We have all heard how expensive weddings can be! If you are planning a wedding at some point, you’ve probably thought about costs and budgets. A lot of people avoid setting a wedding budget because they think talking about finances will stress them and be overwhelming.
However, setting a budget and talking it through can actually be one of the most helpful and freeing things you do! With some simple planning and thought, you can create a budget that works for you and have the wedding you’ve always dreamed of without going bankrupt or having an anxiety attack!
Before we get into specifics, here is a general wedding budget breakdown. Once you have your total spending budget set, use this breakdown to figure out what you can spend in each category:
Every couple has different priorities when it comes to their wedding (location, venue, food, etc.), so your budgeted categories will vary slightly, but overall, this breakdown is a good starting point. If you don’t have a set budget amount decided yet, you’ve probably asked yourself…
But How Much Should I Spend?
We all know you can easily spend tens of thousands of dollars on a wedding these days. But, for a lot of couples that is impractical. Maybe you want to spend some money on a honeymoon or put a down payment on a house or you don’t have $10,000 available. Whether you have expendable income for your big day or a tighter budget, ask yourself these questions to help keep your costs in check and to set your budget.
What are your top priorities?
When you think of your wedding day, what things are the most important to you? If you have a specific venue, photographer or dress in mind, and you know it is going to cost more, then make sure you plan for that. Allocate a bigger percentage of your budget to that item and then choose to be more frugal in another area. Knowing your top priorities for your day will help a lot in making sure your spending is balanced across your whole budget and will help your wedding be what you truly imagine it to be!
How many people do we want to invite?
Maybe having a large wedding is your biggest priority. This means you’ll be spending a lot on food and table decor/chair rentals. If that’s the case, then choose a venue that is more affordable to balance out the reception costs between the food, decor and venue rental.
On the other hand, if you have your dream reception venue selected and it can only hold 50 people, then think through who you’ll want to invite and how to prioritize the guest list.
How Do I Keep Costs Down?
Once you know your highest priorities for your wedding and how many people you think you’ll have attend, you can start to narrow down your costs. Ask yourself these questions to help:
When do we want to get married?
If you don’t have a specific date or month to get married and you’re looking to plan a low-cost wedding, then choose a weekend in the off-peak of wedding season. This will bring down all of your costs. However, if you have a specific date in mind and you know venue prices will be higher then make sure to adjust your budget. Don’t increase your venue budget without decreasing a different area.
What details will be noticed and necessary?
Brides can easily get caught up on a lot of unnecessary expenses. Once you start adding up all of the costs of the planning and the day, you can get overwhelmed. So as you think through each possible expense, ask yourself, is this something that will be noticed and is it truly necessary?
Will your guests notice if you have a small centerpiece or small floral arrangement at each table instead of an extravagant one? Will it make a difference if you serve your meal family style or individually plated? How about ceremony decorations? Will anyone notice if you use the same greenery to decorate the ceremony and the reception so you don’t have to buy double?
Think through all of the little details that can add up and only spend money on the things that truly will be noticed and necessary.
What can be done low-cost but still feel high-end?
Often times stationary invites and programs are beautiful and fun to design but 90% of them get recycled. To keep costs low, have a friend or family member who has an eye for design create them. When printing them you don’t have to choose premium expensive paper. With a nice design and regular card stock, you can have high-end custom stationary without the custom designer price.
When it comes to your wedding dress, if you have a specific budget make sure and be firm on it when dress shopping. Let the boutique attendants know your price range and ask them to not bring anything over it. Then you won’t fall in love with a dress you can’t afford.
The fit of a dress has just as much influence as the design. A more affordable dress that is altered to you and fits like a glove can look just as stunning as an overly expensive gown. Save money on the dress cost and have it altered to perfection.
The range of reception venues and dinner costs vary greatly. Sit down with your caterer and see how different serving styles vary in price. Also try and find a caterer who will include the tableware in their cost and a venue who will include the tables and chairs without extra charge. This way you don’t have to pay extra for rentals of chairs or silverware.
Using your ceremony greenery & florals for the reception decor, keeping the table linens minimalist and simple, and setting the mood of your dinner with simple lighting instead of loads of decor will help keep costs down and will still feel just as beautiful. Also, always keep in mind that the smaller the guest list, the smaller the cost because the reception is the biggest part of your budget.
The ceremony is also an easy place to save big! Holding a ceremony outdoor is low cost and usually means very little decorating. Often times, churches are available for wedding ceremonies too and cost a fraction of other venue costs.
If you really want to keep costs low and have a crafty side or crafty family and friends, then do a lot of the decor yourself and with your girlfriends. Designing invites, crafting bouquets or centerpieces and making your bridal party gifts not only save money but also adds a personal touch! The more you can do yourself, the more you’ll save and it allows you to create the exact look you’ve always dreamed of!
Where Do We Go From Here?
Talk with your partner
Sit down with your partner and individually write down your top 3 priorities. Then share them with each other and look at both of your lists. Choose the top 3 priorities for you as a couple. Once you know your biggest priorities you’ll know what you are willing to spend the most on and everything else can be more budget friendly. Continue to remind each other of that.
Also decide how many people you want to invite or how many you can afford to invite. Setting your guest list limit will go along way in setting your budget.
Estimate and Re-evaluate
Estimate what you have to spend on the wedding then breakdown that number into each category (suggested percentages listed above). After breaking down how much you can spend in each category evaluate your list. If you think you’ll need more for one category then adjust it accordingly by increasing that specific category and decreasing another.
Finally, look at what you have to spend in each category and re-evaluate any expenses that are maybe going be too much. If you wanted $1000 for your dress, but it’s not a top priority and you only have $700 for a dress then re-evaluate your dress style. Or if you thought you’d have more for florals, re-evaluate and consider making them yourself or reach out to a friend who does florals and ask if they can help.
The more details and plan-oriented that your budget is, the easier it will be to stick to it! The less you can stress about your budget, the more energy you’ll have to make your wedding truly beautiful! You and your partner will be on the same page about what is most important and you’ll know what areas you get to be more creative in so you can use what you have, to get the wedding you want without spending more than you should!
Putting together a budget isn’t as scary as it seems. It’s actually very freeing, empowering and will help you plan and make your wedding as wonderful as possible!
If you are interested in booking Lynnet Perez Photography for your wedding or engagement photography, please visit my contact page. All other inquiries email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!