yourselves any money. And as an added bonus the next time a friend is planning a wedding you’ll be able to calm them down, and show them these 4 simple steps to get them on track with their budget.