The average couple spent $44,000 on their wedding in 2018. That may seem like a lot of money, but a lot of elements go into creating the perfect wedding. Your venue, catering, photographer, and dress can easily cost thousands of dollars each. And that’s just the start of the list!
Before you get caught up in color stories and floral arrangements, you need to figure out your wedding budget. These tips can help you plan.
1. Create a Budget
The first step of wedding budgeting is to come up with a concrete number for your budget.
This involves sitting down and having an open discussion with everyone who plans on contributing to your wedding. Ask your parents, your in-laws, and your partner what each person can contribute to the cause.
If they don’t feel comfortable committing to a dollar figure, give them certain aspects of your wedding to fund instead, such as the catering bill. And remember that they aren’t obligated to contribute anything at all for your wedding. Don’t turn the discussion into a guilt trip.
Once you have talked to everyone, you’ll have a complete budget number to work with. This takes any guesswork out of how much money you can spend.
2. Prioritize Spending
Once you have an overall dollar figure to work with, it’s time to create a wedding budget breakdown.
First, decide what aspects of your wedding you’re not willing to sacrifice or save money on.
Maybe you want the best photographer money can buy so you have memories to cherish forever. Or maybe you want everyone to enjoy an open bar so the reception is a night to remember. Either way, go into your budget knowing what is important to you.
Write down a list of all the aspects of your wedding and number each item based on priority. The items higher on your list get a larger portion of your budget. The items lower on your list can be of lesser quality or cut entirely if necessary.
So, if your venue is extremely important to you and your partner, book your venue first and work with from there. This useful article can help you find the venue of your dreams that’s still in your budget.
3. Cut Down the Guest List
The average wedding cost can vary greatly depending on how large your guest list is. For every additional person invited, you need to provide food, drinks, and space for them to sit. Each of these aspects cost money and the numbers quickly add up.
So, if you’re looking to budget, cut down your guest list. This is a tough issue to tackle since you want to share your special day with everyone you love, but it’s necessary.
Start with the people who you absolutely have to invite. Then add other loved ones who live close by. Those who live far away or are extended family and friends are the ones who are easiest to cut.
Don’t feel bad about not inviting people! It’s your wedding, not theirs.
4. Go Secondhand
Not everything in your wedding has to be brand new. Using secondhand items can be a saving grace for your budget.
When you start shopping around for items, join a few online wedding resale communities. Newly married couples are happy to sell their items for a lower cost than retail to recoup some of their money. It’s a win-win situation for both couples.
Some of the best things to buy secondhand are your wedding dress and decor. These items are usually used just for the wedding day but take up a large chunk of your budget. Just make sure you thoroughly check out the items before you buy and don’t be afraid to negotiate on the price.
5. DIY When Possible
If using someone else’s wedding items doesn’t appeal to you, create your own instead.
Invite your bridesmaids and close friends over for a crafting night. Work together to create your centerpieces or wedding favors. Also, consider making your own guest book or arranging your own flower bouquets.
Search online for DIY wedding ideas. With a few Youtube videos and a crafty friend, you can save a lot of money.
6. Don’t Mention Wedding
When you start meeting with vendors, try avoiding the word “wedding.” Since most people are willing to spend more money on their big day, many vendors charge more for their services.
So when you meet with your caterer, start the discussion by asking for prices for a dinner party. Ask your DJ how much they charge per hour to provide music for a party.
Obviously, you should disclose that it’s a wedding eventually. But wait until after they give you a quote. This way you already have a starting price established based solely on their services and not the type of event.
7. Keep Track of Everything
Arguably the most important aspect of your wedding budget is keeping track of everything.
When you start the process, create a wedding binder or spreadsheet. Use this to compare prices of different options your considering and keep track of every dollar you spend along the way. This will become your lifesaver when throwing a budget wedding.
Some people also find it helpful to break costs into wedding budget percentages. For example, expect to spend 40 percent of your budget on your venue and catering at around 15 percent on photography. These aren’t set in stone, but it gives you a goal to work around.
Beyond the Wedding Budget
Now that you have your wedding budget all figured out, you can continue planning for your big day.
Remember to have a dollar figure in mind and prioritize your spending. To save money, consider cutting down on your guest list, buying secondhand or making things yourself. Avoid using the word wedding when negotiating your prices and keep track of everything along the way.
Not sure what to do next after you’ve figured out the budget? This article goes in-depth through the do’s and don’ts of wedding planning. Follow these tips and you’ll be saying “I do” with confidence!
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