So you think you have your date nailed down, and you think you've found the perfect place to say "I do", but now it's time to get real. How much money can you spend on your big day. Here are 7 ways to determine and stick to your budget:
1. Be realistic with your finances. This can go a few ways. But first, you need to realize that weddings are expensive. The average wedding in the US costs around $25,000. Yes you can do it for less, or a whole lot more. But you need to be realistic and know what you could be putting out.
You also need to be realistic with what you have. If you've been saving for your wedding your whole life, then you are a smart bride and you deserve a legitimate gold star. Things I wish I would have done: save up for college and my wedding when I had the chance. Alas, not all of us are so smart and if that's the case for you then you need to be realistic about what you have to work with.
2. Find out and verify who may be contributing. We're talking family here, but maybe even friends. Is the brides family going to cover all the cost? If so how much are they willing to cover? Does the grooms family want to help with more than the traditional rehearsal dinner? Does grandma have some money she's been saving just for your big day?
Talk to your parents first, and then work from there. If your family doesn't want to cover all the cost, see if they are willing to cover your venue and caterer? Don't be afraid to ask. The worst that can happen is they say "no", but most families want to help in some way.
3. Be picky with your guest list. The size of your wedding determines a LOT. Whether you're feeding 65 people, or 265 people is a big difference in catering costs, venue limitations, centerpieces for tables, etc. More people attending means you will be putting out more money. So if you have a tight budget, but don't want to DIY every aspect of your wedding and settle for that cheap dress you just aren't crazy about, considering narrowing the guest list.
4. Determine the most important things. This is an area that I cannot stress enough to brides. You need to know what things you are willing to compromise on and what those you are not. If you must have a 4 course meal without any limitations, then allot more money for your food cost. Want an open bar? Allot money for that. Don't really care to have a DJ and dancing at your wedding? Then lower that budget and just find a musician
who can play for during your ceremony and use Spotify or Pandora for background music during your reception.
5. Get quotes from the vendors you are interested in. Contact the vendors you are interested in and have them give you a quote before you set anything in stone. This can give you a good idea of what you need to budget out for, or if you need to readjust your sites on something a little more reasonable. It also helps you get a realistic idea of what things cost. You would be surprised how much things can cost.
6. Know all the costs. There are a lot . Your budget should break down something along these lines:
- Reception (Food, Beverages, Rentals, and Site): 40%-50$
- Flowers and Decor: 10%
- Photography and Videography: 10%
- Bride's and Groom's Attire: 5%-10%
- Music: 5%-10%
- Planner or Coordinator: 10%-15%
- Miscellaneous(Favors, Bridesmaid gifts, transportation): 5%-10%
- Cushion 5%-15%
7. Track your spending and have accountability. Once you have your budget in place and you start spending, you need to keep diligent track of what you are spending or ask someone to help you with this. Otherwise, that budget you just took time to create, all went down the drain - along with your money. If you are not keeping track of what you are spending, you WILL over spend.
It's like going into Target without someone there to stop you or ask how much things are before you throw them in your cart...maybe that's just me? Quickly that trip to get tissues and milk turned into $90 worth of shoes, mascara, a scarf, baby clothes on clearance, and a decorative vase.
Get help if you need some (maybe your fiance, mom, or maid-of-honor) and be as precise as you possibly can with your budget.
You can do this. Now, go spend(and save) some money.