How To Make A Wedding Budget
I know, it’s everyone’s least favorite part of planning their wedding…the budget. I know it seems scary and can be a daunting task. I am going to share with you how I walk my couples through building their budget and ways to make any budget work!
1. Know how much you actually have to spend on your wedding first!
This is the most important step! It is always good to have an idea of how much you want to spend on your wedding. I have planned $1,500 weddings, $5,000 weddings, and $30,000 weddings. It is possible to make all of these budgets work with the right expectations. Talk to your fiancé and anyone else who may be contributing financially like your parents or family members to get a good idea of how much everyone is willing to contribute.
Once you have your ballpark number, it is good to talk to your fiancé if there is any extra room in the budget in case a part of your wedding may end up costing more than expected or if you both are very firm on your budget. Knowing this will help you both be on the same page when talking to vendors about what you want to spend on your wedding!
2. Learn how much a wedding and each type of vendor cost before you allocate your budget!
Most people I know are shocked to find out how much weddings cost which is understandable. It can be shocking and make you feel like you won’t be able to get the wedding you dreamed of. I want to reassure you, you can get the wedding you have dreamed of with your budget as long as you have the right expectations and knowledge about weddings! Let’s dive in on the cost of weddings!
Vendors are going to be the main cost for your wedding day which includes, venue, cake, catering, planner, florist, DJ and more. Vendors are working with you for most or the entire duration of your engagement. They spend countless hours communicating with you , prepping for your event, traveling, setting up, tearing down, and taking care of you throughout the planning process and your wedding day. Venues and vendors can range in cost as to what they provide so look up the average, low, and high cost estimates for each vendor you would like and get a good idea of how much you would like to spend first.
The average wedding costs around $25,000 in the United States today. This does not mean you have to spend that much to have your wedding, but that if you want to use only wedding professionals (professional vendors) for your wedding day it could end up being this expensive.
If you do not want to spend as much on vendors, here are a few of my tips! Try finding someone who is new to the wedding industry. They will most likely have cheaper prices than professionals who have been in the industry for many years. You can also reach out to friends who may have experience with photography, baking, being a DJ, or have floral experience who are not professionals in the industry. They will be excited to help you for your big day! Big tip: try to find a venue that does not require you to use in-house catering and florals. Usually a venue that requires these in-house will charge a lot more for these services than an outside caterer or florist!
Another tip of mine is to talk to your friends about how much they spent overall and how much they spent on each vendor. This will give you a better idea of what type of wedding you can have with different budgets since you actually attended these weddings!
Here is an article on the average wedding vendor costs for the Austin area. It can be used as a guide for just about anyone on the costs of weddings! Please use it as a tool!
3. Sit down with your Fiancé and decide on your Top 3!
This is a really important step! Once you have a good idea of the type of vendors you want and the budget you have; sit down and figure out with your fiancé and decide what your top 3 most important aspects to your wedding are and then allocate the most time, energy, and money to those items! When I got married my dress, the photography, and the flowers where my top three and for my husband it was my dress, the photography, and the venue. Having these vendors pinned down helped my husband and I put the most energy and time towards those vendors instead of on every vendor we hired. This allows you both to understand what are the most important things to each of you and then you won’t feel as overwhelmed! If your flowers are the most important to you then spend more of your time and budget on that instead of stationary!
Another tip is to sit down and talk about vendors you are open to not having at your wedding. For my husband and I, having a bar at our wedding was going to cost more than our honeymoon and we were glad to give that up and have our champagne after the wedding was over! You may be okay with having cupcakes instead of a big cake, or you are okay with not having a fancy car or limo for your send-off. These types of decisions can help you allocate your budget on what vendors you would like to prioritize!
4. Print off wedding budgeting worksheets
Budget worksheets can be super helpful! One of my favorite ones breaks down what percentage you should use your budget on each vendor. Having an idea of how much you want to spend on each vendor will help to allocate your budget and give you a better idea of which vendors you can work with when searching for them. This will also help you with talking to vendors too. If your florist knows you only want to spend $2,000 on your flowers, then they can make recommendations on flowers that you can use that are within your budget and compliments your color pallet!
5. Leave a little room in your budget for extra expenses
I would allocate about 3-5% of your budget for extra expenses that you cannot plan for. Some of these expenses can be upcharges for florals, extra décor in case an item breaks, tips for vendors, security officer (if you are having alcohol), bussing service (if your caterer does not provide one), travel or parking fees for vendors, lunch for you and your wedding party on the wedding day, and much more. There can be a lot of extra costs that couples don’t initially think of when planning their budget so make a category for that at the beginning so you do not get overwhelmed!
Extra tip: Make sure to have a budget for decorations too. Décor can end up costing a lot more when everything adds up. One centerpiece may only cost $30 but if you have 15 tables that is $450 just for your centerpieces! I think I spent about $75 on just ribbon for my wedding!
These are all of my tips for creating a budget for you wedding! I hope they help and that you have a better time creating your budget for your big day!