Updated: Oct 6
Planning for your big day should be easy and exciting, but sadly that's not always the case. It can also be stressful and exhausting. Most newly engaged couples don't know where to start or how to even plan for a wedding. Aside from figuring out the venue, the food, and the guest list, your budget is of utmost importance as it will determine your wedding day. To avoid feeling overwhelmed and have your special day be as perfect as possible, you will need to create a budget. The budget will influence many decisions during the planning stage. When creating a budget, you will need to define the wedding of your dreams. Set a dollar amount to your budget and stick to it. Make a list of your must-have items, and prioritize what is most important to you and your soon-to-be spouse.
Here are some tips to follow when creating your budget.
Visualize Your Wedding
Ask yourself, “What does my dream wedding look like?” Think about the style; do you want a luxurious wedding or a more casual look? What about the location? Do you want an outdoor or indoor wedding? Perhaps a beach wedding or a banquet hall wedding. What is your favorite season? Would you prefer summer or fall? How many guests do you want at your wedding? 100 or more? Or do you like a more intimate event? Asking all these questions and having an answer will help you create estimates as to how much you are willing to spend for each item and decide what you are willing to negotiate if you go over budget.
2. Think of a Number
After daydreaming about your big day and thinking about all the details that will make it the most beautiful day ever, you will need to figure out how it will be possible with the number you and your partner have in mind. Brainstorming about how much you can afford can take some time, so it is essential to be realistic and think about what portion of your savings you want to use. Next, think of the financial sources you can use to fund your wedding. If you would like to start saving, begin with your personal budget, decide how much you can save during a given period, or consider accepting offers from family members who are willing to contribute. Do not go into debt to celebrate your big day. Once you have a number in your mind, stick to it or seek assistance from a financial planner, as they should be able to guide you through creating a personal budget to reach your desired goal.
3. Game Plan
Create a list of all items that will be required for your wedding. Keep in mind that the venue and number of guests significantly impact your wedding cost, and this will most likely determine how much you will need to spend. That means you may have to create a wedding list with different tiers in case you need to shorten the guest list. Many venues have different rates depending on the time of the year, April through October being the most popular months, therefore more costly. Even different days of the week can vary in the thousands of dollars. Again, this may vary by location. Once you start talking to vendors, there is a possibility that new fees may arise, and you will need to make a decision that could throw you over budget. However, this does not have to be the case for every item, so it’s important to prioritize which items are most important to you and your partner.
4. Create your wedding budget.
Now that you know what type of wedding you want and how much you are willing to spend, start allocating each item into a bucket by using this wedding budget chart.
Then create a spreadsheet by assigning a percentage to each category; this will paint a big picture as to how your budget is being allocated and whether you can splurge or you may have to compromise some items in exchange for the others. The venue, drinks, and food usually make up a more significant portion of your budget, so it will likely be around 40%-50% of your total cost. It’s also advisable to set a certain percentage for unforeseen expenses that can show up as you begin to plan for the wedding.
Creating a wedding budget is not an easy task. Even if you have savings set aside, you may not want to spend it all. Once the wedding budget has been created, it is important to continue the process of logging and tracking expenses to avoid going over budget. If you have never budgeted before and need assistance, you may receive guidance from a financial planner. A financial planner can create a plan and offer the necessary tools to stay within your budget and track your progress.