If you are recently engaged, remember to enjoy all of the excitement about him popping the question! However, when you revisit the logistics about planning your wedding, make sure to sit down with your fiance and work out your wedding budget. This crucial step is important to go over early in the planning process because some details about the wedding may be more important to you than they may be for your significant other. Discuss which components of the wedding day are most important to the both of you. Is having a videographer there to capture your first dance together super vital? Does your fiance really want a dessert bar full of cake bites and macarons instead of having a traditional wedding cake? Go over each other's preferences with each other and figure out which investments will make both of you happy - make a list of these preferences.
Once you figure out what is most important to you both, compare lists. Are there any similarities between the two? If there are, then those are the things you should make sure are accounted for in your wedding budget. For example, Megan and Daniel (our lovely wedding couple above) would learn that for both of them to be satisfied with their dream wedding, they will need to invest in a photographer, a live band, a drapery installation company, a worthwhile caterer, and floral decor.
Now that you have narrowed down the essentials, it is time to calculate how much your dream wedding will be. Remember, there are many variables that will affect the actual cost (e.g. number of guests, which city you are getting married in, how far in advance you are booking vendors, ...). If you need help coming up with an accurate estimate, click here to use this online wedding calculator that I highly recommend!!
If you use the calculator and the number at the end is a lot more than you were anticipating on spending, it is time to make some cuts. Was the dream wedding you were wanting, complete with all of the bells and whistles, going to cost you $60,000 when you were planning on spending something more like $45,000? Well, let's go back to that original list of must-haves that you and your fiance wrote down at the beginning of this exercise. These items are essentially untouchable. To get your actual expenses down to a more comfortable range, maybe compromise and have a reception seating chart instead of individual place cards, or rent a tuxedo/suit instead of purchasing one.
And if you are still struggling with trying to figure out where to cut out expenses, use the Wedding Budget Breakdown guide as a rule-of-thumb for how much you should be spending in each category. For example, if you were working with that $45,000 budget and wanted to find out how much you should be spending on a wedding dress, you would do $45,000 x 0.05 (5%) and see that a wedding dress purchase should cost you roughly $2,250. If the dress you were eyeing costs $2,500, maybe look for a similar option that is priced slightly cheaper and use those extra few hundred dollars towards a more high-quality photographer that you really love, or for ordering custom thank you cards to send out to all of your guests after your wedding!
And although all of these calculations are the tedious and time-consuming part of wedding planning, make sure to remember to have fun with the process! If figuring out how much you should be spending on flowers and food is stressing you and your fiance out, consider hiring a wedding planner to help you figure out how much to spend and where. It is their job to take your budget and work magic so you can experience the dream wedding you always wanted. Plus, if you designate your planner to handle all of the calculations, vendor research, gathering of estimates, and booking of vendors, that leaves you SO much more time to enjoy the happiness of being engaged!!
Have any tips or tricks of your own to share regarding how to stay within a wedding budget range? Feel free to leave them below in the comments! We would love to hear your budget success stories!