We can all agree that planning a wedding can be stressful and expensive. It is absolutely important that you and your partner must sit down and carefully plan out your budget. Make a decision on how much you feel comfortable going into debt. We strongly encourage couples to stay as debt-free as feasible. Why start your marriage with debt on your backs when married couples quarrel over money more than anything else? It’s time to do the math and crunch some not-so-fun numbers. Once you’ve finally agreed on the budget for your wedding, you can move on to everything else, but you must always weigh your next decisions against the amount you have to spend. Coming up with a solid budget will influence everything from the venue, guest list, meals, entertainment and much more. You may need to spend more or less than you planned for, so a little flexibility one way or the other makes for less stress. Setting aside a little money in a contingency fund is never a bad idea, either.
Some of you may be wondering, “Why do we need to set a budget when we’re willing to spend so much?”
Following a budget or spending plan will also keep you out of debt or help you work your way out of debt if you are currently in debt. It does not imply that sticking to a budget means you will give up your dream wedding. Don’t worry; there are plenty of options out there; all you have to do is look for them. So, if you start planning your budget and realize you won’t be able to finance your dream wedding, do some research and look for more cost-effective alternatives.
Here are the steps on how to create a wedding budget that you can stick to.
Step 1. Determine who will be contributing to the wedding
It shouldn’t be a source of worry to figure out who pays what for wedding expenses. Working together as a couple to set a budget and discuss wedding costs with your respective families can help you come up with a solution that works for everyone. Ask each of your parents if they would like to contribute to your wedding. Determine how much they want to give you or what specific items they want to pay for. It can be an awkward conversation to have, but it’s better to get it out of the way immediately so you have a realistic picture of how much money you have.
Don’t assume that anyone will pay for anything, even if they promised you something. And at the end of the day, any decision you make should reflect your personal and financial ideals.
Step 2. Establish realistic wedding budget expectations
Many couples begin their research and quickly realize that the wedding of their dreams will be more expensive than they anticipated. This is where narrowing down your priorities comes into play.
Step 3. Determine how much you are willing to spend on your wedding
Sit down with your fiancé and discuss an amount you both feel comfortable with spending. This is the amount of money you are willing to spend without going into debt. You might be able to afford to spend more, but you don’t want to spend so much money on a one-day celebration. From there, you’ll want to break down that budget—the what’s most important to you? What’s not? And begin allocating cash accordingly. It’s a good idea to begin a detailed spreadsheet from the get-go.
Step 4. Make a percentage breakdown of your wedding budget
Many wedding planners and brides find it helpful to create a wedding budget breakdown by percentage. While there are no hard and fast rules about how much money you should spend on each category, there are some loose guidelines that can help you stay on track. For example, some brides might be willing to allocate less money to a dress if it meant more money for a wedding band. Regardless of how you organize and rearrange your wedding budget, a good rule of thumb is to spend no more than 50% of the overall budget on the venue, food, and drink.
Step 5. Track your spending
Find a system that works for you and keep track of everything so you can truly understand your financial situation. Keep track of every penny you spend so you know how much you’ve spent and how much you have left to work with. If you don’t keep track of your expenditures along the road, you might not know how much money you’ve spent until the last few weeks before the big day. Create a spreadsheet with three expense columns: Estimated, Modified, and Actual. Each time you sign a contract or send a payment, record the actual cost so you always know how close you are to your bottom line. Share the doc with your fiancé and consider sharing it with family members who are helping to pay for the wedding if that will help streamline the process for you.
Step 6. Beware hidden wedding costs
It’s well worth your time to read through those contracts from beginning to end! Out-of-town fees, parking, early admission or late leave, transportation allowance, toll reimbursements, and morning weddings are just a few of the extra expenses that some vendors impose. If you read before you sign, you’ll avoid these “surprises.” Every upgrade incurs an additional cost. Expenses that seem small early on could add up quickly, so it’s always a good idea to double-check the inclusions of the packages you’ve chosen. Spend your money wisely!
Step 7. Negotiate with vendors
It’s kind of an intimidating concept, right? Discussing and negotiating costs and services isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a valuable trait to have when it comes to wedding planning. Some businesses might be willing to negotiate, and you could get a better price or package with the right approach. The bottom line is you’ll never know what you can get unless you ask.
Step 8. Downsize (If you want)
Since the novel coronavirus has taken over the world, everyone needs to find ways to continue with their lives while respecting the social distancing guidelines. With no possibility to hold large weddings, more and more brides need to find ways to downsize their wedding without sacrificing their dream. Downsizing a wedding is a challenge, and you really need to consider every vendor, every guest, and of course, every one of your wishes.
Step 9. Focus on what matters
It’s important to keep your focus on the aspects of the wedding day that matter most. Moments like hugging a relative you haven’t seen in years, exchanging vows with your partner, and dancing the night away with your closest friends are often the most treasured of all.
Setting a realistic budget for your wedding that fits within your financial means will allow you to do so without stress, guilt, or debt! Make sure to follow these wedding budget tips to get yourself started on the right track.